Thursday, January 31, 2008

the cycle begins anew

We're baaaaack.


As much as I wish it were different...

The Republicans can prove they don't play well with others, just as much as the Democrats can.

This only goes to push my point farther. The best people to lead the country aren't necessarily the ones we get to pick from. We get to pick from the people who think they're the best people to lead the country. What that guarantees you is someone with a big ego, but little else.

That's one big reason I want as little as possible in their control. Give me life, liberty, and let me persue happiness, but then get back in your Washington hole and leave me alone. Don't try to tell me what kind of heath care I should have, or who I should help out of their dire situation, or why the Navy needs this awesome new weapon that they aren't asking for, but people in your district build. You are self-righteously unqualified. You aren't smarter than I am, and you're not smarter than most people are. If I need help, I certainly don't want it from you because you think you know what I need. You're wrong more often than you're right.

Stop tyring to convince us that it takes a village. It doesn't. A village is a nice thing to have, but we don't need it. We can count on ourselves to do stuff. If I don't have a village, I certainly don't want you to provide the one you think I need. If the world needs a safety net, you aren't the people to hold the knitting needles. Watching all of you twist the truth just to get elected makes me wonder what else you do with it once you are.

ps. Sorry to get all cynical, but as much as it pisses me of when politicians I won't vote for start playing fast and loose with the truth and start bickering about it, I hate it all the more when the ones I'm considering voting for, and want to invest my trust in, do it. I expect better of them, and hate being disappointed.


Hannah Hannah fo fana banana bana......

The Hannah Montana show rolled through J'ville last night. I don't get it, but I don't have to. I'm not a 10 year old girl.

My first introduction to Hannah Montana came a while ago, doing car pool at the youngster's grade school. We started listening to Radio Disney, because the kids liked the tunes and we didn't have to listen so some guy/girl calling a morning show discussing in great detail how he/she found his/her girlfriend/boyfriend screwing his/her best friend in their apartment. In any case, Hannah was a Radio Disney staple. Then the two girls in the group went to see the Cheetah Girls (another Radio Disney regular) and Hannah was touring with them. I got to hear all about how the Cheetah Girls may have been cheetah-licious, but Hannah stole the show.

So now it's a year and a half, maybe two years later. Hannah Montana is the hottest ticket going. The J'ville show sold out in less than an hour. Every parent of every 8-12 year old girl (and even a few guys) is going nuts trying to get tickets to her shows. Yesterday in J'ville, there were contests on just about every local TV and Radio station, giving away Hannah tickets. Of course, most involved the contestants doing something to show just how much they'd embarass themselves, in an effort to prove they really really wanted to go. One of the classier contests was for the most creative Hannah video on You-tube. You had to make the video and then enter it in the contest. I didn't see any of the videos. Nor do I know who won. At least it was a bit creative, and it beat the dads who dressed up like Hannah and sang Hannah songs to win tickets. It showed me how much some folks will do for their kids, even if only one of twenty thoroughly embarassed parents was taking thier daughter to the show.

Now it's all over, the Hannah tour has moved on, and the reviews are in. Apparently it was a pure pop night, which thrilled the audience it was meant least those who got to go.

All I'm wondering now is...can the girl behind Hannah manage to keep her life sane as she gets older and succeed where the Spears and Lohans of the world aren't.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

people never listen, but that's OK

I guess I should expect it.

I mentioned, a while ago, that the youngster and I are going to participate in a bike ride in April...and we are. I expect to raise the minimum amount of money necessary to participate, because I know I'll be hitting up the exact same people when we do the MS ride later in the year, and I don't want to be bothering the same people all the time with my hand out. Therefore I'm not planning an all out fundraisinig effort for the April ride, because I know I'll be doing that later.

I did, however, think...we might not be the only people who could benefit from using this April ride for training. Other people may consider trying the MS ride, and if they do, this would be a good intermediate goal for them as well. I thought I'd invite friends and co-workers to at least consider riding in April.

In that light, I sent an e-mail to everyone in my department at work. Basically, I said the youngster and I are participating in this event. While we won't exactly turn down anyone who wants to sponsor us, the reason I'm telling everyone in January is we're hoping some of you will start training now (or soon) and join us, and see if you like it. If not, that's OK, but if so, it might encourage you to think about the MS ride in September.

The response has been surprising. No, so far I haven't added a single rider to our small two man team, but I have had three people give us donations. People are coming up and giving me money and I keep telling them, "You know I'm coming back at you for the MS ride, don't you?" and they seem to be OK with that. While I'm not complaining, I really want bodies on bicycles more than cash at this point....but I guess I'll just smile and say thank you. I shouldn't look gift Jacksons in the mouth.


The primary fallout in Florida

So John McCain won the Republican nod in Florida. Hillary took the Democratic side in a weird primary, because no Democrat actually campaigned in Florida. Florida pissed in the corn flakes of both parties by holding its' primary earlier than either party liked. The Republican party retaliated by cutting the number of Florida delegates in half. The Democrats took away all the Florida convention delegates and asked candidates not to come to Florida. Party politics...whatever. Nice way to woo the voters though. No matter what party organizers and big wigs do, don't tell the people their vote doesn't count and you essentially don't give a damn what they think.

