Tuesday, December 23, 2008

fans from other teams and a question for Miss Manners

I'm usually pretty tolerant of fans of other teams coming to Jacksonville to cheer their team on at a Jaguars game dressed in their team gear. Especially this year, where it's pretty much the equivalent of a bye week. I mean, I'm sure they sold the package deal in Minnesota...fly to J'ville, few days on the beach, play some golf, go watch the Jags lay down for the Vikings, have a celebratory beer, and fly home....all for $1999. Traditional Viking helmet at no extra charge.

That being said, some people are just freakin' rude. Our seats are a few rows up on the second level, on the aisle and right by the platform where you come up the steps, turn and start going up rows, A, B, C, etc. If someone stands on that platform, they block the view of several people and calls of "DOWN IN FRONT!" ensue, especially if it's during play.

So, last Thursday, we had two obnoxious Colts fans, hanging on the platform, having a conversation. They aren't even watching the game, mind you. They're talking and could easily have moved to the concourse where the concession stands are, and they don't block the view of people trying to watch the game. The guy spray painted blue horseshoes into his buzz cut hair and the girl had on the obligatory Peyton Manning jersey. People were semi-polite at first, waving to get their attention. They waved back. One guy said, "No, we're not saying 'hi'. you're blocking the view." Again they waived. The "DOWN IN FRONT" calls began, and were ignored. Someone got up and told them to move and have their conversation elsewhere or they'd call security. Again, nothing.

So at this point, my question is, was it rude of me to yell "HEY! Your fat ass makes a better door than a wide screen!"? (Yeah, I'm all kinds of brave when I'm surrounded by an angry mob sharing my sentiments.)

I only ask because the girl sure seemed offended. They did move though.

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everyone have a great holiday

Happy Hanukkah!
Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!
Happy Kwanzaa!
Happy all of the above.

Whatever and however many of the above you celebrate, please, celebrate....and have a great one.


passing gas at a painful rate

Is it just me? Someone tell me it isn't. I've noticed this for months now, but this morning when it was pretty cold out, it became painfully obvious.

When you go to the gas station, is the pump working at a whole lot slower rate than it used to? I remember a few years ago, you could pump 10 or 15 gallons of gas in no time flat, be back in your car and on your way. Now, it seems, you can count, not only the tenths of a gallon, but the hundredths, with ease. You can even blink a few times.

Is it a psychological thing? Is someone doing this on purpose? Is it because the price skyrocketed, so instead of watching the dollars and cents spiral out of control in a blur, we slow the pump down so it doesn't look like your money is disappearing at an alarming rate?

I don't know. It just hit me as I was shivering with that cold pump handle in my hand...it sure didn't used to take this long.


Monday, December 22, 2008

against the odds, we're getting there

It is feeling more like Christmas. I'm not quite there, but I'm getting closer to seeing through the 7 levels of the candy cane forest, past the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, all the way to the star in the east.

Got the shopping stuff done, or as done as it's getting. Still haven't really decorated much, and won't, but I'm OK with that...because when it all comes down to the reason we celebrate this day, it's not the lights, or the presents, or the carols, or, for God's sake, snow (which I doubt they had that day in the manger). All that stuff makes it brighter and cheerier, but in the end...it's the birthday that matters.

By that I don't mean that it shouldn't be bright and cheery, or that it won't. It's getting there. It's getting there because I'm being taken back to Linus, and what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown...

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:8-14

When it comes right down to it, I'm all about the concept of peace on earth and good will toward men...and women.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

so this is Christmas

It just doesn't feel like Christmas this year in the Lumberyard. I have lots of reasons why that could be. Maybe it's one of them or a combination of some or all of them. It's not normal for me either. I can usually dive face first into the Christmas spirit, but this year, it just ain't happenin'.

Let's start with the wife, who's in ther middle of some nasty class in online college. It's taking up most of her evenings and weekends, making Christmas shopping difficult and Christmas decorating impossible. For the first (and hopefully last) time ever, we're blowing off the tree. We're not pulling out any of the decorations. We bought a small fiber optic tree, just to make it a little Christmas-y, but most of the stuff is staying packed away. Don't really have time to pull it all out, or time afterewards to put it all away. The wife gets a one week break from school, and I'm just not going to do it all on my own. Thank God the whole school thing will end in May. Yes, there will be a graduation party then, but that's May. This is Christmas.

