Thursday, February 23, 2006

think I'll wash my truck.....

When Nebraska lottery officials asked the 8 men who won last week's Powerball drawing what their plans were now that they were millionaires, one of them said that he was going to wash his truck. Uh-huh. Wash. His. Truck.

Nobody likes a clean car more than I do, just ask the bride. I sometimes drive her crazy on the weekends because I'm trying to wash cars and she can't go anywhere because her van's being washed. I love a clean car, inside and out. But if I've just won $15.5 million, washing my car ain't gonna be too high on my list of things to do.

Maybe I'm not looking at this right. Maybe his truck was REALLY dirty. Or perhaps he was going to buy actual car wash liquid rather than using his wife's Palmolive from under the kitchen sink, and this was going to prevent his truck's clear-coat finish from fading any further.

I thought about it, and here's the top 3 things I'd do if I ever won $15.5 million:
  1. Get out of debt
  2. Make an appointment with a financial planner
  3. Buy that guy in Nebraska a new clean truck

and now for the guys.....

Randy Jackson originally said that he thought a guy would win this year's Idol. Seems to me that the girls actually have the edge after last night.

Here's my recap of last night's performances:

Patrick Hall - Technically, he can sing. I just don't like his attitude. He did pretty well, just picked a bad song. Probably makes it to the top 12.

David Radford - His looks will probably carry him further than his voice. During his performance I kept thinking how wrong the song was for him. Like Tony Bennett singing "Stairway to Heaven". Safe for this round.

Bucky Covington - A train wreck would have sounded better. Off-key the entire song. Bye bye, Bucky.

Will Makar - Although I was in the bonus room working on my train layout, I could hear that the den downstairs was dead silent when he came on. All three girls at my house are in love with Bobby Brady. He was pretty good. Safe for this round.

Sway Penala - I just didn't get it. He sang falsetto the whole time. Trying to sound like Phillip Bailey ain't easy, and Sway proved it. He hit one really high note towards the end, and that saved him for another round.

Kevin Covais - He's got a good voice, but someone in our household can't bear to watch him sing. Sort of like Simon was with Clay a couple of years ago. The female geriatric vote should keep him safe for at least another week.

Chris Daughtry - One of the best, definitely makes it through to the top 12. Good stage presence, strong voice. Book it.

Gedeon McKinney - Very good voice. Needs to tone down the confidence just a wee bit. Sounds like a television evangelist when he talks.

Bobby Bennett - Of all the Barry Manilow songs out there, he promised his grandmother he'd sing "Copa Cabana"??????? Bobby, meet Bucky. Hey, here's an idea! You two should share a cab to the airport, save a little money.

Elliott Yamin - Another one of the best. Great voice, very comfortable on stage. He's in the top 12.
Ace Young - Couldn't believe he picked the song he sang, but he nailed it. He'll make it through to the top 12 with ease.

Taylor Hicks - OK, I'm a little prejudiced because he's my favorite. One of my favorite songs of all time, but he didn't do a perfect job on it. He did bring it together starting with the first chorus. Book him for the final 12.

So here's my prediction for the top 6 guys, in no particular order: Ace Young, Chris Daughtry, Elliott Yamin, Taylor Hicks, Patrick Hall, Gedeon McKinney.

So the numbers go from 24 to 20 tonight.....

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

this one's for the girls.....

The top 12 girls performed on American Idol last night. Since I know everyone is dying to know what I thought, here's my assessment:

Mandisa - Nashville favorite, plus I met her a few years ago when we worked in the same building. Amazing voice, she'll be in the final 12 for sure.

Kellie Pickler - Cute, good voice, has the ability to cry at the drop of a hat. (Reminds me of a young Joan Van Ark, which is just more proof of how old I am.) Good job last night. Will make it to the final 12.

Becky O'Donahue - She did OK. Prettiest of the bunch, and that may be enough to get her into the final 12, but she's not a shoe-in.

Ayla Brown - Good voice, very tall, basketball player. She did OK. Probably survives this week, but doubtful to make it to the final 12.

Paris Bennett - One of my favorites. Sings and performs effortlessly. Book it, she'll end up in the top 5.

Brenna Gethers - Never before have I wanted a contestant to come out and fall down on the stage more than with this girl. She'll hang on for one more week, maybe two weeks, but she won't be in the top 12. Did anyone else see the Sammy Davis Jr./Popeye expression she had on her face a couple of times, or was that just me?

Stevie Scott - Opera girl goes home tomorrow night. They've said it a million times already - song selection is key. She has talent, but it's not right for this show.

Melissa McGhee - The surprise of the night. Sounded much better than I thought she would. She needs to do some Melissa Ethridge material.

