Thursday, May 31, 2007

apparently ozzy's brain isn't completely fried.....

New York Post, Page Six - May 30, 2007

Leave it to Ozzy Osbourne to label a ridiculous pop sensation like Sanjaya Malakar "a hairstyle-challenged idiot." An insider told Page Six Osbourne was confirmed to perform on last week's finale of "American Idol," but canceled at the last minute "when he learned he would have to do a duet with Sanjaya. Ozzie said he didn't want to be onstage with that idiot." Fox ended up pulling Steve Perry* from Aerosmith to do the somewhat embarrassing duet with the artist with the gimmicky hair.

*I think they meant Joe Perry. Steve Perry was the lead singer for Journey.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

cul de sac spirit.....

As Meg and I were getting ready to head out the door to softball practice last night, Sara burst through the door yelling, "Mom, Amanda's really hurt!" The look of panic on Sara's face made me dart out the door.

I got to the street and saw Amanda, Sara's best friend, lying on the curb at the median surrounded by several kids and an adult. My first thought was that she'd hit her head on the pavement. I saw her face and was relieved to see no blood. But the look on her face told me she was in extreme pain. Then I looked down at her left leg. You know how your knee cap is supposed to be on the front of your leg? Hers was about 90 degrees to the left.

After her parents got home they took her to the hospital. About half-way there Amanda's dad had to stop suddenly, and the motion caused her knee cap to pop back into place. The ER doctor said that everything appeared to be alright, but they're going to see an orthopedic doctor later this week to make sure.

The great thing about last night was the reaction of all the other kids on the street. Sara was obviously concerned, but so were the boys. As Amanda was lying on the street, with the bride behind her holding a pillow, three of the boys walked up with some flowers they'd picked for her. While Meg and I were at practice, the kids on the street made a banner and stood at the end of the street for over 2 hours waiting to welcome her home. When they did get home there were about 15-20 kids and adults hanging out in their driveway getting updates.

Who says neighbors don't act neighborly any more.....

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

paperless society, yeah.....

When debit cards first came out, the bride and I needed to develop a system to keep up with our receipts since we would no longer be using checks on a regular basis. (Again, yes, I'm so old that I can remember a time without debit cards. Or ATM cards.) We started out by putting all our receipts in a small woven basket at the end of each day. Now we just put them on a little mirrored tray on our dresser.

But before they get to the mirrored tray, we each had to devise a way to keep up with the receipts during the day. The bride simply put each receipt in her checkbook wallet, but I don't carry a checkbook so I put each receipt in my billfold in the same slot that I keep my debit card. Recently I've had trouble putting receipts in my wallet. Why? Because of marketing. Yep, marketing.

I bought 2 items at K-Mart a few days ago. 2 items. My receipt was just over 18 inches long. For 2 items. (The bride dreads me buying things at K-Mart and Target any more because I complain every time about the long receipts.) What's on the receipt besides the list of items I purchased? Mostly marketing stuff. And it's usually not even good stuff.

Message to K-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes and all you other long-receipt stores - I don't want to take your online survey. I don't want to get my first month of Curves free. And I don't want 20% off my next ink jet cartridge refill. I just want a simple receipt.....

Friday, May 25, 2007


Today the bride and I are the parents of both a high school senior and a seventh grader. Here's a couple of pictures of their first day of school in Franklin - Meg in 5th grade, Sara in kindergarten. Doesn't seem that long ago.
I remember going to parent meetings when Meg was in kindergarten and being the youngest parents in the room. Now that the girls are 12 and almost 17, we’re usually among the older parents in those settings. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’ve been there, so we don’t have that deer-in-the-headlight look that some parents have who’ve yet to experience these things.

I guess summer officially starts today for the girls. Here's a warning to them - first daughter to say "I'm bored" gets kitchen duty for a month.....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

hey, whatta' ya' know.....

After over two hours of filler stuff, Jordin Sparks was crowned the new American Idol. Big shocker. Some of the high/lowlights:

*I enjoyed seeing Taylor Hicks performing "Heaven Knows" and the "A Day in the Life". Nice of AI to "allow" last year's winner on the show. "Heaven knows" they rarely mentioned him during the season.

*Kelly Clarkson's first song was a bit, uh, angry. But she did a great job on "Sgt. Peppers".

*Reuben Studdard sounded great on his duet with Jordin.

*Good to see Carrie Underwood recognized for her sales.

*Bette Midler lost a bunch of money last night. If her Vegas show is anything like her performance last night, people will decide to go see Louie Anderson down the street instead of her.

*And do we need to see Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight on every AI finale? Isn't there anyone more contemporary they could get?

*The Golden Idols? Do us a favor and skip that next year. And please don't give us any updates on Simon the bush baby.