I can't say I'm surprised or disappointed. As politicians go, I like McCain. (Please understand that I'm not keen on politicians of either party as a when I say "like" in a context that involves any of them, it's a relative term.) I liked him when he ran against Bush, and thought him the better candidate then. I like him now, but am pretty much torn between him and Romney. In fact, the way things fell out in our state pretty much mirrors my opinion of the Republican candidates.

I can't say I ever really watch Fox news. It's much more interesting to me to watch the spin on the major networks when it comes to the national picture. I went to the gym last night, though, and Fox was on every TV, covering the primary, and I learned a few things.

First, I've thought for a while, seeing as I'm torn between McCain and Romney, they'd make a decent ticket together. One's stronger on foreign policy. One better on the domestic side. Both have a lot of integrity and aren't afraid to buck the system when it needs to happen. They'd compliment each other well...BUT...apparently they really don't like each other. You'd think they could swallow all that, and work together for the good of the country, but they're politicians, with political egos. I'm not expecting much. So much for that idea.

Rush Limbaugh doesn't like McCain, and has been bashing the guy. Same with the party. He's not "Republican" enough, and some of his views don't toe the party line. So...the guy has a mind of his own. Good for him and Rush...well...too bad for you.

Rumor had it Rudy will bow out and throw his support to McCain today. We shall see. I didn't see him winning anyway.

Over all though, I was pleased, or as pleased as I can expect to be. I could easily vote for McCain or Romney right now, but again...November is far far away.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

so Teddy Kennedy has endorsed Barak

I don't know what Teddy Kennedy's endorsement is worth these days, or what role he will play in the Obama campaign.

Just one word of advice though, Barak. If you become drinking buddies and Teddy insists on driving, take the bug*.

*Special thanks to the 70's, the original floating Beetle ads from Volkswagen, the parody ad from National Lampoon, and Volkswagen, for not suing me like they did National Lampoon, forcing them to pull the ad.


the State of the Union

After telling myself I really didn't want to watch Dubya's last State of the Union Address, I ended up doing it anyway, or at least the last half of it...I guess like the train wreck you have to look at.

First, the guy's not brilliant, and he's not the most eloquent speaker. If he could ever learn to pronounce "nuclear" it'd be one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Once you get past that, though, I thought he did a pretty good job on the parts I watched. I didn't see him say much about the economy, which needs work. I don't know if he just didn't say much or he addressed it in parts of the address I missed. I did hear him say a lot about Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, the middle east in general, and national security, and...he was spot on.

I will also say this. the whole thing could take half the time if people didn't stand and clap after every damn sentence. That stuff happens regardless of which party is in power, and it could go away entirely and it wouldn't bother me. Maybe a "Hold your applause until the end" statement would help, even if that comes off as an assumption that one would applaud at all. Having said that, it was interesting, and telling...watching which sentences the Democrats stood and clapped for and which they didn't. It showed me why I'm not one of them. It showed me they like all the ideals, but don't have the backbone and commitment to do what it takes to get there. Some things take work and sacrifice, and wanting those things, in and of itself, doesn't get them.

Then there was the Democratic response. I dunno, maybe 10 minutes...of the biggest ramble through vagueness I've heard in a while by some woman from Kansas. The closest thing she said to anything of substance was "Join us Mr. President." She didn't specify if they were going to Disney World, or changing the real world, or having dinner at Spago. She just asked that he join her and her something. What the heck was that? I can tell you what it wasn't. It wasn't a response...of any kind. It was a canned speech that said nothing.

Then there was Hillary and Obama, who both said that speech clearly pointed out all the things they're running against. Well, if that's the case, I don't care how charismatic you may be, or how well spoken you are. If a vote for you is a vote against everything I heard....I'm just not there with you. I do see where we're doing good, and things are improving in Iraq. I do see where the Iraqi people will someday govern themselves in democracy, and we can go away. I do see how that affects stability, not just for Iraq, but in the entire world, because I do see how it affects the capabilities of religious extremists/terrorists. I do see the enormous sacrifice we have made, and are still making, and I see the payoff light at the end of the tunnel, and I believe it has been worth the effort. I'm sorry you don't. I don't know if you're out of touch with America. I just know you're out of touch with me.


Monday, January 28, 2008

I didn't realize it was such a huge deal

J'ville played host, this weekend, to a Rugby game between the Leeds Rhinos and South Sydney Rabbitohs. It had been mentioned here and there during the week, but Friday the hype picked up a notch. Apparently the South Sydney team is owned by Russell Crowe, and there was a very good chance he would be in attendance. Fans from both teams were in town, which I found a little amazing, seeing as they were coming from England and Australia...for a rugby game.

The game was played in the stadium at the University of North Florida. What that stadium gets used for when not hosting rugby is a little puzzling, since UNF is also known as the University with No Football...maybe soccer, but i digress. Not only did Russell Crowe show, but so did Greg Norman and Dennis Rodman, and 12,000 fans. The rugby league people were pleasantly surprised. Radio commentary (which is where I caught parts of it as I ran Saturday errands) was performed by my favorite local sports talk station. From what I'm gathering, the whole thing was a huge success.

For the record, the Rhinos racked up a big lead early, but the Bunnies staged a late comeback. It fell short, however,and the Rhinos went on to win 26-24.

