Friday, December 21, 2007

merry christmas from the ofit.....

Decided at lunch yesterday to leave for Christmas vacation a day early. I'm glad I did. Looking forward to a lot of things. Get caught up on some sleep. Spend some time with family. Relax.

Think I'll take a little break from blogging for a few days. Maybe the next week or so will provide me with some new stories.

I hope you and those you love have a great Christmas and wonderful New Year.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

favorite ad of the year.....

A very good friend of mine does almost all of the graphic design work for our office. I asked him to create an ad for a Christmas program we help sponsor. He sent me five different options, but when I saw this one I knew it was the one.....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

i said, get on this bike with your grandaddy.....

MWTW-TV (Auburn, ME) - 11/8/07

In November, a 77-year-old man in Jacksonville, Fla., intending to help his daughter by riding his bicycle to Long Branch Elementary School to pick up her 4-year-old son (his grandson), arrived back home with a kid on the bike but did not realize that he had picked up the wrong boy. Said the picked-up kid's frantic mother, "(The two boys) don't even look alike."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

so it's not just the bride who does this.....

My lovely bride likes for me to share my food with her when we dine out. Whenever we go out to eat, the following statement is almost always made: "Ooo, I know! You get that and I'll get this and we'll share!" We even got into an argument about it once on the way to a Kenny Loggins concert. Over time I've gotten used to this request from her.

But I do think this is a problem for men in general. When we get something to eat, we want to eat it, and we want to eat all of it. We don't want to share. You want to eat what I ordered? Then you should order some, too. I'm not keeping you from ordering it. You want a backup policy in case you don't like what you ordered? Don't order it. It's that simple.

I did discover that my lovely bride isn't the only female who does this. Our office staff is going out for our Christmas lunch today to the Cheesecake Factory in Green Hills. Yesterday one of the ladies in the office said, "Ooo, I know! We should all order different kinds of cheesecake and we can all share!" Another lady chimed in with "Oh, great idea! That sounds like fun!"

Fun? How can having someone who's not family taking food off your plate be fun?

I've warned them that anyone who puts a fork near my white chocolate macadamia nut carmel cheesecake could be injured. Might be the first office lunch that a workman's comp claim gets filed.....

Monday, December 17, 2007

and there you have it.....

Ever have a "light bulb" kind of moment? You know, the kind of moment when a light bulb goes off in your head and you realize something, profound or not? I had one of those Thursday night while Christmas shopping with the bride.

The bride and I finally got the opportunity to do a little shopping on our own the other night. She had it mapped out, where we were going, what we were looking for, all that. The bride knows how I like to shop - we're in, we're out, we're done, bada-bing, bada-boom. That's the way it's done. Especially during the Christmas season with all the crowds.

So the bride decides that she needs to go into one of these shops where most dads feel really uncomfortable. I like to think I can handle just about anything, but there are certain articles of girls' clothing that dads want absolutely zero input on the purchases. Once we hit that juncture of the shopping excursion, I went to find a place to sit in the mall.

I didn't stay too long on the first couch. The second place, where the bride suggested I not go in because it was one of those places where I might embarrass her by saying stuff like, "Oh, wow, you'd look hot in that!" or, "Say, you mind trying that one on?" (I won't mention the name of the store because it's a "secret"), was more towards the middle of the mall. There were several leather-like couches and chairs. I found a comfortable chair, right beside the desk where kids signed up to see Santa. To my left, I heard a couple of older men debate the Mitchell Report from earlier in the day. They went from that to NASCAR to Pacman Jones and then back to baseball.

And then it hit me - I'm one conversation like that away from being an old man. Because that's what old men do in the mall. They sit outside the stores while their wife shops and they talk to other old men about anything and everything.

In an effort to recapture my youth, I got up, charged into the store where the bride was shopping, grabbed the skimpiest, most degrading outfit I could find and once I made eye contact with her said, "Hey, sweet thang, I done found me what I want for Christmas!"
OK, that last thing? I didn't really do that, but that would have been funny.....

Friday, December 14, 2007

and the winner is.....