*I'd bet $20 that Steven Tyler called Joe Perry after the show and made fun of him for having to play guitar for Sanjaya.
So season six is over. I'd have to say that this was the most boring of all seasons so far. If not for Melinda Doolittle's talent and Sanjaya's hair, there just wasn't that much to it.....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

ok, i was wrong.....

After Taylor Hicks sang "Do I Make You Proud" at last year's American Idol finale, I thought that was the worst "coronation" song ever. I was wrong.

For years, fans of American Idol have complained about the songs the final two contestants are forced to sing as their last song. Too sappy, too cheesy. So the producers decided after last year's finale that they'd have a song writing competition and choose the best. I'm glad I didn't have to hear the other 20,000 songs that didn't make it.

To be fair, maybe it wasn't so much the song as it was the fit. Blake seemed lost the whole time. Jordin wasn't exactly comfortable with it. The backup singers were flat and off during the entire song. And their mics were up way too loud.

I'll be very surprised if Jordin doesn't win it tonight. Blake opened up strong then made a huge mistake. He sang a slow song. His strength was in songs with alot of energy. Plus, you know the last song will be some sort of anthem, so don't go slow until they make you. By the second song Jordin had the contest wrapped up. The only thing that can save Blake now is if all the 9-13-year-old girls did alot of voting last night.

Watch Blake tonight when Jordin is announced the winner. I guarantee he'll be smiling. Not because he's a nice guy, but because he knows he'll never have to sing "This is My Now" ever again.....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

update on reece.....

I've heard people say that sometimes God doesn't answer their prayers. I believe God always answers our prayers - it's just that sometimes His answer isn't always the one we want.

I told you about Reece, our senior youth pastor, and his problems with immigration. Last week we learned that Reece's request for a new visa had been denied. He can't come back to the states for at least three years. The kids in youth department were told about it on Wednesday night. Steph and Lilly, Reece's wife and daughter, left here on Friday to be with him.

We're all very sad about the outcome. Many of us thought things would be resolved and he'd be back with us within a week or so. But we all know that there's a plan in all of this - a plan for Reece and his family, a plan for the kids in the youth group, a plan for the new youth pastor.

Thanks for loving on our kids, Reece.....

Thursday, May 17, 2007

just took a little thinkin', that's all.....

I'm in one of my favorite places in the world. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for meetings. For the past 10 years or so, whenever I come to Gatlinburg I stay at Riverhouse at the Park. Two reasons - most of the rooms have balconies over the river, and they serve homemade doughnuts for breakfast. I promise you, these doughnuts start melting before you even put them in your mouth. They're that good.

When I got here yesterday, I realized that I didn't have internet connectivity. I tried searching for different wireless networks, but nothing worked. I looked in the hotel information book and it said to call the office for the password to wireless internet. I called and the desk clerk said,
"Oh, those are new books, and they weren't supposed to have that in there. We don't have it set up yet. But you can drive down to the Riverhouse Motor Lodge and use their wireless internet." So I did that. Felt like some kind of pervert, sitting in a hotel parking lot with my notebook computer. But I was able to check my e-mail and decided to come on back.

Then it hit me - go out on the balcony and see if you can connect to anything. It worked. And not only that, the view's a whole lot better.....

PS - I was a little shocked about Melinda Doolittle being sent home last night. She was BY FAR the best this season. The results proved that American Idol is no longer a singing competition - it's a voting competition.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

makes sense, i know people from kentucky.....

Associated Press - 4/21/07

Officials released a prisoner from a state facility after receiving a phony fax that ordered the man be freed, and didn't catch the mistake for nearly two weeks.

Timothy Rouse, 19, is charged with beating an elderly western Kentucky man and was at the Kentucky Correctional & Psychiatric Center in La Grange for a mental evaluation. He was released from that facility on April 6 after officials received the fake court order.

It contained grammatical errors, was not typed on letterhead and was faxed from a local grocery store. The fax falsely claimed that the Kentucky Supreme Court 'demanded' Rouse be released.

Lexington police arrested Rouse at his mother's home Thursday evening.

'It's outrageous that it happened,' Fulton County Attorney Rick Major said. 'I'm just glad nobody got hurt because he's dangerous.'

Police are still investigating who faxed it. Attorney Carlos Moran, who is representing Rouse, declined to comment.

Prison officials did not notice that the fax came from the grocery store because policies in place did not require checking the source of a faxed order, said the LaGrange facility's director, Greg Taylor.

'It's not part of a routine check, but certainly, in hindsight, that would perhaps have caused somebody to ask a question,' he said. He added that misspellings on orders are common.

Monday, May 14, 2007

24 years too soon.....

After having a 4-day weekend, I've figured out that I'll adjust to retirement quite well. Too bad I won't be retiring for another 24 years or so. But when it comes, I'll be ready.

