Monday, October 31, 2005

it's not you, it's me.....

Dear Phillip Fulmer and Jeff Fisher,

I have an apology to make. I've watched your teams' games and gotten upset because we're losing this season. I've yelled at the television, complained to others about your poor execution, and even posted to some bulletin boards out of anger. But the lovely bride brought something to my attention yesterday and now it's all clear. She said, "You know, our teams just aren't doing well this year." That's when it hit me - it's not you, it's me. I've jinxed both of your teams by rooting for them.

Coach Fulmer, it has nothing to do with the following:

lack of discipline; the inability to name and stick with one quarterback; injuries; a lackluster offensive scheme that everyone in the country figured out years ago; complete absense of leadership from the players; bad luck; dropped passes and fumbles; poor routes run by the receivers; or slow play-calling.

Coach Fisher, it has nothing to do with:

pass plays that average 8 yards per completion; a defensive secondary that, if it were a cheese, it would be Swiss cheese; young, undisciplined players; mistakes made by veterans at crucial moments in the game; an offensive line's inability to block; or blowing up the team on the off-season.

Again, guys, it's my fault. Apparently the very fact that I am on your side is causing you to lose. So I'm going to conduct an experiment next weekend. I'll not watch either of your games, and maybe that will help you beat Notre Dame and Cleveland. No, I'm not looking forward to missing either game, but if it helps your chances by having me not watch, I'll do it.

Your loyal fan,

Wade Stapleton

PS - If both teams continue to lose, here's a couple of names to think about - David Cutcliffe and Matt Leinart.....

Friday, October 28, 2005

the pivot.....

pivot ('pi-v&t) [noun] "a shaft or pin on which something turns; a person, thing, or factor having a major or central role, function, or effect."

I read an article in Rolling Stone a few days ago that really resonated with me. It was an interview with Bono from U2. Yes, he's controversial at times. But in things that I've read about him over the years, I think he's for real.

The interviewer asked him about whether or not he felt rock music was incompatible with religion, and he said this:

"The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt. So the blues, on one hand -- running away; gospel, the Mighty Clouds of Joy -- running towards. And later you came to analyze it and figure it out. Both deal with the relationship with God. That's really it."

The pivot. I've never thought it it that way, but in a Christian's life God is (or should) be the pivot. Sometimes the "jaunt" may be all downhill and stress-free; other times it's like running uphill at a 45 degree angle in 95 degree weather. Regardless of the difficulty, God is the pivot, right in the center of it all.....

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

we almost forgot about halloween.....

I don't know about you, but October is a special month for us around our house. Yes, football season is in full swing, and the leaves start to turn to show their range of beautiful colors. It's more than that, but you probably already know where I'm going with this. If you're "in the know" at all, you know that October is National Toilet Repair Month.

We've stuck to tradition for the most part (Toilet Repair Month trees decorated with small plungers, bowl deodorizers and such), but this year I was able to pay homage to the Tidy Bowl Man by constructing a robotic display of him rowing his boat. Much to my embarrassment, many of our neighbors have commented on its originality and creativity. It took over 5 months and 179 man-hours, but it was well worth it.

For anyone who drops by our house, we have the bride's rest room journal on the coffee table. Some of you already know about this masterpiece. The bride has chronicled her facility visits in a small leather book. There are journal entries from our honeymoon in Hawaii, some from Monterey earlier this year, as well as many other places around the country. Nothing crass, mind you; she simply reports on the uniqueness of each lavatory. The bride has visited approximately 52% of all possible rest rooms in the Southeast. Quite an accomplishment for someone as young as she!

So remember to celebrate National Toilet Repair Month. And do so with someone you love. It will mean so much more to you if you do.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

the bottom has fallen out.....

I was met with ice on the windshield yesterday morning, so fall is officially here. Sunday was one of those upper-40's/low-50's/misty rain/no sunshine kind of days. And since we had days in the 80's less than a week ago, upper-40's feels like 15 below.

