Thursday, April 30, 2009

what a circus

I think this whole Miss California speaking out against gay marriage thing is hilarious.

For me, it's really not even about the issue itself. I don't care that much about which side anyone falls on the gay marriage issue. I can see arguments for both sides and it's not an issue I'm all that passionate about. We, as a society, have "dumbed down" marriage to the point where it's pretty meaningless by itself. Some celebrities have marriages that last about as long as a movie run. Much like getting a certificate for completing some training course for work...when everyone gets one regardless of effort, things tend to lose a lot of their value, or as Shakesphere said, "too light winning makes the prize light." The only way marriage becomes worth something is if the two people involved make it worth something. What I do find hilarious is some gay guy, asking the gay marriage question of a beauty pageant contestant in a competition. He was obviously trying to push his own agenda and expecting a politically correct answer from some young lady afraid to say anything else for fear of losing the competition. He was using this forum, that wasn't his, to get an endorsement from someone he didn't know. What he got was his issue shoved back in his face. So much for abusing a nationally televised stage to push your own selfish cause. I just like the fact that she showed some cahones bigger than his and didn't compromise her beliefs just to appease some judge. She didn't try to abuse a national TV audience to push her opinion. She was asked, and when asked, she was honest.

I don't know where all this is headed, and I don't really care, but I applaud her for that much.

Now the liberals are on the attack, trying to make her out to be a right wing nut job, because she doesn't toe their line. They made sure tabloid websites got some "racy" pictures she posed for, calling her a hypocrite. OK, she posed for pictures no more revealing than stuff you see on this website, or in a J C Penney lingerie ad in the J'ville fishwrap. They attack her because they can't be tolerant of opinions that differ from their they demand tolerance. Yet another example of the great liberal rule...freedom of speech is a great thing, as long as you say what I think you should say.


Monday, April 27, 2009

the pied piper

I'm turning into the bicycle pied piper, and I never intended to. This whole bike deal started as an 'all about me' get my ass in shape thing, but it's starting to spread (much like my ass was doing before I took action). That's not really such a bad thing. In fact, it could turn into a matter of pride if it keeps growing the way it's started. I'll change the names to protect the somewhat innocent, but it's going like this.

I have a friend I'll call Bob. Bob started riding with me a over a year ago, but Bob was in the Navy and got sent overseas. He has since retired from the military this spring. He wanted to ride in the MS Ride with me last year, but he was outside the country at the time. Now that's no longer an issue, and Bob and I ride almost every weekend. He's planning on doing the MS Ride with me and the youngster in October. Bob has two sons, Ishmail and Seymour. The youngster and Ishmail are good friends. In fact, last year when the youngster and I did the MS ride, Bob's wife brought Ishmail and Seymour to the finish line in St. Augustine to watch us come in. Since then, Ishmail has been asking the youngster bicycing, occasionally riding his road bike, talking to Bob about getting a bike of his own and training to do this year's MS ride. The thing is, Ishmail has a habit of wanting to do things that call for expensive props (guitar and an art studio come to mind) and once Bob sinks cash into the mix, Ishmail's interest dies. Bob wasn't about to buy an expensive road bike and have Ishmail let it sit in the garage. Bob's other son, Seymour, has a friend, Fred. Fred's dad, Rocko has a road bike. It happens to be the same brand as mine. Once day, the youngster was over at Fred's (only because one of Fred's neighbors is a girl the youngster has some interest in), and discussed bikes with Rocko. Rocko talked to Bob about riding with us, and in fact, this past Saturday, he did. Rocko was worried about keeping up with us, but the fear was unfounded. Rocko's in decent shape and hung in there just fine, but admitted we worked him pretty hard.

Bob started shopping for bikes for Ishmail and Seymour, because Seymour has also expressed interest. He spent the last few months trying to get decent bikes for the boys but not break the bank. Finally, he found what he wanted. Ishmail got a bike this past weekend. It's new, but a model from last year or the year before. Seymour will be getting one this week as well. It's a used one, but it's a good bike to start on. Ishmail and the youngster started riding immediately once Ishmail got his bike home. They recruited another kid, Sherman, whose mom has a road bike she never rides. It's a litle bit big for him, but he can ride it.