I just really had no idea. I, it's notthe Super Bowl, but looking seems pretty cool. When I heard about the game, it sparked mild curiosity, but not enough to make me go out of my way to attend the event. Maybe I missed something worth catching, if it ever comes back.


Friday, January 25, 2008

random thoughts

Watched the Republican debate last night from Boca Raton. (Well, no. That's a lie. I watched it from my living room. They were debating in Boca Raton.) It was nice to watch one where the participants at least act like grown ups. Whether that's just a front or not remains to be seen. As for the substance on the dais, it just started reinforcing where I was already leaning. Afterwards, some talking head from MSNBC was trying to get Rudy Giuliani to back down on support for the second amendment, asking, can you picture every New Yorker on the streets with a gun? Please. I don't own a gun, but I support the constitution right to own one, should I decide to. I don't expect to ever see all the New Yorkers walking through downtown armed, but I support their right to own a gun if they are law abiding citizens, and their right to apply for, and be granted, a concealed weapons permit under the proper conditions. That doesn't mean I expect Broadway to look like Gunsmoke. I had to laugh when he was asked why his hometown newspaper, the New York Times, was criticizing him. Personally, I'd worry if the New York Times didn't criticize a candidate I liked. The Times leans so far left it's practically horizontal. I'd have to ask some serious questions of myself if they actually liked someone I supported. All that said, I don't think Giuliani has much of a chance, but who knows. It's still a long way until November.

Today's thought for the day over there on the right is one of my favorites in the rotation. I'm most definitely a geek.

The stalkerazzi can't find Tom Brady. The sports world is shocked, but at what, I'm not sure. Shocked that Brady has disappeared or shocked that the camera goons are that inept.

I don't have a favorite in the Super Bowl, but the way I see it, it's cool if either team wins. I'd love to see the Giants win, because I like Tom Coughlin as a coach. I liked him when he was here and I hated to see him go, and it'd be cool to see him win a Super Bowl. If the Patriots win, the smugness emanating from Belichik would be awful, but it'd finally shut the '72 Dolphin curmudgeons up.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

it goes together, like beer jerseys?

When it comes to alcohol, I'm not a big drinker. My doctor keeps telling me I ought to drink a glass of red wine every night to combat cholesterol, and I can't even do that. I have one every now and again, but one glass a week is closer to my wine intake.

I'm not much more of a lush when it comes to beer either. I've had a few lately, because I tend to drink beer while watching football with friends, and I've been doing a lot of that...especially at a buddy's house where he has a humongous screen TV, which is something we lack in the lumberyard, while the Jaguars were in the playoffs. He always seems to have the cool beers. When I buy beer, it tends to be of the Coors/Budweiser variety...sometimes Michelob Ultra. When I'm feeling provincial, Yuengling. When I'm stepping way out of the box...Budweiser Select. When I was in my 20's, I was more of a drinker and more of a beer connoisseur. I knew obscure imports like the back of my hand, but those days are long gone. At his house though, there's always a different variety of brew I've never heard of that's pretty tasty.

It's with all that in mind that I went grocery shopping this past weekend. I was passing the beer section thinking, it'd be nice to be able to offer my "cool beer" buddy something equally cool when he's at my house. I should find something like that, and I did...based on name alone. I found Dogfish Head India Pale Ale. Nine dollars a six pack...ouch! But hell, I buy beer once a month maybe. What's a few dollars.

I got the stuff home and started reading the information on the label and the box holding the bottles. they have a website! So I'm checking that out while sampling the beer...tasty stuff. It's brewed in Milton, Delaware, and they have restaurants in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and Gaithersburg, Maryland (mental note, right along our driving route when we visit the ancestral lumberyard home). They also have an online store, so I'm window shopping in the clothing section and a link says..athletic wear. I'm curious. They have three things there, but the only one that I'd call athletic wear (unless a sweatshirt counts because it contains the word "sweat") is, of all things...a bike jersey. It's a very cool (but very expensive) bike jersey at that. For reference (because they aren't a cheap piece of apparel), it's $100. Google, the fine company that brings you this blog, sells one for $62.50. I own 6 bike jerseys now. Three were free, and none of the other three cost more than $50, but I'm thinking...gotta have the cool Dogfish Head jersey. I showed the wife and said, "I want this...for my birthday." She looked at me and said, "A hundred dollars...for a bike shirt. That's stupid." I said, "Well, maybe to you, but I like it and we can do it for my birthday, and at least you know it's something I'll use." We'll see where that goes. I mean really. Do I look at her and say, "$75, for dead flowers to be delivered to you at work in front of your coworkers? That's stupid." Absolutely not, because even though it's something I wouldn't appreciate if Mr. Flower Delivery Guy showed up with a dozen roses at my desk, I know it makes her Valentine's Day.

Still, I was a bit taken aback. Of all the singular "athletic wear" things to sell with your logo on it, with all the possibilities out there, these guys pick...a bike jersey. Consider that Under Armour makes a whole line of athletic wear, and it sells like crazy, but one thing they don't make is bike jerseys. Click Clack. I mean, it works for me, but what about runners, or bowlers?

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listening to the tube

I went to the gym last night, continuing my effort to be a healthier me. There are several TVs in the place, and the volume was turned down on the one facing me. It was showing a college basketball game (Iowa State at Kansas) so the sound wasn't all that important.