PumpkinFest is this Saturday, October 29th. If you're in the Franklin/Nashville area, take the time to come by and enjoy the day. The bride and I will be manning the duck pond booth on 3rd Avenue South from 1:30 until 2:30, so stop by and say "hello" if you get a chance.

Have you looked at the calendar today? Only 60 shopping days left until Chrismas.....

Monday, October 24, 2005

tough football weekend.....

Every fall I wait to hear Bob Kessling utter those five words that every Tennessee fan loves to hear: "It's football time in Tennessee!" The problem this year is that someone forgot to tell the team that it's time to play football.

This morning's Tennessean said that out of 117 Division 1-A football teams, UT ranks 105th in scoring offense. Yep, there's only 12 teams who have scored less than Tennessee this year. Their total offense comes in at 94th. This team was supposed to have it all. The only problem was supposed to be a controversial decision on who would play quarterback.

What's the reason for the bottom falling out? Is it coaching? Some would like to have Randy Sanders fired and bring back David Cutcliffe. These are probably the same fans who complained about Cutcliffe and his conservative play-calling ten years ago. Is it discipline? Many would point to all of the off-season problems this team had. Is it the fact that all three losses have been to top-10 teams, and all three teams were better than us? I'm not so sure about that one. In all three games Tennessee had chances to win, they didn't get blown out. That's what was so frustrating about Saturday's game against Alabama. They should have won, but three turnonvers in the red zone killed them.

Where do they go from here? Fulmer is saying all the right things that a coach in his position has to say. They'll keep on fighting, find out what they're made of, blah, blah, blah. What else can he say?

Then there's the Titans. They lost to the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals. The team who had only won once this year. Now they have the same record as the Titans. Watching yesterday's game was alot like watching paint dry, and having someone sit about 5 feet from you throwing small ball bearings and hitting you in the side of the head - boring, annoying and after a while it started to hurt.

On a more positive note, Christmas Eve is just two months from today. Maybe Santa can bring UT a new offensive coordinator this year.....

Friday, October 21, 2005

on-line pumpkin carving.....

Are you ready to carve your pumpkin for halloween? This site will let you practice for the real thing.....

Thursday, October 20, 2005

so i hope you were kidding.....

I don't watch NBA games. I haven't since Jordan retired the first time. Most 48-minute games come down to the last 30 seconds, so why bother watching the whole thing? (And the last 30 seconds usually take 15 minutes because of fouls and timeouts.) If anything interesting happens the first 47 1/2 minutes, you know you can see it on SportCenter. Plus, the game is nothing like it used to be. Greed seems to be in the forefront. Case in point:

Marcus Camby of the Denver Nuggets, whose contract will pay him nearly $50 million over the next five years, told an interviewer before the new dress code (requiring NBA players to wear a suit or sports coat when traveling with his team during the season) was imposed, "I don't see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes."

Let's see, $50 million divided by 5 years is $10 million per year. Including pre-season games and possible playoff games, let's say he plays 100 games in a season. That's $100k per game, or $2,083 per minute, assuming he plays all 48 minutes. Let's assume he pays $1,000 per suit. Add shoes, socks, a shirt, tie and belt, so add another $500. That's $1,500 for an outfit. Buy 6 outfits for $9,000 (that's pay from 4 1/3 minutes of a game) and rotate them. It's that simple.

So Marcus, follow the league rules. Your job is to play a game, so just do it. Buy a few suits at The Men's Warehouse. You'll be glad you did.....I guarantee it.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

here's a quiz.....

Please complete the following simple quiz. Call me with your results before taking your car on the road.

When is the best time to sort your grocery store coupons?

a. Sunday afternoon, at home in the den floor
b. Monday night, on the kitchen table
c. during my break at work
d. while sitting at a traffic light with a long line of people behind me who really need to turn at this light during the lunch rush time

If you answered "d", I've got three words for you:


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

pretty good meeting.....

