Monday, April 30, 2007

main street festival.....

We spent a little time downtown yesterday at Franklin's Main Street Festival. Here's a few pictures.....

Friday, April 27, 2007

immigration laws didn't matter to me until now.....

I'm an American citizen by birth. So are both the bride and daughters 1 and 2. We were all born and raised in Tennessee, and we've never lived anywhere else. We're all proud to be both Tennesseans and Americans.

I've never thought that much about immigration laws. And I still don't know that much about them. I'm all for people from other countries wanting to better themselves here. I may have made C's in high school history class, but I believe that's how our country got started.

But there are those who seek to destroy the way of life that we enjoy so much. Human beings (and I use that term loosely) who come to this country to tear down America rather than to better themselves. Several of those were involved in the 911 attacks over five years ago. Because of people like this, we've tightened our immigration laws. And I believe that does need to happen. So I've never given much thought to someone who was forced to leave the country and not allowed to come back for a specific amount of time. Until now.

Our senior youth pastor at church, one of the most genuine people I've ever met in my life, became an illegal alien on November 15, 2006. His immigration attorney got some dates mixed up; had he simply flown to Canada on November 14 and come right back, he could have had his visa renewed for another three years and this would have never been a problem. But his attorney told him he had another week to take care of it. And it's not like he put off having his visa renewed. It's something that had been going on for about six months. Yet his attorney assured him all was under control and not to worry.

The church appealed on Reece's behalf. He orignally came to America from Australia to be on staff with his older brother, so he entered the country on a religious visa. Makes sense, right? He's going to work on staff at a church so he should be here on a religious visa. However, that's a big part of the problem. Seems that the suicide pilots from 911 were also here on religious visas, as are alot of others who mean harm to America. Turns out that over one-third of the religious visas are fraudulent.

Someone on church staff received a letter from the immigration department two weeks ago. The appeal has been denied. And there's no appealing the appeal. He has to leave the country. And there's a three-year ban on coming back to America. Which means he leaves behind the church, several hundred students who love him and whom he loves right back, along with many other friends. Oh, and two other people - his wife and 2-year-old daughter. Steph, his wife, is here on a working visa, and had it renewed in Melborne on her way back to Franklin in January. Took all of 2 minutes to do it. Lilly has dual citizenship since she was born here.

He does have one more chance. On the 29th Reece flies back to Australia for a May 2nd appointment in Melborne with the consulate at the American embassy. He's asking for two things - a new visa and that the three-year ban be removed so that he can return to his family and job immediately. The decision for the visa can take place in Melborne, but the decision for lifting the three-year ban will come from Bangkok, Thailand.

I've been in two very emotional meetings over the past couple of weeks - one with youth leaders and the other with the youth group. People are praying that he'll be allowed to come back. Regardless of the outcome, we know that God's plans are to prosper Reece, not to harm him, and that these plans will give Reece hope and a future.

But we're just people who love him, and selfishly we want him back here with us.....

Thursday, April 26, 2007

yeah, but we worked really hard.....

Tampa Tribune/New York Times, 3/24/07

The three Kentucky lawyers who won $200 million for their clients in a 2001 settlement with the manufacturer of the diet drug phen-fen, and whose contract called for a maximum of one-third commission (about $67 million) actually took $59 million more than that, according to clients who testified before a federal grand jury in March, which is expected to indict the lawyers soon for fraud, according to a New York Times dispatch. The lawyers had explained that they were taking an extra $20 million because they had decided to create a "charity" and were simply entitled to the other $39 million because they had to work extra hard. The Kentucky bar association has suspended the lawyers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

best commercial evah.....

It's just like, it's just like a mini-mall.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

a case of mistaken identity.....

I'm always kidding the bride about trying to get in other vans that look just like hers. (She comes by this kind of thing naturally. A close relative of hers {cough} her mother {cough} likes to leave her purse on top of her car while she drives.) There are several vans in the Nashville area the same color as her van, so it's an easy thing to do. That's why what happened to me Sunday morning was so amusing to her:

Between church and class Sunday morning, I went to Krispy Kreme to pick up some doughnuts for the class that I help teach. I parked and went in, bought 3 dozen doughnuts and headed back out to the van. I hit the remote to unlock the van and heard the "beep-beep" telling me that it was now unlocked. Just as I got to the front of the van, I noticed three very large scrapes on the passenger side front bumper. I didn't show it on the outside, but inside I was livid. "I just spent yesterday morning detailing this thing, and now somebody hit our van without leaving a note! This had to happen in the church parking lot! I can't believe this!!!!!"