And now, the winners of the 11th Annual Wacky Warning Label Contest:

Grand Prize: A label on a small tractor that warns: "Danger! Avoid Death."

Second place: An iron-on T-shirt transfer that warns: "Do not iron while wearing shirt."

Third place: A baby stroller featuring a small pouch for storage that warns: "Do not put child in bag."

Honorable Mention: A letter opener that says,"Caution: Safety goggles recommended."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

careful what you say.....

Times-Tribune - 10/16/07

In October a police officer in Scranton, Pa., charged Dawn Herb with disorderly conduct after he passed her home and heard her, through an open window, cussing her toilet, which at the time was overflowing and leaking into the kitchen. Herb, and the American Civil Liberties Union, were incredulous.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

a new milestone in our household.....

The first thing I do when I get the Sunday paper (after telling PigDog to move and get out my way 17 times) is I pull the Target ad, the Williamson A.M., and the front page out for the bride to look through. I then read the sports section and comment that there's not enough UT football news in the paper today. Then I pull all the ads and start looking for deals. Not that I'm going to buy anything, I just like to say things like, "Wow, if we needed an electric potato peeler, I'd buy this one and we'd save 75%!"

A couple of weeks ago Toys R Us inserted their annual toy catalog into the Sunday Tennessean. When I saw it I set it aside for Sara. She came down a little later and laid on the couch in the den. I took the catalog to her. When she came in for breakfast, I asked her if she found anything that she wanted from Toys R Us for Christmas. She said, "No, not really. It's just toys in there." Buh-bye childhood, hello teenager.

There is one shred of childhood left this year. The girls have each asked for a doll. A "bla-bla doll". To me they're nothing more than a glorified sock monkey. But the bride says they're sweet. Mmmm-kay.

Guess Santa won't need any help putting toys together this year.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

just stop it.....

I like receiving Christmas cards, both at home and at work. It's nice to know that someone took the time to include me in their mailing list, whether the address is handwritten or they simply slapped on an address label.
But I do have a problem with some of the cards I've been receiving at the office. It's the cards that have glitter, and lots of it, on them. I can't get rid of it. I open up the envelope and out sprays about 3 1/2 pounds of glitter. And I can't get it off my desk. Just when I think it's all gone it reappears. Or, even worse, I'll look in the mirror during the day and realize that the glitter has somehow attached itself to my face. I look like a middle school girl on her way to her first dance.

Send me Christmas cards, I love them. But skip the glitter. Especially if you're a guy who owns his own business. Pick out a glitterless card next year, dude.....

Monday, December 10, 2007

so now i'm a snob.....

I've never considered myself as a snob of any kind. I can almost always get along with anyone or in any situation. Except if the person's a jerk, then it's not being snobbish but rather keen discernment on my part (nod-nod, wink-wink, say no more).
I talked with a friend of mine at church last weekend and told her that we'd bought a plasma TV but hadn't had the chance to set it up yet. She said, "You know, I never thought I'd like a piece of technology like I do that one. I've gotten to where if a show's not broadcast in HD, I'm really disappointed." I laughed when she said this, but now I understand.

The colors are clearer. Like they always say, it's almost like you're watching it live. I watched a football game Saturday evening in which I had no interest. Just because. But the two channels we're most impressed with (after the ESPNs) are the Food Network and HGTV. Yeah, we're nerds.

I wonder how good "Blazing Saddles" would look in HD.....

Friday, December 07, 2007

that would be one big litter box.....

San Francisco Chronicle - 11/12/07

In October, Patty Cooper, 50, accused her landlord (the Central Vermont Community Land Trust) of failing to "accommodate" her disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act when it barred her "service horse" from living in her apartment. Cooper uses a wheelchair because of a brittle-bones disorder and says the miniature horse (100 pounds, 32 inches tall) not only pulls the chair but cheers her up. A trust spokesman said keeping rats out of the hay bales would be difficult enough, but he doubted Cooper's assurance that the horse could be easily housebroken.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

most ridiculous baby product.....