Heather Cox - Pretty girl, but could be going home tomorrow night. Average voice at best.

Lisa Tucker - 16 years old, and one of the best. She's a pro. Another book-it, she's in the top 12 for sure.

Kinnick Sky - She makes it one more week, then exits. Very elegant performance, but doesn't have enough to make it to the top 12.

Katherine McPhee - Another one of the best. She's got talent, personality, voice, total package. Top 12.

So my prediction for the 6 girls that make it through (in no particular order) - Melissa, Kellie, Lisa, Paris, Katherine and Mandisa. 4 of these are no-brainers.

Tonight it's the guys' turn. My favorite going in is Taylor Hicks, the grey-headed guy from Alabama. A combination of Billy Joel/Ray Charles/Joe Cocker. Should be good.....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

delayed reaction.....

Growing up in East Tennessee afforded me the priviledge to two things in the winter - hills and snow. (OK, I had hills in the other three seasons, too, just humor me here.) Whenever we got snow, there were hills all around that were great for riding sleds. In Middle Tennessee, we don't get alot of snow. We get more of a wintery-mix or ice.

The past two weekends, the weather forecasters told us we'd get anything from and inch to 5 inches of snow. We got around an inch or less both times. However, this past weekend there was enough to at least cover most of the grass, so I was able to get out the sleds and ride with the girls. There aren't alot of steep hills, but at the end of our cul-de-sac is the 18th fairway. There's a small hill that goes down to the fairway and eventually into a pond. Luckily, no one from our group ended up in the pond.

I took my first ride down the hill in the normal, sitting up fashion. Whee. Not alot of rush there. So I decided to go down the hill standing up on the sled. I grabbed the cord/rope on the front of the sled, kicked off the excess snow/ice from my boots, positioned my feet on the sled and started down the slope. No big deal, just like riding a skateboard. As I approached the part of the ride where the hill leveled off into the fairway, I started to slip. Attempted to right myself, I shifted my weight in the opposite direction that I was falling. But I fell anyway. Right onto the cart path. Oh, did I mention the cart path? The asphalt cart path?

When we're kids, we just fall. We don't worry about how we fall, we already know that we're going to fall, so we just fall. As adults, we do really stupid things like shifting our weight and trying to brace ourselves with our appendages.

I went down onto the cart path with my left elbow hitting first followed by my left hip. It hurt, but not too bad. I got up, surprised that the pain was so much less than I thought it would be. (Remember, this was only my second ride down the hill, so there was no way I was going in just yet.) I stayed out for about an hour more. Still, not alot of pain. No, the pain was going to wait.

That night I felt it a little more, but nothing major. Sunday morning, I felt it a little more. Sunday night, Fred Sanford could have beaten me in the 100-yard dash. A hot tub of water sounded good, but it didn't do too much for my situation. I slept with one of those heat patches around the back of my neck Sunday night.

It's Tuesday morning, and I'm doing a little better. Although there's no bruise on my hip, I'm still feeling it. The bruise on my elbow looks more like a carpet burn. The bride reminded me several times over the weekend that I just can't do these things and expect to bounce right back like I did 20 years ago. I think what she meant to say is that she looks forward to growing old with me, but it didn't come out right.....

Friday, February 17, 2006

yeah, right.....

They say it's good to start your day with a laugh. I'd like to thank the weather guy at WKRN for making the bride and me laugh this morning.

We began our day as we normally do - the alarm clock went off and we turned on the TV. The weather guy came on and said that we should expect 1-3" of snow late tonight and early tomorrow. The bed started to shake a little, then a little more. Then he showed the 7-day outlook, and more snow was predicted. The bed shaking stopped when the laughter was released.

Maybe it'll snow, just maybe. Last week when the prediction was for 3-5" of snow all kinds of things were cancelled in the Nashville area. ACT tests. Softball and baseball sign-ups. Hospital. OK, not hospitals, but practically everything else. And we woke up Saturday morning to less than an inch of snow and clear roads.

For once I'd love to hear a weather person come out and say, "I just don't know." That way they'd have a better chance of being accurate with their forecasting.....

Thursday, February 16, 2006

just an observation.....

You know you're getting old (either that or you're very easy to please) when you get excited about a needle already having the right color of thread in it when you go to sew something because you dread having to rely on your "up-close" eyesight to thread a needle.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

valentine's day review.....

I heard last week that the average consumer was going to spend around $108 for Valentine's Day. I can tell you that the bride and I both missed that mark by around $105 each on each other.

A lack of spending does not equate to a lack of love. I think any more that culture says "the more you spend, the more it shows how much you love them." If that were the case, I'd be broke around our house.