The youngster is still struggling his way through exams. That will get better after this week, but he's not exactly in a Christmas mood, and the results of exam week probably won't help get him there.

I'm working on some stuff at work that I'm not very familiar with, and it's very frustrating and it all has to be done before Christmas, so it's making for exhausting days.

Then there's the general gloomy mood out there, with the economy being what it is, and fear and pessimism just dripping off everything. Companies are in trouble and jobs are disappearing, and Ho Ho Ho just doesn't seem to fit the mood.

In the south, without snow, you don't get the whole Christmas experience as it is. This year it just seems like it's less so.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

and this...is Auburn on the really good drugs

I usually dismiss this sort of carp out of hand. When some black guy claims racism because a non-black person gets selected for something they believe a black person should be getting, they throw down that card. This happens a lot in sports when it comes to jobs, and in particular, black football coaches, either in college or the NFL. It used to be big when deciding on starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but that argument's been pretty much squashed.

I usually ignore it because I find it hard to believe someone would do that on purpose. Why on earth would an organization cheat itself of a better chance to win based on skin color? The concept is ridiculous to me. I have to admit though, on the surface it looks like Chuck Barkley has a point. Now, I have to step back a little, because this is Auburn we're talking about. This is the same school that fired Tommy Tuberville, one of the best coaches in college football, because he had a bad year, and because some football booster with money doesn't like him.

Still, they replaced Tommy with Gene Chizik, the coach at Iowa State. Chizik's record there is an unimpressive 5-19. He's not exactly a winner. Turner Gill, who Barkley thinks should get the job, took a losing program and turned it around, making it a conference champion. Chiziki's white. Gill is black. So far, like I said, it looks like Barkley has a point. Then, however, you have to factor in the firing that created the whole opportunity for Chizik or Gill to get this job. Remember that Auburn fired Tuberville, who is head and shoulders above both of these guys and white. From there, you can only come to one conclusion. None of this has much to do with skin color. None of it has much to do with any kind of logic at all. Someone at Auburn just got ahold of the really good drugs, and they're on one helluva month long high.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tebow and two other guys...

Gotta like this headline. Basically, it says Tim Tebow and two other guys are up for the Heisman trophy this year. Those two other guys have names. They really do.

Don't get me wrong. I think Tim Tebow is one helluva football player. I just happen to thing those two other guys, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy, are too. I think those other two guys might have even had better years. If I had a vote, it would probably go to Bradford. I think last year Tebow deserved the trophy. He was Florida's Mr. Everything. This year he was asked to do a lot less because the talent around him was better. The result was (and is) an amazing team, but it's more of a group effort. Bradford and McCoy are more important to the success of their teams than Timmy Tebow is to Florida. I will grant you, if Tebow was asked to do more, he could deliver. He did it in the SEC Championship game without Percy Harvin. Still, if asked who had the better year, I'd have to say Bradford.

I don't know if that'll matter. A lot of the experts around here are saying Tebow will win based on a few factors.

1) Bradford and McCoy are both from the Big 12, and will split the votes that would normally go to one strong candidate from that conference.

2) A vast majority of the sports writers with votes were in the climate controlled Georgia Dome, watching Tebow's gritty performance against Alabama, where he pretty much willed his team to victory. They weren't in the freezing cold of Arrowhead Stadium watching Bradford pick apart Missouri, because well, it was freezing cold, and sports writers like being coddled.

3) The defining Tebow moment that everyone saw, that wasn't even on a football field, when he was in tears at the press conference after the lone Florida loss, telling the world that he's going to play harder, and push his team harder, than anyone's ever seen before. It was sincere and he made it happen, and everyone ate it up with a spoon. Still, people...it was a press conference.

4) Those experts are around here, and here happens to be Florida (especially Jacksonville, Florida), where Tim Tebow is from, and can do no wrong.