Sunday morning after church, Bob and I took the youngster, Ishmail and Sherman on a bike ride, basically teaching Ishmail and Sherman how to ride in a line, how and when to shift, how to ride and not burn yourself out in the first five minutes by pedalling as hard as you can, that sort of thing. I thought it would be like hearding cats, but I was wrong. They were surprisingly receptive, and stayed together for the most part. We took the boys 22 miles, which was more than enough to start. Ishmail got a fair idea of what he's getting in to, and so far, he's still pumped.

So, in the end, I have me, Bob and Rocko...three dads riding together. Then I have the youngster, Bob's kids, Ishmail and Seymour, another boy, Sherman, and possibly Rocko's son, Fred, if he joins the party. From there, who knows. It'd be amazing if I can get that whole group trained up (and willing to raise the necessary funds for the cause) to where we could all (three dads and five teenage boys) do the MS Ride in October. Maybe that's asking a bit much, but at least we're all out and doing things instead of sinking into a couch somewhere.


Friday, April 24, 2009

is the draft this weekend?

Damn, that snuck up on me fast. ESPN really ought to give that thing more play. When you only cover it 24/7 for a month, with occasional interruptions for March Madness updates, I don't think that's really enough.

It's starting to get like the presidential election. I just want it to be over so I don't have to hear about it anymore


Thursday, April 23, 2009

hero takes a fall

Well, a second one. Jimmy Smith, one of the most successful players in the Jaguars' short history, was arrested yesterday.

Back when he was playing he got caught in a drug test for cocaine. He strongly denied ever using the drug, but eventually admitted he had a problem and went to rehab. After that, he played well, until he retired. By all accounts from people who know him (and I'm not one of them), Jimmy is a great guy and a good family man.

Well, yesterday he got pulled over for excessive window tint on his car, and when he got stopped, the telltale smell of pot tipped the officer off. A search revealed that, and cocaine, and he was arrested.

Well, he may be a great guy, but he's a great guy with a problem. I hope he gets the help he needs to get, and stay, clean this time.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IE 8

Last night I was goofing off on the web, and some banner ad came up for Internet Explorer 8. Now, I try to stay up to date with IE, if for no other reason than I occasionally buy things through the web, and I figure the latest and greatest from Microsoft will probably do a better job of protecting my credit cards and such. Maybe I'm off base, but that's the rationale.

So, I visited the Microsoft website (cuz I don't trust banner ads) and found the download, and proceeded on my merry way. I should stop here, and say I like a clean browser. I'm no fan of toolbars. I don't want Yahoo's tool bar, Google's tool bar, MSN's tool bar...none of that shit. I'll find what I want, when I want it without your handy dandy button always on my screen, thank you very much. So it all finished and I had to restart the computer. I did, and....I fired up the new version that doesn't look much different than the old one except....the usable screen is about half the size because now I've got every tool bar known to man taking up the top half. My favorites now have 50 bazillion MSN websites taking up the top 99% of the drop down box. My new home page (I didn't know I needed one) is now MSN. It took me longer to clean that carp up than it did to download the thing in the first place.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the Jaguars grab Torry Holt

Wooo Hoooo! Well, sort of. The Jaguars went and got Torry Holt. At first blush, I should be ecstatic. Immediately our lame receiving corps got better. When you consider though, that last year's 'starters' have been tossed from the team and nobody is racing to snatch them up, you have to realize the bar is abysmally low. We got nobody, so just about anybody is an improvement. Torry Holt isn't just anybody. He's a damn good player...or was. He's older, and there's a knee issue. The Rams let him go, and the only reason he's signing with the Jaguars is because there was no rush to sign him from other teams. The race was between us and the Titans, and neither team was putting out a Herculean effort. That makes me skeptical. I mean, you gotta ask why. Why were the Rams so willing to let go of a guy who has played so well for them? Why didn't...say...the Falcons, or the Packers, or the Raiders, or any number of other teams, show the same kind of interest we did?

