Sunday, February 25, 2018

Behind the Curtain

You might wonder how I come up with content for this blog every day. My full time job certainly gets in the way. Guess you can call this a hobby. It does take time. I rarely plan ahead, though sometimes when I'm bored I might jot down how many topics I have lined up, like for a weekend.

Many of the posts detail the mundane aspects of my life, a compilation of comings and goings, what we eat and such. Bit and pieces of various emails, thoughts about sports or current events. Once I have a thousand words or so I try to organize the notes into halfway readable posts, perhaps leading with the most interesting topic. Every now and then I'll include a profound quote from a friend, like from my friend the Braves expert.

At night at home after supper when we're watching TV I will pop open my laptop and edit and post that day's post. Usually that's on TV isn't worth all my attention, so I work on the blog post as I watch. Weekend content can be tough, because it's hard for me to type out great articles while holed up on the couch. Typing up my thoughts of what's happening during a football game can be fun and memorable, but it takes too much focus from watching the game. Steven King watches Red Sox games on TV with a book in his lap, always reading during the commercial breaks.

Sometimes a topic or event spurs me to type out my thoughts so I can better determine how I feel or where I stand on the topic. I see positions on social media or on the news and want to express my viewpoint - not really to the world but really just for myself. My views may be simplistic, but they are my own. If I read a particularly good article I just might post a link to it, and on rare occasions repost the entire article on my blog - being careful to credit the source.

Other times I may have an idea to research something, like comparing the production of two players. I like to make lists, so I will often develop the list and post it (even though its supposedly lazy journalism). Hey, I figure it's my space, so I can post what I please. Once I researched the fair catch kick, perhaps the most rarely used play in all of football. Quite oddly, the read total for that post immediately skyrocketed: the night I posted my story happened to be the same day an NFL team dusted off and used the play.

Pictures make the blog more interesting, but takes additional time. Whenever I come across an interesting photo I will save it for later use on the blog. Sometimes I don't have much to post so then I'll post any pictures I have saved up. When the Braves or Falcons or Hawks wear throwbacks or special uniforms I like to devote a post to that. To be halfway consistent I use two recurring photographic themes: throwback uniforms and Sports Illustrated covers. Now I've gotten in the habit of taking pictures while I'm at a game or other event, and documenting them on my blog. This too takes longer than I'd like.

I rarely link my blog posts to social media. Doing so usually boosts readership, though I don't live and die with how many readers I garner. Sometimes it's fun to share, like my monthly bobblehead giveaway lists during the baseball season - something else that's much too time consuming.

Some may say people reveal too much on social media and the internet. I don't disagree. Some post too much. I try to be careful. I'd like to think that since I'm not posting on social media and people have to go out of their way to read it, I'm not forcing opinions and information down people's throats.

Every once in a while I might finish a day without remembering to post. It's not the end of the world. The next day I can post twice and be caught up. Actually I have until the end of the month to keep my monthly total correct. Once I dragged myself out of bed to make I post. My blog runs on Alabama time, meaning I have until 1 am to get a post in every day.

At the end of last year I gave a little thought to the time I spend on my blog, perhaps less than my once a day goal. So far I haven't slacked off. The quality may not be not notch, but it's a compilation of what's going on. The blog format makes it easy to go back to a particular year and month, I think easier than trying to dig back on social media. Guess I'll keep going for the time being.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mrs. Light's Memorial Service

As I walked up the North Bridge for Elizabeth Light’s Memorial Service I knew I was in for a bittersweet afternoon, celebrating the homecoming of a great servant as well as reuniting with dear friends I hadn’t seen in years.

The first person I saw was Milton Jarrell. He recognized me even though he was working on little sleep – he had just driven in overnight from Fayetteville NC. He’s been driving for 35 years. His sisters Rebecca and Robbye arrived. They all look the same. Sure the sisters look the same because they’re identical twins, but they look the same as they did 10-20 years ago. Brothers Bill and Dick are in Afghanistan helping out at the airport. A few days later I had a dream where I saw Bill and Dick at an airport.

Melissa Hollingsworth recognized me, and we had a quick chat.