Still fuming, I opened the passenger door and put the doughnuts in the seat. But something wasn't right. I looked inside and said to myself, "Wait, we don't have leather seats in our van....." Embarrassed, I quickly retrieved the boxes from the wrong van and put them in the correct vehicle.

I didn't look back as I drove out of the parking lot.....

Monday, April 23, 2007

19 years ago and not acting our age.....

First of all, happy anniversary to my bride. 19 years ago she gave in a married me. Many thanks for the special breakfast of eggs, bacon, grits and toast this morning. It was excellent! We'll celebrate tonight at the ballpark. Yeah, that's right. We know how to live.

Friday night we went to the Kenny Loggins concert at The Wildhorse. It was, uh, different that we'd thought it would be. We had dinner in Cool Springs then headed to downtown Nashville. The doors were supposed to open at 6, and the concert was supposed to start at 7. Yeah, right.

We got to 2nd Avenue around 6:30 and there were two very long lines. One for general admission and one for reserved and VIP tickets. After standing in line for almost an hour, our general admission line started moving. When we made it inside to get out tickets, the VIP line still hadn't moved. And the people there were ticked. Several were demanding their money back.

We got inside and the opening act, Dillon Dixon, had already started. And even though hundreds of people were still in line outside, the place seemed pretty crowded already. There weren't alot of places to even stand and get a decent view of the stage. Why was it so crowded? For some unknown reason, The Wildhorse had booked at least four private parties. On the same night as a major concert. Nice. But I kept telling myself that the tickets were free.

We got to hear another band, King Billy, and they were very good. I wouldn't be surprised to see them with a major label in the near future.

After standing around with a bad view, we decided to act like we belonged to one of the parties and headed for a section with a much better view. After about 30 minutes, a couple got up from their seats on the rail and we hopped into them. We were about 20 feet from the stage on the second level. Good seats and no one bothered us. Until about 90 minutes before Kenny Loggins took the stage. One of the Wildhorse employees told those of us in the section that if we weren't a part of the private party that we'd have to go. He said that the person who was sponsoring the private party noticed that several uninvited guests were eating their food. I told the guy that we hadn't had any food and asked if we could just stay since it seemed that the private party was breaking up. He laughed but still said we had to leave, and that he'd open it up for everyone in 30 minutes. We left the area. Five minutes later he opened it up again, but we couldn't get our seats back. We ended up behind the people with seats on the rail. The bride sat for part of the time, but I chose to stand so I could see.

Kenny Loggins came on stage just after 10 and opened with "Whenever I Call You Friend." He told stories before most of his songs. His voice is still as clear now as it was 30 years ago. But he did what alot of artists do when they've got 3 decades worth of music that they could do - he did his new stuff. And it's not like it was bad or anything. It's just that if most everyone wanted to hear his hits. When he played a new song, the audience responded with something akin to a polite "golf clap". But when he did a popular song, the place went nuts. My suggestion is that he do a "just the hits" tour. He could play for 2 hours solid and everyone would love it. The best audience response of the night was for "Celebrate Me Home" and the encore of "Your Mama Don't Dance", "Danger Zone" and "Footloose."

There was one lady who especially loved everything Kenny Loggins played. Heard the term 3 sheets to the wind? Try 7. She was dancing by herself the whole night. Even after falling in the lap of a nearby gentleman, she popped back up like it never happened. And she screamed "FOOTLOOSE!!!! SING FOOTLOOSE!!!!" after every song.

We stayed until around 11:45 and made it home by 12:20. I can't remember the last time we were out that late. 2nd Avenue was full of plenty of 20-somethings, several who probably wondered why "old people" like us were out that late. We spent the rest of the weekend recovering from our late night out.....

Friday, April 20, 2007

this guy's in hot water, sort of.....

