Friday, August 29, 2008

real tough guy.....

Salt Lake Tribune - 7/1/08

A police task force in Orem, Utah, arrested a 21-year-old gang member in June, catching him riding a tricycle that he had just stolen from a little girl.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

firsts and lasts.....

The bride and I went to open house at Freedom Middle School Tuesday night. I was sort of dreading this because of the format. They usually have you go through a modified "day in the life" of your student. And it usually takes 2 hours. For some of the teachers, this isn't enough time. And the others try to fill the time with random topics of conversation. But this year it was more of a come and go deal. We were in and out of there in less than an hour. And if we hadn't stopped to talk to several other parents in the hallways it would have been much less than that. We met Sara's teachers and they all seemed nice. And not one of them grimmaced when we told them we were her parents. Good sign.

As we were walking down the halls to visit another teacher, I looked at the bride and said, "You know, this is the last middle school open house we'll ever attend." We went from having a first this weekend in moving Meg to college to a last visit in middle school.

I told a retired friend of mine the other day that I wasn't old enough to have a daughter in college. She said she wasn't old enough to have a great grandaughter graduating from college. I guess we never feel old enough for any of it.....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

least competent multitaskers.....

WOAI-TV - 7/30/08

A Dallas entrepreneur recently created a programmable device for those busy, busy parents who actually need to be reminded that they brought their tots with them in the car (lest their child become one of the several hot-car deaths a year in America). Provided that they're not too busy to set the system up, an alarm alerts them if they exit the car without the baby. Said one Texas woman interviewed by NBC News, "As a mom, you can get really distracted."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I remember when I thought $100,000 was a lot to spend on a house. I ran across this listing the other day.....

Monday, August 25, 2008

just a 4-year sleepover.....

Friday was a long day. After dinner at Pei Wei, three of us drove back to Franklin and one drove back to her new apartment. There were sniffs and noses wiped in the dark van, the radio playing in the background. But not from me. No, I'm the strong one. I'm there to love and support, to be the rock. Tears from me would only make things worse, cause an imbalance.

Meg settled into her apartment with two of her three roomates on Friday. It took some time, as we moved in
box after box. The bride and one of the other moms scrubbed doors, walls and baseboards. We hung pictures, put things together, and stepped back from time to time to say things like, "This is really starting to come together."

Saturday we met at Dale's and Julie's for Liz's first birthday party. Meg came and told everyone about her new place. She smiled but I could tell something was wrong. She later told me that it had been a rough night. Meg's always been a home-body, so living away from home will be an adjustment for her.

We went back to Meg's aparment after the party to take a few more things, stuff that we'd either forgotten to bring the day before or realized she needed after we got there. Both sets of grandparents visited. And three of us left for home again.

Mom and Dad spent the night with us on Saturday. We ate and talked and spent time watching football and the Olympics. Sunday morning we had breakfast and later watched them head back to East Tennessee. I came back inside and closed the front door.

And it hit me. Things have changed. Yeah, I was the strong one on Friday night, saying things like "this is natural" or "this is a good thing" while comforting the bride and Sara. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, all these emotions came to the surface. I went into the bathroom to get ready for church. I looked at the bride and said, "I don't know where this is coming from." She smiled and hugged me and said something like, "See what I was talking about?"

So things have changed. But they're good changes, natural changes. And I couldn't be happier for Meg. Classes start this morning. She's ready for this new phase of her life. And even though the three of us in Franklin may be shedding a tear or two, we're ready for it too.....

Friday, August 22, 2008

there's privacy, and then there's paranoia.....

I get my hair cut at one of those upscale places. You know, the kind of place that has "Clips" in its name. The kind of place that yells a welcome in your general direction when you walk in the door. The kind of place where the manager is anyone who's been there more than 3 months.

One of the first things they ask for when you walk in the door is your phone number. That's how they identify you. No big deal.

I was waiting to get my hair cut Tuesday afternoon when a gentleman came through the door. Here's how his greeting went:

Stylist: "Hi, welcome to Great Clips! Could I get your phone number?"

Guy: "I'm sorry, I don't give out my phone number."

My first thought was that he was making a joke. He wasn't. I could tell when the stylist laughed and he didn't laugh back.

Stylist: "OK, could I get your last name?"

Guy: <muffled snicker> "I don't give that out either."