You always think that "other people" are the ones who go to these kinds of meetings. This kind of thing would never happen in your family, you say to yourself. Then you realize you were only kidding yourself, because you've seen all the symptoms. You're the family member of a Buncaholic.

What better night to start going to meetings than Bunco night? Sara and I made up an excuse to buy school supplies and left just before 7:00, right about the time the bride left to go across the street for a night of "good, clean" fun. (We had to pick up one of our neighbor's children because she was too busy playing Bunco to pick him up. It actually worked out well because the meeting was being held near the place where we picked him up, and we took him with us.)

Buncanon is like alot of other support groups for people whose family members are addicts. Sara and our neighbor's son were a bit apprehensive at first, but they made friends pretty fast. We were only able to stay for 30 minutes because we didn't want to be late and have anyone get suspicious. (The bride is never in a good mood after Bunco. She may love the dice, but it's not a mutual kind of love on the dice's part.....) There were tears shed, but they were cleansing tears. We drove home in complete silence, still taking in our first meeting.

Will we go back to Buncanon? I'm not sure. Our hopes are that if we do return, it will be with the bride and her friends so they can get the help they need. Yeah, I know, it's a long shot. But without hope, what else do we have? What else indeed.....

Monday, October 17, 2005

so this is october.....

Even though it was only about 40 when I left for work this morning, the days lately have been unbelieveably beautiful. I got to spend some time on the golf course Friday. The temperature was in the upper-70's with a little bit of a breeze. Perfect.

I spent most of the day outside Saturday, doing yardwork and washing cars. Again, it was around 80 degrees with a little bit of a breeze. Yesterday was a little cooler, but still wonderful.

October weather in Tennessee is great. I know the bottom will drop out at any time, and we'll all wonder what happened to autumn. But I'm enjoying this while I can.....

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Deflectors are never wrong. When backed into a corner they like to blame someone else for their misfortunes. They'll even blame others for things completely unrelated to the situation at hand, hoping to steer you off the subject. They're the kind of people who love authority but resist responsibility. Let me order you around all day, but I don't want any accountability.

These are the same people who claim that nothing is ever fair. They usually want to make sure they get their fair share, but if they happen to get more than their fair share they usually don't try to even things out for others.

They're also self-promoters. They like to give you details of just how busy their days are. Their boss never has a chance to tell them how proficient they are at their job because they're always telling their boss just how hard they work.

Deflectors are typically color blind, because they only see black and white when it comes to judging others. Odd that areas of grey appear when it's convenient for their own use.

Today's column was brought to you by the letter "R". "R" is for rant.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

uh, yeah, ok.....

I've got nothing today. So I decided to Google my name under images and here's the first entry:

No, I've never been a cross-dresser. The lady on the left is the 1973 Miss Culture winner, Lucena Stapleton-Wade.

Actually, when I input my name into the opposite-gender name generator it comes up with Yolanda, the ballerina. Interesting.....

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

so i've got that going for me.....

I've got a new friend. I've known about him for years, but had never met him until Saturday afternoon. His name? Phillip Fulmer, but I call him Coach.

There we were - Chris, Landon, Meg and I - lined up with all the other Vol fans, waiting for the processional to begin that is known as the Vol Walk. All the coaches and players walk from the practice facility to Neyland Stadium before every home game, and fans line the sidewalk to watch them pass by. Coach Fulmer always leads them out.

So as Coach Fulmer approaches, I stuck my hand out and said, "Let's go get 'em, Coach!" He shook my hand, looked my way and said, "I appreciate you." Yep, he sure did. And I'm pretty sure I was the only one he said that to on Saturday.....

Monday, October 10, 2005

a punch in the gut.....