Dee and Pat Williams were greeting at the door. They still live in the same place, and they look good. Two kids in Europe and one in South Florida, and lots of grandkids.

Drew and Nancy Kelly arrived, and we updated each other about our families. Forgot to ask Drew about the retirement rumor. I updated him on Old Blue, the 1996 Buick Park Avenue that M had bought from his father.

Don and Angela drove up, ferrying her parents. Their faces brightened with recognition inside the car, though it was hard for me to see them. When they got out I could see who they were.

Both David Halls arrived at the same time, wearing similar suits. David Hall saw me at Johnson Ferry. He sat with his mother Mary Ann, who looked great. David Hall must live over near Athens. Someone asked who he was. Sherri’s little brother. Son of the famous thespian Harold.

David and Mary Hurt made their entrance. Horrors: Mary was wearing the same outfit she’d worn last week to the Norman wedding (I didn’t notice, she told me). The Hurts sat in front of me, so I could quietly make comments to David. Later at 4 pm we were leaving when David realized he’d left his phone in the pew.

Marcine was happy to see me, and me her. It was great seeing my old pal Debra Head, who was all smiles. She lives in Jefferson GA. Just last week I was thinking about the old Val Robinson “Ask me about Joy Explosion” t-shirts, but I didn’t think to mention it to Debra. Back when we were at Dekalb Community College I saw her wearing one down on the tennis courts so I hollered the question to her.

Sylvia was sitting near the front, but I hardly recognized grey-haired Samy sitting next to her. I remarked how HE had aged as if I hadn’t. Debra heard, and laughed.

Sat with Edie. Miss Prissy and the Whisenbakers sat behind me. Boy could they sing.

John Condra led the music, and did an excellent job. I waved a hello to Margaret but didn’t get to tell John my long wedding story. Little Gayle Suggs sang a solo. I must’ve missed Rob.

Jimmy spoke for the family, telling humorous and poignant stories. After his mother died he realized he didn’t know never knew her favorite ice cream flavor or color, but did know some things (later Deborah filled in the gaps: mint chocolate chip and pink). Mrs. Light lived a life of service, as a head nurse, mother, wife, and church member. She taught GA’s, worked in the cradle roll, prepared meals for Chapel Choir, and worked in the Family Life Center.

When Jimmy traveled to Africa on a mission trip the missionary there perked up when Jimmy introduced himself. “You’re not related to Elizabeth Light, are you?” Years and years ago Mrs. Light had planted a seed in a young girl at FBC Atlanta, who grew up to become a foreign missionary. A remarkable tribute to the life of a longtime servant.

Dock followed with a short message. Mrs. Light’s great faith was surely an fine example to those who knew her, and a reflection of the great God who loves us all so much.

Grover and Bette Swilley look so young. I told Bette that I see Heather at Johnson Ferry. Didn’t mention Heather’s junior high dance date Ryan Seacrest.

John Parkes and Ricky Richardson sat up near the front. I didn’t get to talk to John. He must’ve made a beeline to the choir room to sing in the Stumm funeral. Ricky asked about the fam. He hasn’t called Ceil lately.

Joy Callaway waved me down after the service, so I walked down to chat. She’s retired now, but had a long day Sunday with the back to back funerals.

Tom Jones Sr had a busy beard. Dan Hayes looks good. Probably because he runs.

Said hello to Bill and Sara Reed, but we never got to talk. Their daughter seemed to enjoy seeing old friends at the reception.

Kaye MacKenzie was glad to see me. Funny how Facebook allows people like Kaye and me to keep in touch much more than we had in the past. Craig was sick and had to stay home.

Sara Maddox looked good. She tracked down Don and me to say hello. Don and I talked about retirement. Kinda crazy. As usual, we picked back up where we had left off – except I really wasn’t there 100% present mentally. Not sure why I had so many things going through my mind.  

Got to see Ron and Julianne. Ron quickly bored with my Acuff/Norman talk and wandered off. Hurt retold the famous story of when he lived with Ron in the old Giles house. This was back in the early 80’s. Hurt went into Ron’s room and Ron quickly covered up what he was reading. Hurt pulled back the sheet – to find Popular Science. Both Don and I have heard the story several times, but let Hurt finish in case he added unexpected flourishes (he didn’t).