I guess I'm just leery of the whole free agent signing thing. The Jaguars, especially in the recent past, have had no luck in that arena. We overpay for people and get absolutely no (Jerry Porter) return on investment. I guess I've become a lot more like the State of Missouri. You gotta show me.


Monday, April 20, 2009

so this passes for news

What is the big deal with the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks being waterboarded 183 times? This guy was behind the deaths of 2,974 innocent people and we worry about how often he was waterboarded? He's still alive, isn't he? More than I can say for the people slaughtered by his actions. My biggest question is...What? Couldn't you find the time to fit in a 184th opportunity?

I'm sorry Brian Williams, Nancy Pelosi, and Barak Obama. Waterboarding may be a harsh interrogation technique, but it ain't torture. Grow a set. Next thing you know we'll be asking if the interrogators' tone was too strong and intimidating, or if the detainees were deprived of premium movie channels.


rockin' the Katie Ride

We rocked the Katie Ride this weekend. Maybe not completely, because we didn't do the 100 mile version, but we did do 100 km (62 miles). Got up at about 4:45 Saturday morning, got dressed, loaded up the bikes and everything else we needed, picked up the neighbor and his bike, hit Ronalds House of Fine Meats for the youngster's pancake breakfast, and were on I-95 going north at about 5:40. Got to Fernandina Beach around 6:45, just in time to register, put the obligatory event t-shirt back in the car, and be at the start line by 7:00.
The ride truly is beautiful, from Fernandina Beach south to Fort George Island. Lots of roads beneath a canopy of trees before opening up at the south end with the ocean views and bridges from one barrier island to the next, like here, crossing Nassau Sound, between Amelia and Big Talbot Islands. It's very cool. It was especially very cool on the way south because there was a pretty strong wind out of the northeast, so we were being pushed...just a little. The same wind was not so cool on the way back north. When you get out in the open over those bridges with nothing between you and the ocean to block the wind, it gets pretty brutal.

Still, we endured, and were back at the car with the bikes loaded, having a celebratory beer (the youngster had Diet Dr. Pepper) well before noon. (I know, drinking before noon....but when you just finished a 60+ mile ride, you deserve one.) I was pretty proud of the youngster. The same kid who was whining for the last 5 miles last year, about how far it was, and how much his butt hurt, and how much more, and "I don't know if I can make it" pedaled on through the headwind with nary a peep. He just kicked butt. True, this year there was more of an audience. Last year it was just me and him. This year, the neighbor was with us, and some guy from New York that we picked up along the way, who liked our pace and asked if he could tag along. After the beer and post ride pictures, we had lunch there and hung out for a little bit. We got home around 1:30. Still, a flashback to last fall and the MS Ride that made me chuckle...he sat on a pillow during dinner Saturday and Sunday night. Hopefully by this evening his scrawny butt is back to normal.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm gonna miss that guy...BOOM!

Often imitated, not quite duplicated, but very good at what he does, or did...John Madden is retiring from his broadcasting career. He's one of the most recognizable people associated with NFL football, and while I can't blame him for hanging up the microphone and settling down, I will miss him.

Watching football won't be quite the same anymore....

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

caught this on the evening news

I watched the evening news last night, hoping for some word on the incarceration of either Viagra or Cialis. I wanted to see when they'd be paroled, so the incessant spam would stop.

They didn't show the video during the broadcast, but referenced it as they were closing at the end of the show, and said there's a link on their website. Now there's one on mine, too. This Susan Boyle woman (any relation to Peter?) is pretty amazing.

Then there's this, which wasn't covered on the evening news. Yes, of course it's fabricated and wonderfully satirical. It's nice to know others recognize the love-fest the media has for our new President, especially contrasted to the way they covered the last one....but as we all have been told, media bias is a myth. Of course it is.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm so out of it

I keep getting spam e-mail with a subject line urging me to "Free Viagra and Cialis!"

I guess it's been a few weeks since I saw the evening news. I didn't even know they were in prison.


Monday, April 13, 2009

I guess I could just say no

I suppose this will just be one big whine.