What it did allow me to do, though, was listen to the television others were watching, with the volume turned up pretty loud. They were watching...American Idol. So basically I got to listen to people who thought they could sing, have Simon tell them they can't, buh-bye, and then have them plead their case for a few minutes while being told to leave...several times. Yawn. What came on after that though, was least to me. I don't know the name of the show (Moment of Truth, maybe), but basically it's a game show where you can win a lot of money to tell the truth when asked embarrassing and potentially life changing questions. It wasn't like watching a train wreck, because I couldn't see the screen, but it was like listening to one. One guy was asked if he had delayed the idea of having children because he didn't know if he and his wife (of two years) would be married all that long. He answered "yes", and she's sitting in front of him. The next guy, works at a track...I assumed like a horse racing place. His boss is sitting in front of him when he's asked if he ever secretly went through a co-worker's stuff, or considered that he has a gambling addiction, and he answered, "yes" on both counts. I'm thinking, "Dude, you are so fired." Winning some money is a great thing, but is it worth your job, or worse, your wife? Why would anyone put themselves in that situation?

In the end, I guess it's not much worse than showing up on Springer (is he still on?), but damn, people. $10,000 only goes so far. Don't ruin your life for it.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

rebates...what's up with that?

OK, so Dubya and congress have this wonderful idea of how to stimulate the economy. Let's give everyone a tax rebate. We did it before and it worked. Let's try it again. Let's send everyone a chunk of their tax money back and let them spend it.

I don't have a problem with the concept, such as it is. If it works, great. What I have a problem with is the Democrats, and the notion that we have to give this rebate to the poorest of the poor, who don't pay taxes, and keep it from the rich, who paid the most taxes. Everyone knows the rich have more money than they can spend, so they don't need any of the huge hunk of it they gave the government. The poor, on the other hand, really need the money. That last statement, I can't argue with. It's true the poor could really use the money, but it's not the point.

The concept of a rebate is that you're getting your money...that you paid into something...back. When you buy a car and they give you a rebate, they don't give you money and a car, and you pay nothing. They give you a small portion of the money you gave them..and a car. You don't come out ahead in the car and money departments. That's how rebates work. If you don't give someone a huge hunk of money to start with, there's nothing there for you to get back.

Now, if you want to take the "feel good" label off it, and stop calling it a rebate, and call it what you're actually doing, government mandated charity, I have no issue with it. It's not a rebate. Call it the handout that you're trying to make it, if that's what you want it to be. Stand up and tell everyone, we're once again robbing from the rich, who work their asses off getting that way, and giving to the poor, because we like fostering class envy. Stately Lumberyard Manor doesn't come with a 90210 zip code, but apparently between the wife's and my salary, we're rich enough that if the Democrats' proposal passes, no cash will be hitting our humble abode. That bothers me a little, but the concept that people who pay no taxes somehow get a "rebate" bothers me more. I realize it's election time, so we need to pay the poor to vote Democrat again, and if you can pay them with my money, all the better. So be up front about it. Call it mandatory charity and yeah, I'll stand in line like everyone else, open up my checkbook and hand Barbara Boxer the pen....cuz that's what this really is. We're passing the collection plate at the holy congressional church of secularism, and taking away everyone's choice as to whether or not they want to contribute. Just hand me a receipt when you're done bending me over, so I can get a deduction for it when I'm filing next year's taxes.

I know, I know, how Republican of me. I've been told that before.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

blow me

I had yesterday off, to celebrate the birthday of Dr. King, and I actually spent a few minutes thinking about him and his message, and how far we've come, and how far we have to go, and then I went bike riding.

One of the neighbors went with me. I gave the youngster a choice. He could come with us, or he had to go to the gym, but he needed some exercise, one way or the other. He chose the gym. All things considered, his was probably the smarter move. I just felt guilty, because Saturday it rained and Sunday was cold and windy, and I had been a bike wimp. I needed to get out.

It was chilly...about 55 degrees, but the bigger factor, by far, was the wind. It was out of the east, and I'm guessing somewhere around 20 miles an hour. Based on that we picked a route dead into it. We figured, it'd be hell going out, but the trip home would be great, so we headed toward the beach.

It was brutal, right from the start. As soon as we turned east it was like hitting a wall. It reminded me a bit of the MS ride, but it was colder, and drier, and possibly windier. I got up to 17 miles an hour a few times, but it wasn't a sustainable pace. 15 miles an hour was a struggle, but we held that most of the time. We almost got creamed by a semi on US 1, on the small stretch we have to take on the way to the beach. After he passed us, he kept drifting right until the entire double wheel on the back of the trailer was right of the right lane. Going to the beach, you hit the intracoastal waterway, and a bridge high enough to let the boat traffic large sailboats with tall masts. I don't know that I have ever had to push myself on a bike like I did yesterday, going east to get to the top of that bridge. I willed myself to keep pedaling, and not get off and walk. Coming down the other side of the bridge, I didn't pedal. I wanted to see how much acceleration gravity would provide against that wind. I barely saw 15 miles an hour. My riding partner fared even less well. He didn't stop and walk, but once I got across the whole bridge thing, I had to wait a bit for him to catch up.