I did things that I see some older men do around the neighborhood. I pressure washed the driveway and patio. I sealed the patio. I planted flowers. I ran errands.

I plan on inching my pants waist up 1/4" every year from here on out.....

Thursday, May 10, 2007

from 2007 to 1976 in less than a measure.....

I've always loved the movie "Back to the Future" because of the time travel aspect. Seeing something in a movie that you know is impossible in real life is part of the fun. But I believe that certain aspects of time travel are actually possible. Happens alot of times to me when I hear music.

A week or so ago I was sitting here at my desk working on a spreadsheet or some other sort of document when I heard the
England Dan & John Ford Coley song I'd Really Love to See You Tonight. I was instantly transported back about 30 years to 7th grade at Blountville Junior High. (Yeah, I'm so old that we didn't have middle schools back then.)

Everybody had a study hall period in 7th grade at Blountville. I'd never had a study hall before so I didn't know what it was supposed to be like. But after talking to others about their study halls over the years, turns out Blountville's was unique.

Picture if you will a room about 20 feet wide and 60-70 feet long, with about 4-5 rows of desks lining the room longways, and a total of about 75 desks. About midway back sat a wooden pedastal about 6' x 8' with a desk and chair sitting on it. Mr. George Akard was the "teacher" for study hall. We thought he had one foot in the grave then; he was probably in his mid 60's but looked much older, especially to 13-year-olds. Just over Mr. Akard's head was a small shelf, and on that shelf sat a radio tuned into a top-40 AM radio station out of Bristol.

So we listened to music while we "studied" (at least, I was studying; I was serious about my academic life. I don't know about all those others who were just goofing off). Music like Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney and Wings, Chicago's If You Leave Me Now, She's Gone by Hall and Oates, Still the One from Orleans, Gary Wright's Dreamweaver, Whatcha' Gonna Do by Pablo Cruise, and Brothers Johnson's Strawberry Letter 23. This was the good music from the 70's, not the disco stuff that they tried to do on American Idol Tuesday night.

See? Time travel actually is possible, if only in your mind.....

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

a 4-year-old that acts up.....imagine that.....

I ran across this yesterday:

DEAR ABBY: I have a 4-year-old who tends to act up from time to time. I have tried "time-outs" and even soft spanking and have taken his privileges away. Nothing seems to work. However, I have found that smashing one of his small toys with a hammer works well. Do you see any danger in this form of punishment? -- YOUNG MOM IN OKLAHOMA

Let's break this thing down*.....

"I have a 4-year-old who tends to act up from time to time." - Not exactly "stop the presses" kind of information here, Okie mom. Show me a 4-year-old who doesn't act up, and I'll show you a mom who gives her child Benadryl every 4-6 hours.

"I have tried "time-outs" and even soft spanking and have taken his privileges away." - Soft spanking? Well there's your problem. He probably thinks you're playing with him. Sheesh! Taking privileges away? When I was growing up, we didn't have any privileges. Well, except for those twice-daily 5-minute breaks from picking green beans in the garden from 6 AM to 7 PM in July and August.

"However, I have found that smashing one of his small toys with a hammer works well." - There's your problem. The toys you're smashing aren't big enough, so you're not making an impact. Take his Teddy Ruxpin, turn it on to start reading a story, then take a sledge hammer and whomp ol' TR up 'side his furry little head. That'll get his attention!

*Note - The OFIT is not a licensed psychiatrist.....

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

softball update

Half-way through the season, and it's the tale of two teams. Meg's team has lost only two games, and Sara's team has won only two games. Different situations completely.

Meg's team has really come a long way. At the first of the season, I wasn't sure how well they'd do. But they've come together and turned into a good little team. Girls that at the first of the season were unsure of themselves are now gaining confidence with each game.

For Sara's team, this is their first year in fast pitch. It's a completely different game from slow pitch. Stealing, signs, passed balls, strategy. Some have figured it out, some are still trying to understand it, and others just nod their heads pretending to understand it. This has been a very big learning experience for both the players and the coaches.

Both the bride and the other coach's wife have the ER phone number for Williamson County Medical Center on speed dial 1 in case either of us coaches go into cardiac arrest during a game.....

Monday, May 07, 2007

unlimited nights and weekends of snobbery is mine for the taking.....

About a month ago our home computer started doing what a computer does when its warranty runs out - it started giving us strange error messages. Things like "insufficient memory", "not authorized for this task" and "Bill Gates for leader of the free world". I spent an evening backing up all of our files. Normal backups usually took me about 30 minutes. That night it took me almost 3 hours. That's when I started shopping for a new computer.

I can get really good corporate discounts through Dell so I started looking at their computers. I kept going back and forth between a desktop and a notebook. Then the bride suggested that I look at a Mac.