David and Ivy were there. Went through the line with them, and we chatted about Whitney and other things. On Monday evening a drunk driver ran head-on into Ivy on Northside Drive, breaking her nose. She was taken to Piedmont Hospital, where hopefully things will turn out ok.

Jimmy’s sister Cathy thought she was telling me something she didn’t know, that we were Facebook friends. I knew. Perhaps I should play a trick on her.

Deborah shared how she would miss the time she had been spending with her mom.  

Louise also remarked about Facebook. One day I’m gonna tell her the story. Maybe. Not sure its kosher. When I started to attend SPdL while in college it was about the time Louise went off to school, so we didn’t know each other. Her brothers were in the Chapel Choir and we really didn’t hang out, but we knew each other. Back then I would memorize the church pictorial directory, so I knew who everyone was. After college Louise really wasn’t super active in singles, but she may have been in Sunday School. She didn’t even know I went to Tech (I found that out years later, and took it as a compliment). I can't recall having any conversation longer than “hello” – perhaps until the most recent Chapel Choir reunion a few years ago. That sets up the story, but I just can't tell it here.

Friday, February 23, 2018

First Bite: Armando’s

The week that was - Tuesday: stopped on the way home at Goodwill to drop off donations. Almost bought a pair of adidas high-tops in Grizzlies colors. I didn't need them. Already have three other pairs of high-tops that don't get enough wear.

Ceil cooked lasagna. Very good. Also salad. Watched a little Olympics but mainly Gilmore Girls. Anna broke up with her boyfriend. Great guy, hard worker, super spiritual. Sometime things just don't work out.

Wednesday: our SS class meets for prayer one Wednesday night per month. I left work at 5:30 and actually arrived early. We had eight guys, the same number as last month, but only four repeaters. Brian, Joe, Buddy, Randall, Jamie, Abram, and two Davids. One guy was sick and missed. A good time of sharing and praying. Abram is a young seminary student who prayed part of his prayer in his native language (Aramaic?). Very beautiful.

The nine women went long (no surprise). Stopped by Chickfila on the way home. Watched Gilmore Girls.
Thursday: retirement lunch at Armando's Caribe, a Latin/Cuban/Mexican restaurant in Duluth. I had the grilled chicken salad. Good food. Rode with Key-bo, who ordered seafood and rice. Also Dennis (Cuban sandwich), Debby (also got a Cuban), Teresa (burrito), Joy (below left), Frances (Cuban), Sam (burrito), Jan (below right), and guest of honor Sandra (below middle).
We had a couple of fires blaze up late yesterday so I worked until almost 6:30. Ceil had just finished painting so I didn't have to hurry. Stopped by a store and again resisted temptation to buy more shoes. Then traffic was slower than usual crossing Roswell Road at the river. Was almost 7:30 when I got home.

Matthew and his friend Jude were cooking pizza. M made his so hot that he could barely stand it. Later they went to a magic shop, then came back and played the piano. We all dug into the month two box of Godiva chocolates that had arrived. C and I only watched one episode of Gilmore Girls: Lane's wedding.

Got up this morning and walked for the third time this week. Made it two miles (my goal). Noticed the car odometer mile is shorter than a mile on my Apple Watch. But the car only logs tenths of miles, while my watch logs hundredths.   

Not much on tap for this weekend.

CPA on the Braves: I think there is one thing people are missing in the debate about if Ronald Acuna should be kept in the minors for a few weeks to gain one more year of team control.  People are assuming that Anthopolis would make the rational decision that a full year of Acuna in 2024 is worth more than a few weeks of Acuna in 2018.  However I don't think Anthopolis is automatically assuming he will be here in 2024 to reap the reward of having the extra year of control.

ME: at the Light funeral while leading singing Mr. Condra would change the tempo, like stretching out the ending to "Because He Lives." Did you ever sing in a choir behind Billy Graham? A few years ago Chad Eaton visited with Graham. I saw Graham twice, as a kid at the crusade in old Atlanta Stadium, then more recently at the Georgia Dome.