This is a set of fake hands that lays against your newborn to trick her into thinking that it's you. It's almost too creepy for words. And wrong. So very wrong. Even the description is creepy: "Leave a hand with your child!" We'd like to see the studies of these poor babies 10 years from now who found out their loving parents were really disembodied mummy hands…

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

it takes years of training to be this indifferent.....

Yeah. I see you. Standing in line. MY line. Which was EMPTY until you had to go stand in it and mess it all up.

Huh? Yeah, I know nobody's at my window. But I'm not going to ask if you need any help. If I do that, you may approach me. And I don't want that.

Excuse me? Why don't I have my "Next Window" sign up if I'm not going to help anyone? That's just how I roll.

What's that? Why am I just standing here looking at you instead of inviting you over to make a purchase? Because I'm going to lunch in 30 minutes and if I offer to assist you, you might make me late.

You just want to buy Christmas stamps? Three books? I've seen your type before. First you say you want to buy three books of stamps. But then you'll ask me how much it would cost to send a 3 pound box to Jersey. Where does it all end? I can't take that chance.

I'm sorry? You're on your lunch break and you don't have time to waste standing in line when I seem perfectly capable to help you? Then I suggest you get out of my line and stop wasting your time.

Don't make me get my supervisor. Because then you'd have two people ignoring you at once. And trust me, you can't handle that, punk.....

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

come on, comcast.....

Last Thursday night I started painting the bonus room. We've got furniture that will be delievered this Saturday, and I've got a new plasma television just sitting in its box waiting for the room to be painted, so I figured I'd better get started. (At about 12:30 early Saturday morning, I think the paint fumes were getting to me. I could have sworn the plasma television was talking to me, mocking me, saying things like, "Dude, the SEC Championship game is tomorrow afternoon and I'm still in a box????? Be a man! Get me out of this box and let's hang high-def style!" After a quick shake of the head I was OK.) You may recall that I despise painting. I would rather take a beating than paint. But there was a carrot on the end of the stick, so I perservered.

I have a strict policy about the music I listen to between Thanksgiving and Christmas - it can only be Christmas music. A friend gave me a couple of CDs to listen to last week. She asked if I'd listened to them yet and I told her about my Christmas music policy. She looked at me as if I had just told her I was from Jupiter.

So as I began to paint the bonus room I turned the television (stupid analog, antiquated, square, non-plasma thing) on and went to the music section of channels. Channel 401 was "Sounds of the Season", so I landed there. The first song was "O Holy Night" by the Temptations. The lead singer evidently had a 7-octave range and mosied between octaves 6 and 7 during the whole song. My right eardrum burst during the final chorus. Robert Goulet was next. I can't hear or see Robert Goulet now without thinking of Will Ferrell. Then it was Doris Day. But the one that got me was when they played Carol Channing. Carol Channing? Really?

I love to hear the old Christmas songs and those who sang them. Bing Crosby. Dean Martin. Perry Como. But Carol Channing? (At least it wasn't Celine Dion. I swear, I'd rather hear an elephant strain during a bowel movement than to listen to her.)

Considering that my Comcast bill every month is closing in on what I pay for my mortgage, I'm expecting a little better than Carol Channing sings "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".....

Monday, December 03, 2007

almost sweet.....

You can ask the bride. With the exception of about 3 very brief occasions, I was calm throughout most of Saturday's game. When it was over, it was obvious that LSU had done enough to win.

At first I put all the blame on Ainge. But that's not altogether accurate. Sure, his interceptions came at really bad times, especially the one returned for the eventual winning touchdown. But there were two missed field goals. If those had been made, the final drive could have had us setting up for a field goal instead of having to go for the endzone. And except for the opening drive, we didn't run the ball all that effectively. You lose your balance when you have to put the ball in the air most of the time. Hats off to the defense. They rattled some fillings with some of their hits during the game. The young and inexperienced secondary has done a lot of growing up over the course of the season.

So the Sugar Bowl goes to Georgia, and LSU's in the title game. And we play Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl. Just four more weeks.....

Friday, November 30, 2007

cautiously optimistic, expectations aren't too awfully high.....

As I mentioned in a post a week or so ago, I never expected UT to be in the SEC Championship game after losing to both Florida and Alabama by such large margins. But here we are, about 32 hours from kickoff.