I don't have alot of experience with Macs. In fact, I've always sort of poked fun at Mac owners.
A former boss of mine just had to have one for his office several years ago. It was never compatible with anything else in our office. We could usually get it to work with some of our other software, but it generally took alot of extra work. One morning I put a "Fisher Price" sticker on the front of his monitor. He didn't think it was funny.

I e-mailed a friend of mine who's been a Mac enthusiast for 20 years. I told him what we were thinking about buying along with the software we'd need. At the end of the e-mail, I said that I imagined him reading it and saying to himself that I'd "finally seen the light". I called him to talk about it the next day and I asked him if that was what he was thinking as he read the e-mail. He said, "No, what I was really wondering was are you worthy?"

He was joking, of course, but that's pretty much the attitude of diehard Mac fans. And this was proven when I visited a local authorized Mac dealer a day or two later. When I asked questions, they looked at me as if I'd just broken wind and asked to have the offense
gift wrapped. It was like I was bothering them, taking up their time. By then I was sold on a Mac, but I sure as the world wasn't going to buy it from them. I ended up ordering over the phone from Apple. I talked to a guy named Braden who peppered the phone call with plenty of "dude"s, "awesome"s and "ah, no worries"s.

We got the iMac Saturday. Setup was the simplest I've ever experienced. The hardest part of the whole thing was removing our old computer and untangling all its wires. The iMac has one power cord and built-in wireless internet. And compatibility with most programs is no longer an issue. Office:Mac is completely compatible with MS Office.

So now I have the opportunity to look down on non-Mac owners. The problem is that the girls like the Mac so much that I may never get to use it.....

Friday, May 04, 2007

make the scary dude go away, mommy.....

New York Post - 5/3/07

Kindergarten kids in ritzy L.A. suburb Calabasas have been coming home to their parents and talking about the "weird man" who keeps coming to their class to sing "scary" songs on his guitar. The "weird" one turns out to be Bob Dylan, whose grandson (Jakob Dylan's son) attends the school. He's been singing to the kindergarten class just for fun, but the kiddies have no idea they're being serenaded by a musical legend - to them, he's just Weird Guitar Guy.

The bride would agree with the frightened kids.....

Thursday, May 03, 2007

from 6 to 4.....

No big shocker from last night's American Idol results show. Yeah, I hated to see Phil go because he seems like a nice, sincere kind of family guy, but I really didn't see him winning it all anyway. Chris? It was time for him to go. The JT look-alike thing was getting old.

If I were a bettin' man, I'd say Lakisha is next. After that, I'm not really sure. I've thought for a while it would be a Melinda/Jordin finale. But Blake is coming up on the outside. After next week, it's anybody's guess. But I'm rooting for Ms. Doolittle. Brentwood girl, you know.

American Idol tour dates were announced earlier this week. Yeah, I think I'll sit this one out this year. Even if I did have an extreme favorite this season, there's no way I'd want any of my ticket price going toward seeing Sanjaya.....

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

love or something like it.....

A group of Japanese men were hoping to encourage the nation's legions of workaholic husbands to head home early and show their wives some appreciation proclaimed January 31 "Beloved Wives Day".

The group, which calls itself the "Japan Doting Husbands Association", urged men to get home by 8 p.m. and say thanks to their wives for all they do.

"Many men can't put their feelings of gratitude towards their wives into words. Work is number one for them," the non-profit group says on its Web site, "This attitude is putting Japanese marriages under great pressure."

Statistics bear this out. Japan's divorce rate has risen steadily over the years. In 2004, more than one in three marriages ended in divorce.

The group urges men to improve the marital mood through five "golden rules" including going home early, calling wives by their given name and looking them in the eyes when talking. Many Japanese husbands call their wives "you" rather than addressing them by name, or in some cases merely grunt.
The group's homepage includes a column where husbands can write down feelings they are too shy to say out loud.

"I'm sorry I had a car accident. I'm sorry I'm away so much on business trips. I'm sorry I end up sleeping at the office so often," said one from a man in Kanagawa, near to Tokyo.

"Thank you for loving me just the same."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

from boom to poof.....

Did you ever have a kid in your neighborhood who said he had fireworks and he wanted you to come over and help him set them off? The whole way over you're thinking about all the great bottle rockets, roman candles and other big-boom kind of fireworks. And then you get to his house and all he has is sparklers. He never promised anything other than sparklers, but in your mind you were thinking more than just sparklers.

Same thing with the Titans draft over the weekend. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an NFL draft expert. I don't know the ins and outs of draft day. But with all the talent they passed up, I'm a little hesitant to say that I'm thrilled with what we got.

Oh, well, at least I'm not a Dolphins fan.....