The stylist had this stunned look on her face. I'm sitting there considering this to be free theater and I'm in the front row just loving it. The stylist didn't know what to do. She couldn't input a phone number or a last name. She stood there, hand hovering over the keyboard, frozen.

Guy: "Just call me 'Steve'."

I know everyone should take precautions when it comes to protecting their identity. But to refuse to give your phone number or last name? How Oliver Stone of him.....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Adam Bender

"Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right."
Henry Ford

Thanks to Chris for sharing this with me.....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

carmen sandiego, crayola and caulkin.....

We’ll move Meg into her apartment this Friday at MTSU. She’s excited and ready to start school and semi-independence.

I ran across this the other day. It’s a list called the Beloit College Mindset List that looks at “the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college.” Here’s a condensed version…..

Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.

They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.

GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.

Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.

Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.

Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.

Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.

Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.

WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.

Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.

Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.

IBM has never made typewriters.

They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.

The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.

Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.

Macaulay Culkin has always been Home Alone.

Caller ID has always been available on phones.

The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.

They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”

Soft drink refills have always been free.

They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about “nothing.”

Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.

98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.

Off-shore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

better camera does not equal better pictures.....

After I got out of the model train business, I sold all of my equipment. I took that money and, along with some more money I'd saved, bought a digital SLR camera. I spent about 6 months researching all the different brands and models. Ultimately I figured I couldn't go wrong with a Canon, so I ended up with the Xsi.

Out of the 500 pictures I've taken over the past 10 days, some of them have turned out pretty decent. It's amazing how a shot will look good in the camera's LCD screen, then once you see it on the computer screen it's blurry. I'm still trying to figure out the 9-point autofocus system. And lighting. And all the features unique to the Xsi. But I'm having fun with it, even if it can be frustrating at times. I'm just looking at the bad shots as learning experiences.

I'd like to point out that one of the reasons I bought this camera was to take pictures of my family. However, I live with three women. If camera avoidance was an Olympic sport, all of them would medal.

Here's a few of the ones I've liked so far.....

Monday, August 18, 2008

not the best place for a private office.....

Spokesman-Review (Spokane) - 6/6/08

In June, police in Spokane, Wash., arrested Calvin Robinson, 19, who had set up inside the lockable family restroom at a mall because he needed an electrical outlet to run the color printer he had just bought for $100 (in real money) in order to make counterfeit $10 bills. Police recovered a sheet of uncut, poorly made copies, which Robinson said he had intended to use to buy "90 dollars" worth of marijuana.

Friday, August 15, 2008

grannies gone bad.....

Daily Telegraph (London) - 7/10/08

In Crawley, England, in July, police were called to a supermarket to break up a fight between two grandmothers, who were ramming each other in their mobility scooters.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

some thoughts on the olympics.....

Opening Ceremonies - Incredible. So what if some of the stuff was computer generated for the television audience. We all liked it at our house. Especially Helena. As for the switcheroo of the little girl who sang the song being replaced by another "prettier" little girl? What do you expect? It's not like they lied about her age or anything. That would just be wrong.

Synchronized Diving - They're taking baseball away from the Olympics but this sport will remain? Please. It's not even a sport. True, the divers are sometimes remarkable individually. But don't do it together. It just looks dumb. And gay.

Women's Gymnastics - If the Chinese team has any 16-year-olds on it, I'm 24. And Shawn Johnson is this year's Mary Lou Retton.

Michael Phelps - The guy's amazing, dedicated, successful, and an eating machine. They talked about his normal breakfast the other night during the telecast, and it was more than I'd eat in a week. Of course, he does swim 5 hours a day. Bryan Mullen, reporter for the Tennessean, said if he was built like Phelps, he'd go Christmas shopping in that swimsuit.

Men's Basketball - No reason we shouldn't bring home the gold. No reason whatsoever.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

but they'll never want to graduate.....

Chronicle of Higher Education - 7/4/08

High Point University (just south of Greensboro, N.C.) is not quite Club Med ("Club Ed," it was called by the Chronicle of Higher Education) but provides free ice cream for students, a hot tub in the middle of campus, wake-up calls and a concierge service, all run by a campus "director of WOW," whose job it is to thrill the "clients" and attract new ones. This is the strategy of President Nido Qubein, a motivational speaker and "customer comes first" businessman, and so far, enrollment is way up (even at higher tuition), new construction is transforming the campus, and $100 million is in the bank.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

still trying to keep my head out of the way.....