I don't know who will actually win the thing on Saturday, and no matter which of the three does, it'll go to a deserving player. I just think it shouldn't be between Tebow and...well...two other guys.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

fire sale

I'm dumping my 401k, mutual funds, bonds, everything I have. I need cash and I need it now...lots of it.

I hear there's a Senate seat up for sale in Illinois, and what the hell. I'm up for a job change. Might have to break into the youngster's piggy bank, too...


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

heard on the radio today

What do opossums and the Jacksonville Jaguars have in common?

Both play dead at home and get killed on the road.


terrorists don't subscribe to a flag

I've been watching the events unfold after the terror attacks in Mumbai, India and am a bit confused about the anger at the country of Pakistan.

Terrorists don't think of themselves as Pakistani, or Indian, or American. They think of themselves as warriors for a cause...true believers. The Pakistani government didn't engineer the attack and, except for an inability to stop it, can't be considered responsible. The same could be said of the Indian government. People are burning Pakistani flags in protests, but the act has no relevance. The people behind these attacks don't give a damn about flags.

The people behind these attacks have some warped sense of religion that makes it imperative that they kill for God. That sentence in itself, and the truth of it, should be all anyone needs to realize these people don't hold to any traditional logic or value system. They have warped a religion that preaches peace and tolerance into a mandate from God that they kill people whose belief system doesn't mirror their own. That's the philosophy that should be the focus of anger and reprisal. It doesn't have anything to do with flags.


Monday, December 08, 2008

I have been verbally challenged

The Jaguars have thrown down the gauntlet, and I'm against the ropes.

I consider myself a half decent writer. No, I'll never work for the daily paper, but I'm pretty good with words, or at least, I used to think so. I usually don't have a problem expressing myself, and can get my point across without too much difficulty.

All that changed yesterday. My football team showed me a performance for which I have no description. I don't have the vocabulary to express SUCK in that strong of a term. It was such an exponentially bad SUCK, a level of SUCK never before experienced in the lumberyard, that maybe someone else can pull off the description...someone more adept with words than I. It's just way beyond my capability.


Friday, December 05, 2008

this is Auburn, and this is Auburn on drugs

Does anyone really believe this smokescreen?

Tommy Tuberville is one of the better coaches in college football. He's had a strange relationship with boosters and other people of influence at Auburn University for years. He's had 2 losing seasons in 10 years, the second being this one, and people want him gone because of it. The same people wanted him gone after the first one, and tried to hire a new coach before they managed to get him fired then...making for lots of embarrassment. This time, they got him fired before they hired someone new, which I suppose is one step in the right direction.

Once they did that though, they pretty much became a laughing stock. Everyone in the country who is following this situation that isn't affiliated with Auburn football is asking, "Are you people out of your freaking minds?"

You have Tommy Tuberville, who has led this program to a national championship, beat your arch rival every year for 6 years straight (but lost this year to break that streak), and had winning seasons in 8 of 10 years, and you're kicking him out the door? What the hell do you expect from a coach and who do you think you'll get that will do any better?

So, now the story is...we begged him to stay and he refused. Yeeeeaaaaah, that's the ticket. you and your wife...Morgan Fairchild. Yeeeaaaahh.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

the college bowl system

I'm not going to get into why or why not college football needs a playoff. Personally, I like the idea that we have no definitive number one college football team. I like that it's a fuzzy concept. I don't think college football requires a definite number one team. So what if there isn't? I love watching the games, but in the end, I don't care all that much who walks away knighted number 1, regardless of the rationale. Maybe I'd feel differently if I was a huge fan of one particular team, but I'm not...so it's OK with me that on any given year, someone can make the argument that the best team didn't finish number 1. We don't have a playoff and the bowl system is as close as we get. I can still sleep at night.