WISN-TV, Milwaukee - 1/28/07

In January, a news crew for the Milwaukee station WDJT-TV, which was reporting a story on the danger of thin ice covering Big Muskego Lake, watched as their high-tech van's driver mistakenly drove onto the lake and broke through the ice, ruining the expensive vehicle.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

idol review from last night.....

Season 6 has been a big disappointment for me thus far. And it's not just the OFIT who's lost interest. Ratings are down from Season 5. Let's face it - when you're a singing competition and your biggest "hook" is a kid with a weak voice who does funny things with his hair, you've got a problem.

Here's my take on last night:

Phil - Best vocal performance of the season, by far. He seemed natural and right at home with this song. Might have saved him for one more week. I'd rank him #3 for the night.

Jordin - Excellent performance. 1a for the night. But, yo', dawg, check it out - if Randy mentions that you're 17-years-old one more time, I'm going to lose my mind. I've contemplated doing myself bodily harm by jumping out of my bedroom window if he says it again. Sure, our bedroom is on the first floor, but I could skin my knee and get a bad infection. Don't try me, I'll do it!

Sanjaya - First, I'm no country music expert, but I can tell you that "Something to Talk About" isn't a country song. Second, your 15 minutes are up. The joke's over. You're probably a great kid, but you need to go on home. Without question, the worst performance of the night. I'm predicting bottom 3 for tonight.

Lakisha - You might have related to the song, but you didn't show it. Of the 7 contestants last night, I'd have to rank you 5th. Bottom 3 tonight.

Chris - Dude, did you actually ask Simon if he knew that "nasally" was a form of singing? Maybe for Ernest T. Bass, but not for marketable entertainers. You sang the song "Mayberry" tonight. One more week like this and that's where you'll be headed. Sorry, Sara, he's in the bottom 3 tonight. I'd say he was #6.

Melinda - 1b for the night. You proved tonight that if you can really sing, genre doesn't matter. The bride and I both thought you showed a confidence that had been lacking. You even looked younger with the hair and outfit.

Blake - To me it sounded like Coldplay doing a Tim McGraw song. I'm not saying that's bad or anything. I think if you did that song in the studio it could be cleaned up and made to sound great. But middle of the pack tonight at #4.

Hopefully the voters did the right thing and voted for the singers and not the personality last night. Although I'll have to admit that it would be worth Sanjaya winning it all just to see the look on Simon's face at the finale.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

patio furniture and kenny loggins.....

Both softball games were rained out Saturday, so the bride and I went out shopping for patio furniture. She's been saying we needed new stuff for months, so I told her that's what I'd get her for our anniversary. (Personally, I think the old furniture could have made it a few more years. So what if the table is rusted through? You can't put a plate over that and position it so that it doesn't fall through the rusted part?)

We'd already found what we wanted but decided to go to a few other places to see if anyone had any better deals. They didn't. Unless by "better deals" you're thinking "costs 3-4 times more than what you were originally willing to pay."

I'd had the radio tuned to
97.1 listening to stuff like the Stones and Bob Seger. They'd been saying all week that they would be giving away tickets to see Kenny Loggins at The Wildhorse this coming Friday night. As we're pulling in the parking lot of Home Depot in Franklin, the DJ said he'd give a pair of tickets to caller 9. I quickly parked, fumbled with my phone and for some reason I kept dialing the wrong number. Finally, on try #4, I dialed the correct number. The phone rang and a voice said, "Hi, you're caller #9, who's this?" I said something, don't really remember what, and he asked me to hold so he could get all my information.

By this time the bride was already out of the car and headed inside. I looked at her and mouthed the words "I won", to which she looked back and responded with a "nuh-uh" (remember, she's a fancy-pants private school graduate). She went on in and I followed a few minutes later. I told her that we now have an anniversary date, it's just going to be a few days early. I'm not sure she heard me. She was too busy making sure I bought the patio furniture.