We continued east, not all the way to the beach, but to a traffic circle where there's a grocery store. We stopped a minute for a drink and looked at the sky...which was hinting rain. I thought, please God no...not after we managed to get this far, please hold off until we get home.

We turned around, and just like we thought, the trip home was much easier. The bridge wasn't nearly as difficult, and this time, I was hitting the brakes on the downhill side, because I didn't like going faster than 32 miles an hour. I thought...all I need now is a blowout, and I'm a human skid mark. I kept looking at the sky and pedaling, keeping us pretty much in the 20 to 22 mile an hour range.

We got home slightly under 30 miles for the trip, but stayed dry, sat down and had a beer. A day later though, I can still feel that first trip over that bridge in my thighs.


Monday, January 21, 2008

the content of their character

Wooo Hoooo! It’s Marty’s birthday! Usually on this day I pontificate on how great the world would be if we truly stopped caring about the color of our skin and worried more about the content of our character….and I truly believe it would. That would mean a world where affirmative action has no place. Minority set asides, to ensure a certain percentage of city contracts go to minority businesses, would have no place. They would have no place because the playing field would truly be level, and nobody would have a reason to ask for special consideration. I keep hoping we’re getting there, and the world keeps proving me wrong.

The latest example is the candidacy of one Barak Obama. It’s not the fact that he’s running for president that I have issue with. It’s the way his campaign is treated in the media. There seems to be an emphasis on, “He’s too black” and “He’s not black enough”, depending on the constituency. Why, people, do we have to care? Why can’t we just concentrate on the guy’s message? As the candidates head to Florida, I’m getting bombarded with messages, and his doesn’t come in color. Nor does it come in black and white. It is what it is, and I’ll consider him, based on what he says, not what he looks like….just like everyone else.

I’m praying for the day when America doesn’t vote for a black president…or a woman president. I want America to vote for a great president, and stop giving a shit about the wrapping that package comes in.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Bobby Fischer dies

I remeber being a kid when Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spasski for the world chess title. I remeber the thing being televised, which, looking back, seems a bit odd. Yes, it was the cold war days, and it was a battle pitting a young individualistic American against the cold product of an assembly-line like system in Spassky...or that's how it was portrayed....but we sat around watching chess on TV, each move followed by a good 10 to 15 minutes of analysis by some expert. It's pretty close to watching paint dry.

This morning I saw that Bobby Fischer died, which only made me happened to that guy? Then I read the article and thought...OK, he dropped off the celebrity radar screen because he was a loony. I wonder if chess does that to people, or if very eccentric people are drawn to chess....back to the age old argument...are we born that way or are we made that way by our environment. In either case, I didn't know much about him before reading the article (I was 14 or 15 when he won the title), and after reading it, I can't say I'd hold him up as an example I'd want my kid to emulate....but he sure had his 15 minutes of fame, for being captain of the chess club.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

get a life

On most occasions, I have an objection to that saying. I think most people have a life. It just includes priorities that aren't mine, so I consider them unimportant. It doesn't make them any less important to those that give them more weight than I. Therefore, those folks have a life. It's just different than mine, and thank God for that...or else it'd be hell trying to get a tee time and the bike lane on local roads would be a traffic jam.

Now, having said that, some people really need to get a life. I'm speaking here of fanatical football fans. Being a football fan, or sports fan of any nature, is fun. you love your team and ride the emotional roller coaster of their ups and downs. They reward you. They frustrate you. You lie awake thinking...if Matt Jones could only hit somebody and hold on to the ball....but it can go too far. There's a slippery slope and way too many people treat it like a sliding board. When you get to the point where you dislike someone, simply because they like a different team than you do, something's way wrong. Philadelphia Eagles fans are famous for it. The cops used to dress up in opposing team gear at Eagles games and haul people out of the stands on assault charges...until that job got too scary. I don't know if the new stadium has one, but Veterans stadium had a courtroom in the basement somewhere, with a judge during football games, so they could get the offenders off to jail expeditiously....and Philly fans speak of that with pride. I know someone who went to the Jaguars/Steeler game. Coming back from the concession stand at halftime, with his arms full of food, wife walking with him and wearing a Jaguar cap, someone sucker punched him for no reason. He didn't speak to the guy. Never made eye contact...never saw him coming. Just out of nowhere, because he had on a Jaguar hat....pow...right in the gut and food flying everywhere. When the cops showed up, the puncher tried to say the guy with his arms full of food hit him first. C'mon people....because a guy lives in a different city and likes a different team than you hit him?

Then there's this. Yet another idiot went to jail because he's a fanatical football fan. It seems this clown in Wisconsin loves the Packers. Most people in Wisconsin do. This guy, though, takes it to another level. His seven year old son didn't want to wear a Packers jersey during the Packers/Seahawks game, but dad the point where he tied the kid up and taped a jersey onto him. Yo dude...get a life. No, not that one. Find something a little healthier, for you and your son.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

and just like that, they're gone

OK, it was cold last night and maybe that had something to do with it.

I was expecting a crowd at the gym last night. I figured it was the perfect storm. First, you have the people who are still on their New Year's resolutions, who crowded the place last Tuesday. Next, it's opening night of American Idol, so all the Idol watchers would be in, gawking at the tube while they work out and having their discussions about who looked good, bad or indifferent. Then, who knows what you get when you mix those groups. It could pull in even more.