I've taken on another charity bike ride, which makes four for the year. Two years ago, I did my first. Last year I did two. This year it's four. There won't be any more this year and I really need to scale back for next year. I think the outside, three, is my limit. The reasons are several.

One is overall effectiveness. and another is general perception, and they both stem from the same thing. Yes, I make a fairly generous donation to all these causes I ride for. It's a philosophical thing with me. I consider myself fairly fortunate in life. I live in a decent house. My son goes to a nice school. We have food on the table. The wife and I have good jobs (knock on wood) that don't appear to be going anywhere. I feel it's my responsibility to give back to this world that has given me so much. I do that in several ways, but one is the the charities for which I ride. That's me. It's not everybody. Other people may have their own set of causes to support that don't necessarily mesh with mine, or they may not have that same feeling of responsibility. That doesn't make anyone better than anyone else. It just makes us different. Whatever the reason, the novelty of me riding to help charities has worn a little thin with friends and family. Maybe in the first year there was a novelty factor (no way the old fat guy can do this), or it was a way to encourage me to actually go through with riding 100, or 180 miles. Now, they all know I can and will do it again.

So Friday the wife told me about another charity ride, the Tour de Cure, to benefit the American Diabetes Association. Her workplace has a team. She keeps getting asked why I never ride for them when I ride in events like this. She 'hinted' that I could ride with them for this one. I agreed. So I sent out an e-mail to my family, letting them know I was going to ride in the Tour de Cure, and asking anyone who felt the urge to please sponsor me. No response so far. Ok, it was only Friday, so no big deal.

What hit me was Sunday, when I called my parents to say "Happy Easter", my dad gets on the phone and says, "What are you trying to do? Bankrupt us?" Now, keep in mind, this man hasn't contributed to any of the four rides I plan to do this year, yet. None of my family has. Yet, the perception is there. He's just the one who gave it a voice. Apparently, I'm the guy in the family who's trying to suck away all you money. Now, I have to add some perspective. My dad is notoriously cheap. I think part of that comes from growing up in depression era America, and having nothing...and still being afraid that what he has could all disappear tomorrow. His sentiment may not run any farther than between his own ears, but I had a hard time believing I was hearing that kind of question from my own dad. The results speak to the same sentiment though.

The Katie Ride - I got a little help from people at work, but the vast majority of the money raised is mine.

Tour de Cure - granted, I just signed up Friday, but so far, it's all me.

First MS ride in PA - it's all me, to make the minimum donation, but I expected that and didn't ask for help. I figured I ask enough and didn't want to be a pain, so I'd settle for ponying up the minimum for the youngster and me.

Second MS ride in October here - so far mostly me, but in all fairness, there's a lot of time between now and then, and I know I'll get help.

Bottom line though, each of these rides has a minimum donation between $100 and $200, and I'm getting less and less help. I'm not oblivious to the economy, either. I know times are tough, but as far as I know, most of my family hasn't been hit. Of course, if they were I probably wouldn't be told. They'd rather suffer in embarrassed silence than tell somebody they're hurting, and I kind-of understand that.

In the end, the more I say yes to these things, the more burden I put on myself, and that's nobody's fault but mine. I'll get through the rides I obligated myself to this year, even if it's just me doing the minimum. That's the thing, though. I have to wake myself up to the realization that, when I obligate myself to do these things, that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm obligating myself, and not anyone else.

I could say no. There are plenty of organized distance rides out there that don't involve charitable contributions. I like the idea that I ride in ones that do, and that I do more than just ride when I do this. Maybe I'll just have to find a couple that don't though, and just do one or two a year that do. Maybe I just need to scale back how much I think I can do,because a lot of it depends on others, and they don't necessarily cooperate with my plans.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

things I'm really not ready for

Because of the latest fashion trends, I hear Frederick's of Hollywood, the leader in "outlet mall level" lingerie, is attempting to negotiate with Michelle Obama.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

biking...the journey continues

Next weekend (as in the 18th) the youngster and I will participate in the Katie Ride for Life. It's a charity thing that benefits education programs on the high school level concerning organ donor registration. Apparently it's also pretty effective at getting kids about to get their drivers license thinking about electing to register to be an organ donor. If anyone wants to contribute to the cause, there's an e-mail link in my profile. Feel free to use it and I'll let you know how.