On paper, LSU should win by at least two touchdowns. On paper, LSU has all the athletes. On paper, LSU is ranked higher. The thing is, I'm not so sure the Tennessee players understand all that. These guys now believe that they can win regardless of the circumstances. Blow a lead in the second half? No problem, we'll win in overtime. Vandy has a chance to blow you away going into the fourth quarter? No problem, we'll just score 16 points in the last 15 minutes and hope they miss the field goal.

I really want to see Tennessee win this game tomorrow. That's obvious. I don't look for them to win it, but I hope they do. The way things have gone in college football this year, one never knows. Go Vols.....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

i like mine with blueberries.....

KPRC-TV (Houston) - 10/1/07

Ticketed for DWEC (Driving While Eating Cereal): Four people were injured in Houston in October when a driver failed to stop for a red light while eating a bowl of oatmeal and collided with a transit bus. (Three passengers were hurt, in addition to the motorist, and witnesses said oatmeal was found all over the inside of the car, and also inside the bus and on the ground, according to a KPRC-TV report.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ain't rivalries great.....

I love college football rivalries. One of the most heated rivalries is that between Auburn and Alabama.

Last week, Bromberg's Jewelry placed ads in Auburn and Tuscaloosa to poke fun at the other university. I thought they were hilarious, but the ad apparently offended many Auburn fans. Bromberg's Executive Vice President has since issued an apology.

Read them for yourself. Here's the one for Alabama, and here's the one for Auburn. My guess is that the Brombergs are Alabama fans.....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

not smart enough to play the lottery.....

Manchester Evening News - 11/3/07

In November, Britain's new weather-themed Cool Cash lottery game was canceled after one day because too many players failed to understand the rules. Each card had a visible temperature and a temperature to be scratched off, and the purchaser would win if the scratched-off temperature was "lower" than the visible one. Officials said they had received "dozens" of complaints from players who could not understand why, for example, minus-5 is not a lower temperature than minus-6.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Great Thanksgiving weekend! The tribe and I headed to Johnson City on Wednesday and came back home Saturday. Mom's food was wonderful as always. We all had a great time together as a family.

We got back with about 3 minutes to go in the first half of the Tennessee/Kentucky game. At the end of the half, I felt really good. Then the 4th quarter happened and I almost lost my mind. I came up with several new nicknames for John Chavis. Our receivers couldn't catch a cold. Then the 4th overtime happened, and we pulled out the win. Unbelievable. Now it's on to the SEC Championship game against LSU. I don't know if we have a chance, but I sure do hope they can shock everyone and come out on top.

I'm sure not looking forward to getting back to work this morning.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

tell me this ain't fo' shiggity.....

SYDNEY (AFP) - Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday.
Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use "ho ho ho" because it could frighten children and was too close to "ho", a US slang term for prostitute.
"Gimme a break," said Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualising children called Kids Free 2B Kids.

"We are talking about little kids who do not understand that "ho, ho, ho" has any other connotation and nor should they," she told the Telegraph.

"Leave Santa alone."

A local spokesman for the US-based Westaff recruitment firm said it was "misleading" to say the company had banned Santa's traditional greeting and it was being left up to the discretion of the individual Santa himself.

Monday, November 19, 2007

a crying shame.....

Last Thursday we had a birthday in the office. I usually bring in a cake or pie or something. That day, though, the employees wanted something different, so they opted for Krispy Kreme doughnuts. No way I was going to fight them on their fine choice.

I'm one of these people who always buys more stuff than I think I'm going to need. Same thing with Krispy Kremes. I bought 2 dozen for 8 people. But they lasted for 2 days, so it was a good deal.

On Friday, I decided to go back to see if there were any apple cinnamon left after lunch. I've been lucky and I've kept off the weight I lost, so I figured I could handle a doughnut since I'm still running every other day.

I got back there and there's still one left. As I'm eating it, I look into the trash can and someone has thrown one of the apple cinnamon doughnuts away. And there's only one bite taken out of it! Not that I would have eaten a once-bitten doughnut, but what a waste! (No, it wasn't even above the rim.) I felt like the Indian (sorry, Native American) in the pollution ads from the 70's. A tear may have even journeyed down my cheek.