The bride and I watched "The Bucket List" Saturday night. My first impression was disappointment. I was expecting more comedy, less seriousness. But the more I think about the movie, the more I like it. Alot.

There is a scene where Carter (Morgan Freeman) and Edward (Jack Nicholson) are traveling in Edward's Lear jet and the two started talking about faith. Edward said, "I envy people who have faith, I just can't get my head around it. " Carter replied with, "Maybe because your head's in the way." Even though my theology is more like Edward's, I understand Carter's statement. I'm too logical for faith sometimes. If something doesn't make sense to me, there's no way it can happen.

But I've learned over the years that logic doesn't always play a role in faith. And the funny thing is that faith grows every time you use it. Whether it's logical or not.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

yeah, but it was just the rams.....

The Titans started off strong Friday night. 34 points? In one game?

Even though they played the Rams, who probably won't have a great team this year, the Titans still looked pretty good for their first preseason game. Fisher and company appear to look really smart now on the Chris Johnson pick. Fast isn't a good enough word.

Don't buy your Super Bowl tickets just yet, Titans fans, but it could be a fun season.....

Friday, August 08, 2008

who needs jenny craig.....

Morning News/Fayettville - 4/25/08

Murder suspect Broderick Laswell, 19, filed a lawsuit in federal court in April against the Benton County (Ark.) Jail, alleging that he was being "literally" "starved to death" while awaiting trial, and complaining of "blurry" vision and of almost passing out. As evidence of his plight, Laswell pointed out that, in eight months behind bars, his weight had dropped from 413 pounds to 308.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

another stupid headline.....

While logging on to get email from my Juno account yesterday, I saw the following headline under the Business section:

Oil tumbles on surprise jump in supply

Let's see, I'm not a genius, but I do know a think or two about basic economics. And I know that if you drive the price of a product up, much the way oil speculators have done over the past several months, sooner or later people are going to stop buying quite so much of that product. And when demand decreases, the supply increases. Duh.

Gas prices are up over 34% from last year at this time. Surprise jump in oil supply? Shocking.....

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

the article.....

So here's the article from the Kingsport Times-News I mentioned last week. There are a few things that were a little different from what actually happened, but still a decent read.....

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

but you don't know my mama.....

Asbury Park Press - 6/11/08

Edward Defreitas, 36, was arrested in Toms River, N.J., in June and accused of causing a three-vehicle collision that injured two men in a car and sent two others (paramedics riding in an ambulance) to the hospital. Defreitas told police that he had been drinking and had decided to drive around until he sobered up: "He (said he) was afraid to go home and his mother finding alcohol on his breath."

Monday, August 04, 2008

the one about wally and the pope.....

Wally, of the rare pig-dog breed, spent some time in the local animal hospital over the weekend. And, no, it wasn't a rehab stint for overeating. It was just the opposite. He didn't eat or drink a thing for about 36 hours so the bride and the girls were very concerned. For Wally not to be hungry is like saying the pope's not Catholic. Yeah, that bad.

Apparently he'd eaten something he shouldn't have. We're guessing he went wandering in the neighborhood and got into somebody's garbage.

He's on some kind of special food for the next couple of days. And in the meantime he's recuperating with plenty of rest. Which means he's getting better since that's all he does is sleep anyway.....

Friday, August 01, 2008

apparently stupidity is hereditary.....

I think I've told the story here before about the time I played with my basketball that had been signed by the Harlem Globetrotters. I had ridden the bus with the whole team from their hotel to the arena, sat right beside of Meadowlark Lemon, and he passed a basketball around the bus so that all the players could sign it. I was so proud of that basketball. I took it to school with me and showed it off. I was six years old and convinced that life could get no better than this. That afternoon I played with the basketball out in the rain. All the signatures washed off. The ball went from priceless to $4.99, just like that.

I learned yesterday that I come by this "illness" naturally. Dad has some cousins whose father gave them a baseball signed by the 1956 Baltimore Orioles. A kid by the name of Brooks Robinson, who some say was the greatest third basemen ever, played on that team. They played with the ball until the signatures wore off.

A reporter for the Kingsport Times-News wrote an article on the Orioles ball. Hayden Brian, one of Dad's cousins, told the reporter about my Globetrotter basketball and he wrote an article on that last Friday. I'm waiting to get a copy of the article.

You can just imagine my pride.....