Both daughters got flowers (or a flower) from "friends" yesterday. Being the father of girls, and especially girls who receive attention from stinky ol' boys, can be tough. My mind goes back to times when they were younger and I was met at the door with cheers and chants. Now I'm greeted with "I'm on the Gazelle!" or "I'm going to Amanda's house!"

I know we're not empty-nesters yet, but it's heading that way. The girls' social life is much busier than ours, and that's OK. Because when you're in a nest with someone you love, you sort of like hanging out with them there.....

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

valentine's day gift idea.....

I heard this story recently:

My husband, being unhappy with my mood swings, bought me a mood ring the other day so he would be able to monitor my moods.

We've discovered that when I'm in a good mood, it turns green. And when I'm in a bad mood, it leaves a big, freaking red mark on his forehead.

Maybe next time he'll buy me a diamond.

No diamonds this year, my dear bride, but no mood rings either. Happy Valentine's Day!

PS - On a slightly more romantic note, the bride and I met and had our first date 19 years ago this week.....

Monday, February 13, 2006

snow day.....

Not for me, but for the girls. It looks like someone opened up a salt shaker and and barely dusted the roads, so Williamson County and Franklin City schools are closed.

Weather forecasters all over the city of Nashville were predicting 3"-5" of snow Friday night, with additional accumulations on Saturday. We got less than an inch. Wouldn't it be great to have a job where you didn't have to ever be right or even accurate?

Ken Davis spoke at church yesterday. He grew up in northern Minnesota and lived in the Denver area for years. Ken said that he couldn't believe the way we reacted to snow. Ken said that if a snowflake falls in Gallatin, all of middle Tennessee is shut down. I agree.

Growing up in upper-east Tennessee, we got alot of snow. Yes, we missed school when it snowed. In 1971, when I was in first grade, we only went to school about 3 or 4 days in the month of January because of snow. Our county was prettry spread out, and there were alot of hills that buses had to travel, so snow made traveling by bus an impossibility.

Days like these are the only days I wish I was in school again.....

Friday, February 10, 2006

this could be a good book.....

Yesterday was one of those days where I just wanted to get away from the office at lunch. I hadn't had a bad day, I simply needed a change of scenery. Although it was about 32 and breezy, I decided to brave the cold and walk downtown for a bite to eat and to spend some time in the downtown library. I've spent quite a bit of time there lately during my lunch, sifting through model train scenery books and taking notes. (So far it's all just head knowledge; I've yet to act on a single idea.)

In the new books section, I found a new book on model railroad scenery, realized it was just a new edition of a book I'd already scanned, and put it back in the rack. The new book section in non-fiction is right next to the Religion section. I decided to look for a Donald Miller book. I've never read any of his writings, but I've heard good things. I found one called "Searching for God Knows What" and sat down to read the first chapter.

You ever have one of those "wow" moments when you're reading something? It's not new to you, but it's so profound. I had one of these moments while reading a small portion of this book.

The author talks about going to a Christian writer's conference in Memphis early in his writing career. He was so excited, felt that he had at least two good books in him (one involved a machete-weilding nun), and he just knew this was going to be a life-altering weekend. Miller hadn't bothered to find out that the conference was for non-fiction writers. His ideas were more along the lines of fiction. In fact, while talking one-on-one with an instructor during lunch, he asked her what the difference was between fiction and non-fiction. The instructors said there were basically two formulas to writing books, and that they would learn them over the next two days. As he listened to both formulas, he realized neither of his books would fit into the formulas.

Some of the ladies at the conference were doing devotional books. One was for reading while sipping tea; another was for reading while drinking coffee. When we got home after the conference, he thought about writing a devotional. Using one of the formulas from the conference, he began his process. After several attempts, he gave up. He realized something - you can't get to know God or about God from a formula. Salvation is basically God's invitation to get to know Him.

Miller said that when he wanted to talk to his best friend, all he does is call him. He didn't have to light candles, start some incantations and sing a song. Same thing with God. Sometimes religions put so much into the production of "church" and the things surrounding church that the simplicity of it all is lost in the shuffle. When we decide to have a relationship with God, He comes to where we are, no matter where that might be, and lets us get to know Him.

And that's just the first chapter. Looking forward to the rest of the book.....

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I've heard of people tipping over outhouses, but.....

Teen Using Restroom Falls Out Bus Window

ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York City teenager fell out the window of a moving bus while using the restroom Tuesday and landed on the New York State Thruway.

State police said Jose Gonzales, 17, lost his balance when the chartered bus swerved to change lanes. It was unclear how fast the bus was going.