That said, I was always under the opinion that the best teams go to the better bowl games...or that those bowls tried to get the best teams. It was supposed to be a reward for having a good season. Now, I'm being proven wrong. The Gator Bowl, in my beloved J'ville, invites one team from the Atlantic Coast Conference. I thought they invited the best team available. This year it appears they had a choice of Florida State or Clemson. Both are pretty good teams. Florida State has a better record, and beat Clemson in the regular season. You'd think they'd get the invite. But no, Clemson's coming to town. Now, I thought I was being cynical when I thought to myself...it's because Florida State people will drive here on game day and not fill hotel rooms, and then go home. I didn't think anyone would actually come out and say that. I was wrong. The decision came down to...Clemson fans travel well, and will definitely sell out the stadium, where that wasn't a given with Florida State, and Clemson fans will come and stay a few days. They'll fill hotel rooms, eat in restaurants and do things that require cash outflow, thus bringing in more of an economic impact.

Florida State fans are up in arms about the decision, but this one's on you guys. The perception is you won't come in droves and spend the big bucks, but Clemson fans will. They get the invite and you head for the Poulan Weedeater Bowl, or the Pork, the Other White Meat Bowl, or wherever you can get an in.

So, the fans are determining who gets to play in the Gator Bowl...not the stuff that happens on the football field. It's not really about sports. It's all about the Hamiltons, baby. That, apparently, is reality, and everybody's pretty up front about it. I just feel like I've been way naive, and someone shattered my innocence. That's all.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

the art of not blogging

When I started this place, I had a reason. I had several things I wanted to get off my chest and this was a venue for all that.

Now I've done that, and somewhere in my head I got this idea that I have to come here every day and write something, as if I have something interesting enough to go on about every day.

I have now come to the realization that:
a) I don't
2) I don't have to come here every day and make something up
III) I'll still use this place as it was originally intended, but I won't try to do something every day just for the sake of doing it
d) I get more hits for the girlie pics on the right than I do what I actually say, so that pretty much frames my place in cyberspace, but that's OK. That's why they're there.

It might even make the place more interesting to read on the days when I actually do have something worth saying.

Now, having said that...the Burger King steakburger has to be one of the grossest things I've ever put in my mouth, and that's saying something. As fast food places go, Burger King is usually my favorite. The burgers just taste better to me. The double whopper, no cheese is my junk food staple, if I allow myself to eat that crap.

So, when I saw the poster that said steakburger, with two of my favorite toppings, swiss cheese and mushrooms, I thought a switch may be in order. I was so wrong. I don't know where they get the square steak, but I'm having trouble believing that's actually beef steak in that bun. If you've been tempted as I was...spare yourself and pass. That thing melts in your mouth, for all the wrong reasons.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the Jaguars

I couldn't even watch it all last night. It was that ugly. Before, we just sucked for a regional audience. Last night we got to suck under the national spotlight. How nice.

I wish I found it that easy to quit on the team. They sure did last night. I....just can't.


Monday, December 01, 2008

for all you smokers out there

Q: Do you smoke after sex?
A: I don't know. I never looked.

I have one close relative who smokes...my brother's wife. She's an unrepentant chain smoker, and has been all her life, which is about as long as mine.

In the spring, her arm started moving uncontrollably. It pretty much freaked her out, as it would anyone. It was moving, and actually hitting her and she wasn't trying to move it. When she went to the hospital, they found a tumor in her brain. Long story short, it was brain cancer, which started as lung cancer brought on by cigarettes. By the time they found it, it was in her lymph nodes and had spread throughout her body.

She spent the summer and fall in varying degrees of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, still smoking like a chimney...until the day before Thanksgiving.

I lied.

I told you I have one close relative who smokes.

I don't anymore.

If you still smoke, despite everything we know about it, please please stop. If you gain 50 pounds, so what. Well, maybe not so what, but I'd rather have you fatter and alive, than skinnier and dead.


playing for last place

Yes, folks, it has come to this. I don't think this is what ESPN had in mind when the Monday Night Football schedule was drafted.

Tonight America will be treated to a fantastic Monday Night Football game. The Jacksonville Gaguars go to Houston to play the Texans. The winner gets the unique distinction of NOT being in last place in the AFC South division. The loser heads for the cellar. Yes it could be worse. We could be the Detroit Lions. Beyond that, there's not much to wipe the ugly off this game, or this football season.