Here's some helpful advice. If you ever happen to work with someone who loves Krispy Kreme doughnuts, don't try to eat one if you're not sure you'll like it. If you don't know what's in it, ask someone. But don't take a bite, say "Eww, yucky!" and then dispose of it. You just wasted it.

Consideration for others, that's all I'm asking for.....

Friday, November 16, 2007

all i want to do is dance.....

I'm not much of a dancer. Dancing requires a certain flow of ones body. I've always been pretty coordiated when it comes to sports, but never with dancing. It just doesn't work the same way for me.

I didn't go to my first dance until I was a senior in high school. Just never was all that interested. But I went to the homecoming dance that year. I told my parents that morning, "Oh, by the way, I'm going to the homecoming dance tonight after the football game." I think it shocked them. But I had a good time.

My freshman year in college, I didn't miss a dance or mixer on campus. I wasn't there for the dancing. I was there because it was the best place to meet girls. And lots of them. Ray was my "wing man", and he was the best kind to have. He had a girlfriend at home, so he wasn't there to do anything but to help me meet girls. No interference, just assistance. It worked out great.

I haven't done much dancing over the past 20-plus years, but there are a few times every year that I do break out and dance. I'm getting ready to dance later this afternoon. Any time I've got a week off, I come through the front door of the house on Friday afternoon and do my "vacation" dance. The neighbors stop by to watch. It's a party. We're thinking about having it catered.

I just hope I don't pull a muscle in all the excitement.....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

warning to all men who might work in the building i work in.....

I went to a different bathroom than I usually frequent yesterday morning. Don't know exactly why, just did it on a whim. Change of scenery kind of thing, I guess.

So I start into the men's room and the door is propped open. I figure it's being cleaned, so I proceed with caution as I enter. I look around, no one's there, so I take care of business.

Upon exiting, I notice a big piece of pink paper on the door with the following words written in magic marker:


There's a women's conference going on in the building I work in, and they sometimes give the ladies extra facilities so the wait won't be quite so long. I knew about the conference, I just forgot that the men's room might not be a men's room this week.

I keep thinking about how I would have reacted if a woman had come in while I was, uh, standing there.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

random things and frustration.....

Ever have someone tell you something very disturbing and you didn't know how to react to it? I had someone tell me yesterday that if she ever got remarried, she wanted her husband to be Joel McHale from Talk Soup. Yeah, he's hilarious. But to be someone's husband? I'm considering having a long talk with this person. I'm very concerned for her well-being.
I had something really funny happen to me (actually around me) at the Y yesterday afternoon, but I can't tell about it because I would sound like an insensitive jerk. Like I've never been accused of that before.
2 more days until a full week of vacation.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

when you don't really care enough to send the very best.....

Los Angeles Times - 10/13/07

Terrye Cheathem, a criminal defense lawyer and adviser to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, has developed a line of greeting cards for a Hallmark-ignored demographic: the recently incarcerated. Among her selections are cards reading "Sorry to hear about your arrest," and "Honestly, I never knew anyone who was arrested before," and, simply, "Not You!" A remorseful correspondent could choose: "I know that I have not visited you. But I still care about you ... When are you getting out, anyway?"

Card sales are slow, according to an October Los Angeles Times story, and Cheathem acknowledges that people might prefer to ignore their connections to criminals.

Monday, November 12, 2007

one down, two to go.....

After Tennessee's lopsided loss to Florida back in September, I read that UT still had a shot at winning the SEC East title and a subsequent chance to play in the SEC Championship game. I assumed that the writer was either mentally unstable or intoxicated.

Saturday's win against Arkansas was huge. No one (including the OFIT) expected UT's defense to corral Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Together they put up around 500 yards against South Carolina the week before. Tennessee's Swiss cheese defense didn't seem to stand a chance. But somehow, Chavis cooked up the right scheme and pretty much shut down the Hogs' offense. UT's offense didn't always look pretty, but they did what they had to do to win and keep it out of reach.