Surprisingly enough....the place was close to deserted. there was me...and two or three other people at any given time...and Sports Center ruled the TV. Maybe the New Year's resolutions have already faded.....


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ryan Parker is back

Last week he had the Jack Del Rio song, which I linked to in another post. Now, the subject is Tony Romo.


So...when did Phillip Rivers become a dick?

Is it a thing about San Diego? I mean, first there was Ryan Leaf. Now there's Phillip Rivers.

I didn't watch all of the Chargers/Colts game, but I did catch the end, with Rivers jawing with the Indianapolis fans behind the bench, giving them the American Sign Language gesture telling them they're number one.

What's up with that?

OK, I know fans can get drunk and stupid....and ugly...and verbally abusive. They're fans, and most have had a few beers. That doesn't excuse them being assholes. It just explains part of why they can be assholes. The players aren't supposed to stoop to the stupid level. They're supposed to set the bar a tad higher for themselves and act with a bit of class. Yo, Phil. Grow up! You get no brownie points for being a dick on national TV.


Monday, January 14, 2008

the aftermath

OK, let's start with...the Patriots are better than the Jaguars and that's why they won.

Having said that, the J'ville defense did itself no favors. They played not to lose. They played scared. They played a freakin' prevent defense all night, dropping everyone into pass coverage, trying to make sure they didn't get burned by the big play...and that pretty much worked. They didn't get burned by the big play. They got burned by the intermediate routes and the running game, because they pretty much left that open. Ask most teams who play that stupid prevent defense at the end of the game to preserve a win. It doesn't work. It stops the big play, but it doesn't win games. Not only that. When this philosophy didn't work at all in the first half, there was no adjustment. They came out in the second half and stubbornly tried to keep doing it, because at halftime the offense managed to keep up with Mr. Brady and company in a track meet. Who thought they'd be able to sustain that? I know I didn't. I'm not saying they would have won if they would have blitzed more and hit Tom Brady in the mouth a few times. Maybe not. When what you're doing isn't working though, maybe you ought to try something different, just to give yourself a chance. Rushing 3 or 4 and never touching the guy, and giving him all day until someone managed to get open...that's not going to stop Tom Brady on any given Sunday...or Saturday. Going in I felt we had a chance. Not a big chance, but we had a chance. Now, I feel like we kinda squandered it.

So it ended, and the falling drizzle on Sunday morning was the perfect weather ending to the season. Because of the rain, the youngster and I hit the gym Sunday instead of biking 30 miles. There was a communal whine session going on amongst the 3 or 4 people in attendance on a rainy Sunday morning. It was a little bit of catharsis and/or venting..but that was it. San Diego did what we couldn't..pull off the big upset. I wouldn't mind seeing them do it again next week, but i don't expect it, and my passion has been reduced to a shrug. I'm now good to go in other directions. It's funny how the playoffs and the Super Bowl and all that loses a lot of my interest when my team bows out. Before we had the Jaguars, I'd watch every game even though I had no clear favorite. We watched bits and pieces of Sunday's games, but we didn't sit glued to all of them like the weekend before. We'll watch the Super Bowl...for the commercials, and hopefully for a decent game, though the Super Bowl rarely delivers on that front. Time to bike ride, play golf, trim the hedges and do other stuff around the house I've been putting off. For me, football season ended Saturday night.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Bring it on

They have the pro bowlers and the all pros and the awe of a nation.
We have the guy who finished training camp as the backup quarterback, names nobody knows and the curiosity of a nation.

They have Brady, who dates supermodels.
We have Garrard, who's married with children.

They have the receiving corps teams dream of, with Moss, Welker, Gaffney, etc.
We have a receiving corps much maligned by the press and the fans (yes, even me)

They haven't lost a game all year.
We the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans, among others.

They've been here before...more times than I want to count.
Most of our team saw their first playoff win last week.

They have the home field.
Our guys are boarding the plane today.

They have the spread...13 and a half points as last check.
We are the crackers.

They cheat.
We haven't been caught.

America expects them to win.
America is looking for a reason to give us a chance.

And while America looks, I've found the reason....right in here. No I can't say I expect the Jaguars to win tomorrow night. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if we lost. But I believe in the chance. I believe in my team. I believe in the ability to overcome odds that seem insurmountable. I know all the numbers say we can't win, but I've never been good with numbers, and have the ability to ignore what they say. I believe my boys that nobody knows have the ability to go to Foxboro and win, and so do they. We share that reason..right in here. Now, bring it on.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Training begins in earnest

The youngster stated in September that he wanted to do the MS Bike ride this coming year. He wants to bike ride from Saint Augustine to Daytona and back on a two day bike ride.

Well, I gave him (and me) an intermediate goal last night. I found a ride in April. It's not quite as intense as 80 miles on consecutive days, but it is about 60 miles (100 k). It's for a good cause - the organ donor program, and it's something to work toward. I checked the boxes at the website for them to send me more information and a registration form, although I'll probably read the information but register us both online. I've pretty much made up my mind though. In April we will ride...100 km through Amelia Island, which ought to be a very scenic trip.