I bought "Keep The Fire" and "Kenny Loggins Alive" in high school, and I remember playing
those albums to death. There are so many songs that he's done over the years, some you remember right off and others you think "oh, yeah, he did do that." Stuff like "Danger Zone" from Top Gun, "Footloose", "I'm Alright" from Caddyshack, and "This Is It." And stuff from his Loggins & Messina days like "Whenever I Call You Friend", "Your Mama Don't Dance" and "Danny's Song." He even wrote one of my favorite songs, "What a Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers. My favorite Kenny Loggins song is "Celebrate Me Home."

The bride and I don't normally get to go to many concerts, but this will make 3 in as many months. And this one costs alot less than the other two, so it may end up being my favorite.....

Monday, April 16, 2007

so i'm half-way there.....

I noticed something Friday night when the bride and I went to Sam's. I've become an old man at the age of 42.

I'd spent the past 2 days in the office, not even getting out of the building for lunch, and the past couple of nights cooped up at home. I told the bride before coming home from the office that I wanted to get out Friday night. Even if it was just going to the mall, I needed to do something, anything, but sit in the house. We had planned to go to the mall but we got a later start than anticipated, so we ended up just going to Sam's to get a few things.

As I walked around Sam's Club, following the bride a couple of steps behind both her and the shopping cart, I looked up and saw a man in his 60's doing the same thing. About 30 seconds later, I saw another man in his 70's following a few paces behind his wife. A minute later, same thing. I said to myself, "Dude, you're one of them!"

I told the bride that I was an old man and why I had reached this conclusion. After looking around, she agreed with me.

We left soon after this because it was almost 8:30 and getting close to my bedtime.....

Friday, April 13, 2007

the one about the hippie dippie veterinarian.....

KOVR-TV, Sacramento (3/1/07)

Sacramento, Calif., veterinarian Bert Brooks told a KOVR-TV reporter in February that he had a record of curing pets by having them stare at a computer monitor showing psychedelic images ("harmonic translation"). "I didn't learn this in vet school," he told the reporter, but "(t)here's a lot going on in the universe that we don't understand today."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

it just took 2 years, but he finally said the right thing at the right time.....

From today's Tennessean:

Reached by The Tennessean on Tuesday night, Jones calmly and politely said he wasn't prepared to talk about the suspension, news of which he received in a four-page letter from Goodell.

"I don't really have anything to say right now,'' Jones said. "I just want to make sure I say the right things and not anything out of frustration. I am just going to chill out a few days.''
Well, Pac, now you've got a whole year to chill. But can you do it? Hope you can, even if you never play another down of football.....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

mulch and memories.....

I put out 3 truck loads of mulch yesterday. It was cool at first, but the sun came out and warmed things up as the day went along. As I got my first load of mulch yesterday morning, I thought about the first time the bride and I got mulch at our first home.

It was 17 years ago, and the bride was about 6 months into her first pregnancy. We'd found out about this place about 90 miles from our house that would give you all the mulch you could fit into your truck for $3. It was in a little town called Bear Spring at a lumber mill. The drive up there was pretty uneventful. We got our mulch, piled as high as it would go, and started the drive back home. I couldn't see out the back of my Mazda pickup. We had to take back roads all the way home, hoping we wouldn't be pulled over for having mulch fly out of the truck. It took us so long to get back that the bride's mom was convinced she'd gone into labor and we were at a hospital somewhere. All of that to save a little money.

Not having much disposable income can make you do strange things. But it can also build some nice memories.....

Monday, April 09, 2007

i thought he was dead.....

I had "Sports Center" on Sunday morning as I was cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast. Sara was there with me drinking her Instant Breakfast.

They showed a highlight from the Rangers game, Sammy Sosa's 600th home run. (600th career home run, not for the game. That would be like a record or something.) Sara said, "Sammy Sosa? I thought he was dead???"

Congratulations on #600, Sammy. Oh, and on that not being dead thing, too.....

Saturday, April 07, 2007

easter weekend, cold and snow.....

More snow flurries this morning. It's just past noon and it's 36 degrees. Both girls' softball games were cancelled for today. Thank goodness. It's usually colder for the coaches than it is for the players.

You know how I've been needing less femaleness around the house? Not happening. Sara had two friends spend the night last night. They played with the American Idol game on PS2 until around 10:30 last night.

All the estrogen is getting to me. I hesitate to say this, but here goes - I actually watched a Nora Roberts movie with the bride last night. And it was pretty good. {shudder}

And the bride wonders why I've started watching Ultimate Fighting on television lately.....