Next up for Tennessee is Vanderbilt. The last time these two met at Neyland, Vandy pulled the upset. Assuming UT isn't looking past Vandy to Kentucky, the Vols should be able to take care of business on Saturday. Then, and only then, will it be time to think about the Wildcats.

Sunday afternoon I watched as the anemic Titan offense tried to generate points. I can't figure out if it's Chow's system or VY's inability to follow up a very good rookie season. Vince is an amazing athlete, but his QB skills have left a lot to be desired this year.

Time for me to focus. Next week is a vacation week. 5 days and counting....

Friday, November 09, 2007

it ain't exactly panama city.....

I love Kellie Pickler. Not because she's the best singer. Not because she's good looking. Kellie Pickler is awesome because she never tries to be someone other than Kellie Pickler. This is one of her quotes from the CMA's Wednesday night:

"It will be my first time going to the Gulf Coast."

Kellie Pickler, on her upcoming USO tour to the Persian Gulf

Thursday, November 08, 2007

yeah, it kind of was his fault.....

KGW-TV, Portland, Oregon - 9/18/07

In September, Matt Wilkinson admitted to KGW-TV of Portland, Ore., that he had been in a coma for three days recently and nearly died after he decided to stick his pet Eastern diamondback rattlesnake into his mouth while drinking with some buddies: "Me, being me, I put his head in my mouth." A doctor told the station that Wilkinson barely made it to the hospital in time because his airway had nearly swollen shut from the venomous bites. Wilkinson said that the incident was "kind of" his "own stupid fault."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

another sign i'm getting old.....

I used to watch people older than me complain about things not being the way they used to be and think, "Come on, old man, just deal with it." Now my girls are watching me and probably thinking the same thing.
We bought an iMac back in the spring. It's cool. It's hip. It's friendly looking. And there are times I'd like to strangle its skinny little neck and watch as it dies a slow, painful death. Then I'd laugh. The kind of maniacal laughter heard only in movies like "The Shining".

I know, I know, Apple is so cool it's hot. Apple is innovative. Apple is so much "better" than Windows. But I can perform the same task on a Windows PC in 1/4th the time it takes me to figure it out on a Mac. And to me, a computer is all about speed. Our 6-month-old Mac seems slower than my almost-3-year-old Dell notebook when it comes to loading simple programs like Excel and Word. Most of all, I'm just much more comfortable with Windows.

I will admit that I like iPhoto. It's the best storage system for digital photos out there. And I like the fact that we don't have a myriad of cords going everywhere behind the computer. Beyond that, give me a Dell notebook any day of the week.

But the girls like it, and the bride is happy with it. And that's what matters at home.

I can feel myself saying "back in my day" any time now.....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

not exactly a mastermind criminal.....

St. Paul Pioneer Press - 10/10/07

Vincent Scheffner, 63, a municipal parking-meter worker in St. Paul, Minn., was under investigation at press time on suspicion of theft after a local credit union reported that he had been regularly depositing, for the last year, enormous amounts of coins into his account.

Monday, November 05, 2007

don't worry, it's only a safety problem.....


As passengers boarded a Vueling Airlines flight from Madrid, Spain, in June, they noticed that 29 of the 32 rows of seats on one side were out of service, but they could hardly have been comforted by the captain's announcement that "(W)e have a safety problem with the door at the front. Don't worry, it's only a safety problem."

No incidents were reported on the flight.

Friday, November 02, 2007

note to the 3 ladies i almost hit this morning.....

Dear Ladies,

I know you're into fitness and I commend you for your efforts. Walking is great exercise. However, please remember that it's still dark outside at 6:05 AM these days. And walking side by side by side in the road may not be your safest option. Our neighborhood has sidewalks. When you see a car coming, please use them. Also, black may not be the best color to wear before sunrise.

A strong, healthy heart does you no good if you're not going to use good common sense. After all, what good is fitness if you're just going to end up as a greasy spot in the road?



Thursday, November 01, 2007

interesting demographics and other information.....

I was able to attend the last day of an economics forum yesterday. One of the presenters was Bryan Sims, CEO of brass|MEDIA, Inc. He's 24. Yeah, I know. Follow this link and read about him. Pretty amazing.