On a related note, the youngster wanted to run track in the spring, and I was all for it. I figured that and cycling would compliment each other and build his stamina. Now though, none of his friends are running track. No freshmen are at all. He's decided he doesn't want to do it this year. We discussed that last night, and I told him, I'm fine with that. He needs to do something else though, then, to work on getting in shape to ride. He can run laps around the neighborhood after school, or go to the gym with me, but he needs to do something. This 100 k ride in April will give him an intermediate goal and a reality check. He rides with me on Saturdays, but one bike ride a week isn't going to cut it.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Your Wednesday afternoon entertainment

This is what people start doing when they think you stand a ghost of a chance in the playoffs. My apologies to Duran Duran.


The road to health is full of New Year's resolutions

I guess the street sweepers come in about half past February and clean them up.

Last week I blew off the gym. I went cycling New Year's Day, so I didn't go then, and after that it got cold, so I wimped and curled up at home. The point is, I didn't hit the gym, so I don't know how crowded it may have been. I went Sunday night and pretty much had the place to myself. Weekends are like that usually. Then I went last night. Holy carp!

The newly resolute were out in force. You could barely fit a workout in edgewise, and you had to be patient. I didn't start my new health binge until the end of January last year, so I didn't see this phenomenon. I was told most of them go away in about a week or two, and I sad. Is that all it takes to dissuade people? One or two weeks of "damn, this is hard"? As much as it makes things more crowded, I would love to see most of these new people stick around and make a real go of it. In the end, it has to make them feel better than watching CSI reruns while the writers strike plods on. It'll definitely help them live longer, happier lives.


the comeback kids

Nothing against Hillary or John least in this instance. I have a lot of respect for McCain (which, when it comes to me and politicians, in general, is saying something, but most of that stems from his life before politics) and a lot of ..well...dislike would be a polite way to put it...for Hillary, but none of that matters in this context.

Both of them framed their victories in New Hampshire as comebacks, and it just made me laugh. Excuse me. It's New freaking Hampshire - the first real primary out of the box, and you guys won. To have a comeback, you have to be down first and come back from..well...something. What the hell do either of you have to come back from? The perception that you might not win? Is that it? We're at the starting line of a long and painful season of spin and we already have comebacks. I know I'm gonna hate the answer but, where can we possibly go from here?


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

in my e-mail

The following is the 2007 winning entry from an annual contest at Texas
A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary

This year's term: Political Correctness.

"Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

Sometimes the Aggies surprise me.


bits and pieces

Holy Carp, a readership spike! I had more hits yesterday than maybe ever in Lumberyard history. I can't honestly say I've been keeping track. I guess that's what happens when ESPN puts a link to you on the New England Patriots clubhouse (of all places) page on their site. All that and not one jab in the comments from a smug Pats fan. I'll admit I'm pleasantly surprised. I have to wonder though...why not the Jaguars clubhouse page instead?

The Boston Herald is latching onto things Paul Spicer said about the Patriots cheating scandal and calling it bulletin board material. He made one little September. Is it just me, or does that qualify as a reach?

Roger Clemens wants to claim it was vitamin B12 in those injections others allege included steroids and/or HGH. I take vitamins. I haven't looked, but I'm betting I can find capsules with B12 in them at the grocery store. It's probably one of the ingredients in Centrum, or Stresstabs, or one of those other multi-vitamin things as well. Maybe it's just my aversion to needles, butt nobody's getting near my ass with a syringe to ensure I'm getting the recommended daily dose of B12. I'm not saying he's lying. I'm just saying there are far more painless ways to get your vitamins. I would have thought he'd be smart enough to know that.

THE Second Place University does it again. After last year's debacle in the desert, then the NCAA tournament in basketball, and now this year's National Championship game, should Ohio State be banned from National Championship play for...oh...say the next 5 years? You've had your shot. We're tired of seeing you. We'd like to spare you the embarrassment, for a little while anyway. Go away for 5 years minimum and let someone more competent give it a shot. Seriously though, you gotta kind of hand it to them, even in their futility. A hundred other schools would gladly jump in their shoes. They definitely earn their way in. It takes a lot to even get to those games, and most schools never even get a whiff of them. THE Second Place University whiffed 3 times in a little over a year. In baseball, they call that a strike out.


Monday, January 07, 2008

be careful what you wish for

OK, so we had a scary but successful second trip to John Kerry field this year. After looking scary good for the first half of the Jaguars/Steelers game, the Jaguars melted down enough to make me hang my head and think...I can't believe they're going to blow this, only to come back and pull it out in the end. I'm too old to let football games age me.

In the aftermath, we get what we wanted...a crack at the New England Patriots. Do I expect the Jaguars to win? No. At least not like I expected them to beat the Steelers. I want them to win. I honestly believe they can win. I think they have the talent to win, and if the weather cooperates, I think they have a better than even chance. I'll watch the game rooting and praying and hoping and whatever else I can do that they will win. I'll be disappointed if they don't, and elated if they do. Still, I can accept the fact that a lot of things have to fall our way for the Jaguars to pull out a victory in Foxboro. I know a lot of people think there's no way in hell that happens. I'd bet most of those people never saw an entire Jaguars game this season before this past Saturday night, so it's a very educated position. Hey, stranger things have happened. Before Saturday night, no road team had ever won twice in one season in Pittsburgh. The Eagles, Ravens and Giants all came close, so I'm thinking it can be done. Ya never know.