Friday, April 06, 2007

let's see, april 6....yep, snow.....

It started snowing about an hour ago here in Franklin. Nothing major, just flurries.

Made me think about 20 years ago this weekend. I took the bride up to meet the parents. We got 25 inches of snow that weekend. The bride had never seen that much snow in her life.

Bundle up, gonna' be a cold one tonight.....

Thursday, April 05, 2007

just some stuff.....

Just some various comments and things going on:

Congratulations to the
Lady Vols on their 7th national title! We only got to see the last 10 minutes of the second half. Both ESPN and ESPN2 were out in our neighborhood for some odd reason. I tried calling Comcast twice but couldn't get through. I've got a feeling there were a bunch of upset Vol fans Tuesday night.

I've got a 4-day weekend coming up. I had planned on mulching tomorrow, but since there's a slight chance of snow tomorrow I'm going to wait and do it on Monday. The high was 84 here on Tuesday. We're looking at mid-40's for tomorrow. Yeah.

Two softball games this weekend. Should be nice and brisk for the 10:30 AM game.

If you're in the Franklin area this weekend and you're looking for an Easter service to attend, try The People's Church. We've got 4 services - Saturday afternoon at 5:30, and Sunday morning at 7:30, 9:15 and 11:00.

The older you get, the more the "little things" in life mean to you. Take last night. I slept all the way through the night without having to get up to go to the bathroom. Uh-huh. That's right. In your face.

Think I'll end with that one.....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

joe dirt lives.....

My favorite redneck, white trash movie of all time is Joe Dirt. I've probably watched it at least 15-20 times. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw Joe Dirt's car yesterday when coming back from lunch. Then I looked and saw a man who claimed to be Joe Dirt's uncle and asked him to pose for a picture with the car. I asked him where Joe was, but he wouldn't say. He really wasn't much of a talker, he just kept saying things like, "Uhh, no, that's a space peanut", "Life's a garden, dig it" and "I got the poo on me!"

Life is made up of special moments such as this.....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


All teams, regardless of the sport, start out with unblemished records. No wins, no losses. A clean slate. Those who win their first game can lay claim to the fact that they're undefeated. One win, no losses. Undefeated.

Our first fast pitch softball game was last night, and we won 12-0. The coaches were a little nervous going into the game. Did we work on the right things? Could we hit in fast pitch? Could our pitcher throw strikes? Would the girls pay attention to the steal sign? Would they get a lead off the base?

Evidently they were paying attention because we did a lot of running on the base pads last night. We moved on almost every ball the catcher didn't catch cleanly. And we stole a few bases.

And the defense was solid. Not only did our pitcher NOT walk anyone, the infield made some huge plays to preserve the shut out. Sara had 4 put-outs playing second, reached base on a fielders choice and a walk, and scored 2 runs. Even slid into home for her first run.

Here's a picture of Sara from about 5 years ago when she started playing softball in the GSAF league. I hope to get more current ones as the season progresses.....

Monday, April 02, 2007

so, about the prom.....

We waited. Meg stayed in her room, refusing to come out. She kept saying she was too nervous and that she decided she wasn't going to the prom. We pleaded with her. We tried everything to coax her out of her room. All to no avail. She simply wouldn't come out of her room. And just like that, all the fun in planning her first prom was out the window. Gone. All the dress and accessory shopping. For no reason. Yeah, right.....

Editorial note - truth be told, there's been an overabundance of estrogen in the house the past few days. I think I need a guys night out. Possibly even a night at a monster truck rally, and I don't even like monster truck rallies. I just need to be surrounded by a little more testosterone-related kinds of things. During the day Saturday there were times I had to just go outside, spit and scratch myself to keep all the femaleness at bay.

The 2007 Centennial High School prom was a success. So much so that I was told by a student that kids from the Brentwood Academy prom (going on at the same time in the same location) were bored and ended up crashing CHS's prom.

Between the two houses, I ended up taking 168 pictures and Sara took another 70 or so. Yeah, we went a little overboard. But almost all of them turned out well. Rather than post all 238, here's a few.....