Gonzales was taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment. Police said he'll recover. Gonzales fell onto the shoulder of the thruway near Exit 23 southbound.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

makes you think.....

The bride and I attended a funeral for a friend yesterday. We weren't all that close, but we got to know each other a little better in Sunday school over the past 6 months or so when we found out that we had a mutual friend. We usually sat together in class.

Steve was just 52. Two months ago, life was good. About six weeks ago his doctor told him that he had kidney cancer. Sunday morning, around 2:40 a.m., he was gone. The members of our Sunday school class were honorary pall bearers.

He left behind two sons - one 24 and married, the other a senior at Centennial and just 18. The youngest is having a hard time. There were so many kids from school at the funeral, and even more at the visitation the night before. The coming weeks and months will be tough for him.

I learned alot about Steve yesterday. I found out how many people loved and respected him. One of his neighbors spoke and said that he asked himself if Steve was a successful man. He said that according to John Maxwell's difinition of sucess, Steve was very successful. Maxwell said that success is when those you're closest to in life love and respect you. In other words, they know the real you and love you anyway.

Maybe this sounds trite, but I looked at the bride and the girls a little differently last night.....

Monday, February 06, 2006

not-so-super bowl.....

I once had a root canal that was more exciting than last night's Super Bowl.

Yeah, yeah, the Steelers were a team of destiny; no other 6th-seeded team had ever made it to the Super Bowl; and Jerome Bettis is going home. I was sick of all of it before it even started. And the Seahawks blew it more than the Steelers won it. Sorry if you're a Pittsburgh fan, but it's true. (And I'm not a Seahawks fan.) However, it was good to see Cowher win a Super Bowl. He seems like a great family kind of guy.

Here's what stood out for me:

The officiating was horrendous. This was supposed to be an all-star crew? Stevie Wonder should have stayed on as the head ref after his pre-game performance.

The commercials. Best one of the evening was the Budweiser commercial with the streaking sheep. Next best was Ameriquest with the lady getting up to go to the bathroom on a plane. Worst one? Hummer. Pretty stupid.

The Seahawks' tight end. If he catches the 4 or 5 he dropped, Seattle wins.

The defenses. Seattle was much better than I expected, Pittsburgh was very overrated. For all of their hype, Porter and Polamalu were non-factors.

Pre-game MVP ceremony. Seeing the former MVP's before the game brought back a flood of memories for me. Sorry to sound like an old fart, but those guys were true legends. They played when it was still just a game.

I'd also like to thank the bride for the lovely Super Bowl meal and snacks, without which I would be able to button my pants this morning.....

Friday, February 03, 2006

super bowl time, and I don't care.....

It's been a long time since I've had any real interest in the outcome of a Super Bowl. I guess the last one was when the Titans played the Rams back in 2000. Great game, one that we could have won.

For me to really get into a Super Bowl, I've got to care - which usually means that "my team" has to be in it. Of course, had the Colts made it, I would have cared. I'd like to see Peyton win one before he retires.

When I was younger, I had a few different favorite teams. First it was the Packers because Dad liked the Packers. My first football uniform was a Green Bay uniform. Then I later became a Steelers fan, mainly because they won alot. I remember getting a Steelers winter coat one year after alot of begging. Some of the neighbors made fun of it, and I wouldn't wear it any more. Soon after that, I succumbed to peer pressure and became a Cowboys fan. I remained a Cowboys fan until the Titans came to town. And while this past year was not alot of fun to endure, I'll stay a Titans fan.

I was glad to see someone other than the Patriots in the Super Bowl. And I will probably watch the game Sunday night. I just hope it's competitive and exciting. If it gets to be one of those games where Rothlisberger turns and hands off to Bettis 45 times, it will be anything but exciting. And I'll end up watching Comedy Central or TV Land.....

Thursday, February 02, 2006

things can only go up from here.....

As I was about to walk out of the mens' room just moments ago, I could feel something cold against the inside of my left thigh. I looked down and it was as if I had no control over my bodily functions. Apparently I turned the water on too fast and splashed more than just the cuffs on my shirt. It also got my pants. I don't think I could have done the actual deed and made it look any more realistic. I had to spend a few extra minutes in there as I attempted to dry my dress khakis with paper towels.

Yep, it's gonna' be one of those days.....

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

staying on topic.....

I thought about ExxonMobil's press release on the way home yesterday. Their excuse for their huge profit in 2005 was this - our bottom line was enormous because we're enormous. Sounds like ExxonMobil hired a former Clinton administration speech writer.

Saying this is sort of like a fat person saying their butt is gigantic only because they weigh so much.....