Yep, that's what it felt like Saturday night. The game was close, still within reach for us. Then we forgot how to cover a punt, and Georgia returned it for a touchdown. Game over. Just like an unexpected punch in the stomach that leaves you both stunned and sick at the same time. Sure, there was alot of time left on the clock, but there was no way we were going to come back. When your lone scoring drive up to that point was for 1 foot, chances are you're not going to be able to come back.

Even at halftime, Chris and I said that to have played as poorly as we did and be down just 10 to nothing, we still had a shot. Then it was 13-0, and we still felt OK. When Wade intercepted Shockley, Neyland stadium went nuts. Clausen scored and we were within reach. But the punt return sealed our doom. The bottom line was that every time we did something well, we committed a penalty. We just didn't play well enough to win.

It was a tough loss, no doubt. I know the locker room had to be a depressing place after the game. Our prayers go out to Jason Allen, that he would be able to recover from the hip injury.

The trip home was going to be long enough after the loss. After we'd been in traffic for about 15 minutes, the bride called to tell me about a plane that had attempted to land and crashed onto I-40. Both lanes were shut down. The normal 3-hour trip took about 4 1/2 hours.

But the company was great all day long. Meg and I got to spend alot of time together, and being with Chris and Landon is always alot of fun. The highlight of Meg's day was getting to touch Eric Ainge's hand. She said he was even cuter up close. If only he were as good at QB as he is cute.....

Friday, October 07, 2005

the wanderer.....

It was a normal Wednesday afternoon. I'm driving this week, so I was taking Gene home. As we turned onto his street we saw a little boy, maybe 2 1/2, and a dog walking along the side of the road towards a somewhat busy street. The little boy was blonde and wearing nothing but a t-shirt and a diaper. Gene said, "That doesn't look right." Gene got out of the car and started talking to the little boy.

He didn't seem to be scared or lost. Gene asked him his name, but he just smiled at him, pointed at the dog and said "Max!" OK, so we knew the dog's name. He took Gene's hand and started walking the opposite way, away from the busy street, so we assumed he lived in one of the houses near Gene. While Gene and the little boy went from house to house, I followed along in my car. A guy in a truck pulled out of his driveway and was heading my way. I flagged him down and asked him if the little boy looked familiar. He said that he had never seen him before. The truck guy, George, then went over and started talking to Gene and the little boy. I drove around the general area to see if anyone was looking for a little boy, asking neighbors who were outside. No luck. I came back and George called the police department.

I deceided to make one more loop around the area. I turned off the street where we found him, took a left onto the busy street. In the driveway of the second house on the right, I saw a VERY pregnant lady and a little girl. The lady was on the phone and she had a panicked look on her face. I rolled my window down and said, "Are you looking for a little boy?" With a very pitiful-sounding voice she said "Yes!" I said, "What was he wearing?" She described his outfit and I said, "We found him, get in the car and I'll take you to him." Holly and her daughter got in the car. She was doing all she could to keep it together and not break down. We got to Sam and Max and she was very relieved, to say the least. She said that she remembered letting the dog out, but she didn't lock the door back. Evidently Sam decided to follow the dog, and they went on a little journey.

As the four of us got back in the car (George loaded Max up in his truck and followed us) I asked Holly when she was due. She said, "Saturday, if not today." Oh, and it's another boy. She thanked me several times as I dropped them off at their house. As I drove away she called her husband to let him know that Sam was OK. I know he had to be relieved.

We've never had that happen with either of our girls, but I can imagine the helpless feeling that this lady had. And if she was thinking ahead to this weekend, she probably had an even more helpless feeling because #3 is coming on Saturday.....if not before.....

PS - Meg and I are heading to Knoxville tomorrow to see UT and Georgia play. CBS is carrying the game, I think it's a national telecast. Look for me on television. Our seats are in the southwest corner of the endzone, about a dozen rows from the field. I'll be wearing orange, you won't be able to miss me.....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

don't mess with her.....