We did this thing last year, and it was the first organized ride we did together. The youngster got a feel for what this kind of ride is like on a smaller scale (about 500 cyclists), before doing the MS Ride in the fall which has over 2000 riders.

There are several things I like about the Katie Ride. It's a good cause, and it works. It really does save lives, just by educating kids. The ride is beautiful. It goes from Fernandina Beach south along the ocean. For a lot of the ride, you either have the beach or the intracoastal waterway, or both, in sight. You turn around at an old clubhouse on Fort George Island and head back to the start...100 km total. It starts at a civilized hour...8:30, so you don't have to get up before dawn and.....hold on there!

They changed the freakin' time! Well, they did for some of us. The ride has several distances, from 30 km (18 miles) up to 100 miles. Next year I'm hoping to do the 100 mile route. I'd do it this year, but I have a neighbor and the youngster with me, and I don't think they're up to that quite yet. Anyway, I digress. Last year, they started the 100 mile folks at 7:00. The 30, 60 and 100 km people started at 8:30. This year the 100 km people (ie. us) will start at 7:00 with the 100 mile riders. Since it's about an hour ride by car from home to the start line, and we'll have to be there before it starts, we'll be leaving home at about 5:30. Oh joy! I know....waaaahhhhhh, but still!


the moral victory

At last we put in a better showing than Michigan State. I thought our game was pretty bad, until I watched some of that debacle last night. Didn't come close to watching the whole thing. Didn't need to.

Congrats UNC. You guys definitely deserved the title.


Monday, April 06, 2009


It really wasn't that we lost that bothered me. I knew we were the party crashers amid the giants of college basketball, and our chances were slim. It was the way we lost. Put together a really poor shooting night and North Carolina's defense, and we just looked awful. Someone told me, they should have stopped trying to shoot the 3. Depth perception sucks in a dome like that. Well, my response is, yes I've heard that theory/excuse before, but it sure didn't seem to stop Carolina. They were making their shots behind the arc. We just weren't.

I was hoping we'd at least look like we belonged in Detroit, but that was just a pitiful performance. In the end, it doesn't bother me all that much. Villanova made it to the final four, which was more than I could ask. I would have liked a better game to go out on, but they didn't ask me.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

the timing couldn't be much better

When I started this bike thing, it didn’t take me long to find that bike jerseys come in all kinds of themes. One of those revolves around colleges. Alas, try as I might, I could never find one from my Alma Mater. Sure, you could find all the big schools. Notre Dame, University of Florida, Texas, Michigan…no problem. Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan State, North Carolina State, sure. My little suburban Philadelphia school, no freakin’ way. Not enough demand from a school with a total population around 10,000. Then, one night last fall, while web surfing, I found the Villanova University cycling team. They had a team jersey. They took orders. How cool…for me. So in November I sent them money, and waited. Then I waited some more. After that I waited. I offered myself all kinds of excuses. They’re college kids. It’s finals…then Christmas break…then, they live in Pennsylvania, and aren’t even thinking cycling yet. It’s winter. Finally though, winter went away and I could see, browsing their website, that they were racing already this spring. Hmmmm…they have their new jerseys. Where the hell is mine?

So I sent them an e-mail about a week and a half ago, asking in slightly more polite terms, when I can expect my jersey. Well, silence. For those of you in business, I offer this piece of Lumberyard advice. Silence is never a good plan. If you screwed up, own up. Tell whoever you’re dealing with what happened. You can be vague, or diffuse the blame, or whatever, but set their expectations. Let them know what you’re doing about it and what they can expect to happen and when. If it doesn't happen like you say it will, update them again, but let them know what to expect. Don't just leave 'em guessing. That didn’t happen. Instead they told me nothing, yesterday’s mail, something showed up.

If nothing else, the timing is perfect.