I know this. A fair portion of the country not called New England is, maybe for the first time in our history, rooting for the Jaguars to win a game. Some, I'm sure, are just realizing there is a team called the Jaguars, as evidenced by the Pro Bowl voting. I'm hoping my boyz don't let us all down.


Friday, January 04, 2008

just stuff

It really wouldn't have mattered to me who won the Orange Bowl last night. It was just fun to watch a real battle. Both teams had their moments. Kansas just had more of them. They epitomized the bowl season for the Big 12, who surprised me as a conference. The whole conference (except that egg Oklahoma laid) came up pretty strong.

Iowa - does anyone really care? I can't see Huckabee being around and much of a contender come August. Obama, maybe. If those were my choices though, I'd be tempted to stay home. I like Obama. I just thing he's politically blissfully ignorant and a bit naive, and will basically set us up to get run over by people who want us dead. He wants to get out of Iraq and have a dialogue with extremists. They want him, me, and everyone else who doesn't share their beliefs, beheaded. I'm thinking the lack of a mouth would make for a short dialogue. He doesn't seem to get that concept. Huckabee really hasn't said anything to make me want to vote for him. He talks values, but heck, I have values, and I wouldn't vote for me for President. What else ya got? I need that, but I need more. Neither of them impress me much. Maybe in time they will, or someone else will, but the fact that they won the Iowa caucuses...yawn...

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

could it be coincidence?

Two years in a row, the most interesting BCS Bowl game involved Oklahoma losing. Last year it was the improbable Boise State win, with the guy winning the game and running to the sideline to propose to his cheerleader girlfriend, in a scene that I thought only Hollywood could make up. This year, West 'by God' Virginia loses its head coach to Michigan, and goes in an underdog with an interim head coach at the helm. Nobody outside the state of West Virginia thinks they have much of a shot, especially after that last regular season game against Pitt...and they came out ready to take on the world..or at least the University of Oklahoma part of it.

Now, on the flip side, the university went and took the "interim" tag off their new head coach on the crest of the wave of an emotional Fiesta Bowl win. I don't know how smart that was. I mean, I wish him all the best, but I think they had other candidates out there to pick from who have proven themselves better suited to a head coaching job, but who am I to judge? Maybe he'll be great.

In any case, that team rocked, in a way I would have liked to see Hawaii rock in their game against Georgia. Nothing against Georgia. I didn't necessarily want them to lose. I wanted a great game. I wanted to see Hawaii look like more than a deer in headlights, and show everyone that they really belonged in a BCS bowl game. That didn't happen. Colt Brennen looked like a Dodge Colt in an offense begging for a Viper, mostly because his offensive line was...well...offensive.

West Virgina hat's off to those kids. They played through the naysayers and showed us why they belonged in the Fiesta Bowl. Congratulations.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the running bitch

I think that's what I'll refer to Hillary as for the next year or so...longer if necessary. Sort of a take off on Arnold's The Running Man.

Seeing as the news is now inundated with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire and primaries and the inescapable election that's still ten months away..I have one observation so far. The running bitch is running on a platform of experience. She claims to be the one who has it, which supposedly separates her from her contemporaries.

I'm kind-of being a smart ass, but kind-of actually curious. It would tell me a lot about her if I knew of something she prides herself on accomplishing.

Can anyone enlighten me? What experience is she talking about? What does Hillary Rodham Clinton have experience doing? Beyond photo op eye rolls during Dubya's State of the Union Addresses over the years, what has the running bitch actually done? What I'm looking for is...oh...say...five actual things Hillary has accomplished that I would consider good things. She's been a senator for a few years. There ought to be at least five. No, being the Democratic candidate and getting elected to the Senate in the state of New York doesn't count as one of them. That's an accomplishment akin to breathing. Really, when the Clintons left the White House and looked for a state where Hillary could just move in and win a Senate seat by smiling and saying, "I'm Hillary", was anyone surprised when they didn't go back to Arkansas...or go someplace like Texas, or North Carolina? New York proved it could do that for her though. With all that experience in New York, she must have actually accomplished something concrete. Anybody from New York maybe? Anybody at all?


ringing it in

In what I hope is a sign I plan to keep up with my latest obsession and stay healthy, while many were sleeping off hangovers I was...bicycling yesterday morning. The weather here was beautiful, and I wasn't passing it up. Since then, however, someone found the A/C switch again. It's about 37° now and by 8:00 tonight, we're supposed to get to, and stay below, freezing for the rest of the night. I know, I know - compared to colder climes that ain't nuthin', but here that's pretty significant.

Football - everyone here has this superior smirk going about the Jaguar's Saturday playoff game with the Steelers. The Jaguars have beaten them already, up there in the cold, and the Steelers have more starters injured than they did it ought to be a lock. Yeah, tell that to the Florida Gators, who thought they were going to roll over Michigan. My point is...never get cocky. Yeah, the Jaguars have a great chance to beat the Steelers...if they play a damn good game.

Played golf twice over the Christmas break for the first time since Labor Day. Considering how much I haven't even been to a driving range over the fall, my expectations were pretty low. Despite that, I actually played OK, for me. No, I still didn't break 90, but I came scary close on New Years Eve...with a 92.

Happy New Year folks. Let's all dive in and make it so!

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