Look up the word "calm" in the dictionary and you'll find a picture of the bride just to the side of the definition. Nothing much bothers her. That's one of the reasons we're together, because pretty much everything bothers me. It's the old "opposites attract" theory in action. Wanna' see her get really mad? Treat one of her daughters bad and it's the old "Jekyl and Hyde" thing.

It happened last year when trying to get Meg's cell phone before Christmas. I watched as she told AT&T Wireless what she thought of their customer service, and her 5'3" frame grew to (I swear!) over 7 feet tall. It happened Tuesday when our pediatrician refused to provide any relief via a prescription for Meg. Ever seen a mother bird go off whenever someone gets near a nest of baby birds? Yeah, something like that.....

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

this just in.....

Lance Armstrong's record-setting seventh Tour de France victory, along with his entire Tour de France legacy, may be tarnished by what could turn out to be one of the greatest sports scandals of all time. Armstrong is being quizzed by French police after three banned substances were found in his South France hotel room while on vacation after winning the 2005 Tour de France. The three substances found were toothpaste, deodorant, and soap, which have been banned by French authorities for more than 75 years. Armstrong's girlfriend, American rocker Sheryl Crowe, is quoted as saying, "We use them every day in America, so we naturally thought they'd be O.K. throughout Europe." Along with these three banned substances, French authorities also physically searched Armstrong and found several other interesting items that they had never seen before, including a backbone.

source - anonymous

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

this is something new for me.....

I saw something on ESPN on Saturday that has altered my dream pattern.

They did a segment on Reggie Bush, running back for USC, and he talked about how he was now seeing plays develop in slow motion. I've heard alot of athletes say that when they're at their best, things around them seem to happen in slow motion even though they're going full speed. Now I'm dreaming in slow-motion.

The past two nights, my dreams have occurred in slow-motion. I'll wake up, think "that's wierd" then go back to sleep. And my dreams resume in slow motion. I can't even remember what the dreams were about.

This is pretty strange. I've had dreams where I was falling, running and flying, but never any in slow-motion. Yep, this is all new to me.....

Monday, October 03, 2005

can't always see what's not there.....

For the first time in over five years since moving to Franklin, I was "late" to work because of traffic. Well, not really late, because I'm always here early, but late for me.

I usually leave home around 6:15 every morning, and I'm usually in my office by 6:40. (There's NEVER any traffic problems that time of the morning between Franklin and Nashville. NEVER!) Since I've been carpooling with another guy in the neighborhood, I've been leaving around 6:10, and this morning was no exception. We were almost 2/3 of the way to work when I started seeing brake lights, so I started slowing down. (The bride would have started applying her brakes before she saw other brake lights; she's psychic that way. The only way I know to put on my brakes when she's in the car is when I hear her gasping for air, like she's about to go scuba diving without an air tank.) Before I knew it, we had a 4-lane parking lot at 6:30 AM on I-65 north. It took between 15 and 20 minutes to travel the next 3 miles. But we never saw a wreck. Never.

I don't like to see people hurt or hurting. I cringe whenever I come upon a wreck that's just happened and see how bad the car looks. But to see no skid marks or anything after going 5 mph for 20 minutes? Made us wonder why there was such a backup.

I needed to be in at my regular time to get some things finished before 7:30, so being "late" caused me to be a little frazzled. Then it hit me. For the past few mornings, I kept having a verse pop up in my head over and over. Maybe this is a stretch, but thinking about this verse and how it can relate to what happened to me this morning was soothing:

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)

Or, as The Message translation says - The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see.

Ever feel like you're losing your handle on things you can't see? I like to feel that I'm in control over myself and situations surrounding me, from work to personal life. But the truth of the matter is that I'm not. That's where faith comes in. Sometimes I feel like I'm making progress in this area, other times it's like I'm losing ground. I just have to keep reminding myself that life's not a sprint, no matter how much I try to make it into one. I have to remember to pace myself.....