Here's some information he shared with us yesterday that I thought was most interesting:

By 2016:

  • 46% of total US population growth will come from 3 states - California, Texas and Florida

  • Florida will overtake New York as the 3rd largest state

  • Minorities will make up 1/3 of the US population (will they still be considered minorities with these kinds of numbers?)

  • America will have 12-20 million illegal immigrants

  • Hispanics, now 1 in 7, will be 1 in 4

Other stuff:

  • Women make up 58% of undergrad population and this number is rising

  • According to some studies, a woman born after 1980 is likely to take care of her mother longer than her own children (attention Meg and Sara)

  • Baby Boomer parents will start to move in with single parents due to the aging population, increased housing costs, and need for child care, creating 3rd and 4th generation family dynamics

  • In a recent survey, 74% of parents were more concerned about money than drugs and alcohol

  • Last year, over 700,000 people considered Ebay their primary or secondary form of income; over 1.5 million supplemented their income with Ebay

  • In 2004, kids 8-18 donated over $928 million to charities; this same group is very likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause; of this group, 50% are willing to pay 5-10% more

  • recently said, "Members of the My Media Generation can fit up to 44 hours of activities in just one day..." by multitasking. (Ever watch a 12 or 17-year-old watch TV, text message, read Facebook and talk on the phone at the same time? That's actually creating time.)

Not exactly the kind of stuff one would expect to hear at an economics forum. Just imagine what all I could have taken away from it had I been awake the whole time.....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

how to lose 5 pounds in less than 24 hours.....

I started running and eating better a couple of months ago to lose some weight. The first 15 pounds took 7 weeks. The last 5 pounds took a little less than a day.

Meg and I had the opportunity to go to the UT/South Carolina game in Knoxville this past Saturday with Chris and Landon. We decided to eat at a restaurant on The Strip. I won't mention the name of the restaurant. But its name rhymes with Willy's. We all ate dinner and went off to the Vol Walk, did some shopping at the main bookstore, then went into the stadium about 30 minutes before kickoff.

The first half was great. Although the offense never seemed to really get on track, the defense stepped up out. About the second quarter, I knew something wasn't right with my stomach. The first half ended, we were up by 21, and life was good. Except for my stomach.

The second half saw South Carolina score 24 unanswered points. Add that frustration to my stomach. Still a-churning. We tied it up with just a few seconds left in regulation. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. Thankfully the game just lasted 1 overtime and we won.

Going up the steps out of Section O, I knew something wasn't right. We made it into the tunnel and I started sweating. About 20 feet from Gate 9, I stepped on Meg's flip flop and she had to go back and get it. Within 5 seconds I found a graveled area and, uh, "decorated" the area. My first thought was that people would think I'm drunk and got sick. Not true, just for the record.

Thankfully we were spending the night with Mom and Dad, so the drive to their house was only about 90 minutes. I only had to stop once on the way. The next day, Meg acted very mature and drove most of the way home. When I got home, I weighed myself just for fun. Down 5 pounds.

So the secret to fast weight loss? Food poisoning.....

Friday, October 26, 2007

vendor relations.....

I know a lady who said she kept getting phone messages from a salesperson. She ignored them because she had no need for the service the company was selling. One day she answered her phone and it was this salesperson. The salesperson, in an almost harsh tone, said, "I've left you several messages. Why haven't you called me back?" My friend told her that she didn't have a need for the service her company sold. The salesperson said, "Well then why didn't you at least call me back?" My friend explained it this way:

Friend - "Do you get junk mail at home?"

Salesperson - "Sure, all the time."

F - "Do you respond to all of it?"

S - "No, never."

F - "Well, there you go."

S - {gasp} - {click}

I do the same thing. If a possible vendor calls me and I'm not interested, I rarely call them back. There's an ad specialty company out of Memphis that drives me crazy. They call, I tell them nicely that I'm not interested and that I am satisfied with my current supplier. They don't care, they just have to tell me about the latest and greatest giant paperclip that "all the other companies are buying". I've asked to be taken off their call list, they assure me they won't call again, and then in two weeks they're right back at it again. I won't do business with companies like that.

I'm pretty good with remembering numbers, so my caller ID display helps me. I had a company call me 7 times yesterday. They left a message twice. (I was in meetings most of the day, so I checked my call log when I got back in the office.) When I did talk to them late in the day, I politely told the salesman that I wasn't interested. He persisted. Again I told him I wasn't interested and thanked him for calling.

He told me to have a nice day but I don't think he really meant it.....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

the one about zuka from dell.....


Let me start out by saying I'm not very proud of the story you're about to read. But it's good public service because at the end you'll be able to feel better about yourself. How's that? Because you'll know that you're a much better and more mature person and I.
If you've read my blog before, you know that I love University of Tennessee football. With a passion. I love Saturdays in the fall because I know I'll get to see about 10 UT football games on television a year. Plus I get to go to Neyland Stadium about once a year to see the Vols in action. I tend to buy orange things, from shirts to boxers and toothbrushes. I love me some Tennessee football. But sometimes my passion for the game can get out of hand.

I especially love the third Saturday in October. UT and Alabama. The history. The rivalry. All that stuff. Although I was disappointed that CBS had chosen not to air the game at 2:30, part of me was glad it was an 11:30 game so that I wouldn't have to wait as long to see the game.

It started with the onside kick and our front line not being ready. Then the poor kick-off coverage. Then the "Swiss cheese" defense - too many holes. Finally, at the end of the first half, we'd pulled to within 7. I still felt pretty good about our chances in the second half, despite all that had gone wrong up to that point.

I'd brought my notebook computer home for the weekend to work on some job descriptions and the 2008 budget. At the end of the first half I thought of something that needed to be added to the budget so I got my notebook and did about 2 minutes worth of work. The phone rang so I picked up the remote, hit the mute button, stood up from my recliner, put the computer in the recliner, and went searching for the phone. After hanging up, I went into the kitchen and fixed some lunch. I watched the halftime show as I ate.

The second half started and I was still in the kitchen. I cleaned up my dishes and went into the den to continue watching the game in there. The television was still muted so I picked up the remote and hit the mute button.

(Let me pause here to say that I keep remote controls out of my hand during UT football games. For a very good reason. I've been known to "lose my grip" on a remote control or two in my lifetime during a controversial call. So I always keep it in reach, but never in my hand.)

Just after hitting the mute button, Ainge threw the ball to a receiver running a post pattern. The Alabama defensive back made a great play on the ball and intercepted the pass. Now remember, I have a remote in my hand and I'm not supposed to. Without thinking, I slung the remote into the recliner. The cushion of the recliner was supposed to soften the blow and prevent it from going anywhere. The problem was that it didn't hit the cushion. I'd forgotten that I'd left the computer in my chair. Open.

The remote struck the LCD screen. The screen went blank. All the blood drained from my face. I hit key after key. Nothing. I could tell that it was on, but there was no video. I was suddenly sick at my stomach.

After a few minutes of calling myself every imaginable name I could think of, I got on the phone with Dell. Randall was helpful but informed me that I didn't have the "complete care" service. He transferred me to the parts department. That's when I began my very frustrating talk with Zuka. I had a hard time understanding her. I had her repeat about half of everything she said. I've got a pretty good feeling she wasn't sitting at a desk in Austin, Texas.

I spent about 30 minutes of going back and forth with Zuka, but I finally got the new LCD screen ordered. I swapped out the new screen for the old one myself Tuesday night, and the job took about 45 minutes. I could have had Dell send a technician out to do the repair, but the price more than doubled when the tech got involved.

To make matters worse, I orginally told the bride that it was a complete accident and I didn't actually throw the remote out of anger but rather went to pick it up, lost my grip and it hit the screen as I tried to regain a good hold on the remote. Later that night at supper I confessed that I'd actually lost my temper and thrown it. Of course her comment of "Do we need some anger management training" didn't help that much. But to be honest, I'd already beaten myself up more than she or anyone else could have by that point.

I want to say that I've learned my lesson. I really do. And I think I have. Expensive mistakes tend to wake me up.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the remote doesn't work any more either.....