That gauntlet tourney is aptly named. Imagine that in real life. The team that wins and advances is always less rested than the team they're playing. Would be an interesting golf format. In basketball normally the lowest ranked teams have the toughest schedule. In gauntlet would it need to be the opposite? The top ranked team would play their hardest game first, then the games would get easier – but the players would grown more weary as the games continue. Kinda like on the playground: the winners get to keep playing.

Received my nephew's wedding invitation in the mail. So many details to plan and pull off a wedding. Thousands of details and decisions. Some decisions impact so many other decisions to follow. Gotta be careful not to paint yourself into a corner. If you want one thing to be a certain way, it may result in a sacrifice in another area.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fear the Fish

The Stripers posted better pictures of their fauxback uniforms,
hearkening back to the Braves feather unis of the early 1970's.
 Close-up of the fish on the sleeves.
Tuesday night: lasagna.
Today's lunch at Armandos: a wonderful grilled chicken salad.
Tonight's supper: Matthew made pizza.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Oscar Grammy Emmy Tony

Grammy winner. Academy Award. Golden Globe. Emmy winner. Tony Award nominee. People’s Choice Award. Recipient of the Mark Twain prize.

I know of only one person who has garnered ALL these accolades: Steve Martin.

I don’t idolize him. Not sure admire is the right word. But dude is funny, and sho’ nuff talented. Comedian. Writer. Musician. Playwright. Actor. Novelist. Singer. Far from perfect, though from afar he comes off as humble. And what staying power: his awards stretch out over his entire 50 year career. And he’s still going strong.

Some of my favorite Steve Martin movies:  

1978 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club
1979 The Jerk
1979 The Muppet  Movie
1982 Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
1983 The Man with Two Brains
1984 The Lonely Guy
1986 Little Shop of Horrors
1986 Roxanne
1991 LA Story
1991 Father of the Bride
1994 A Simple Twist of Fate
1995 Father of the Bride Part II
1999 Bowfinger (I’m told this is good)
2003 Cheaper by the Dozen
2005 Shopgirl
2005 Cheaper by the Dozen 2
2009 It’s Complicated

1969-2010 Primetime Emmy Awards won once
1978-2014 Grammy Award – won 5
1981-1995 Golden Globe Award – nominated
1984-1987 Critics’ Awards won 4 times
1987-2000 American Comedy Award
1991-2014 MTV Movie Awards – nominated
1992-1993 People’s Choice Awards won twice
2000 Teen Choice Awards nominated twice
2005 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
2013 Academy Award (honorary)
2016 Tony Awards nominated twice
2016 Drama Desk Award – won

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

First Bite: La Novia

Saturday night we met two couples at a new East Cobb hot spot: La Novia Taqueria, from the Moxie Burger people. Very similar to Taqueria del Sol. Nancy got the duck and Lee the soup. Ceil got one taco and rice and also a black bean puree, plus various dips and guacamole. The tacos were small but tasty. I got a brisket taco. We took our time, stretching the meal out to two hours. Had time for Gilmore Girls when we got home.

SPdL is in that no man’s land, halfway between 400, 85, and 75. I like to drive and I like how my small car can zip around, and I was doing some zipping this weekend. It’s quicker to fight the red lights to get to 400 to go home, but I don’t always go the fastest route.

Saturday morning I did take 400 south to Lindbergh, but then going to the game forgot about Peachtree so we had to take 85 to North Avenue, then back to O’Keefe. Not too bad, and we got to see some of the buildings we usually don’t get to see. So many teardowns and rebuilds. Same after the game, taking Peachtree back. I had to go to the library on Johnson Ferry, so I took Piedmont to Roswell Road then Lake Forest to Sandy Springs, then Johnson Ferry across the river.

Sunday I came from JFBC so I took the same route. Hated that left turn off Peachtree into the church so I took the back entrance off Piedmont and Garden Hills. Two pretty pink blooming trees framed the back entrance ramp. After the funeral I was ready to get home, so I did more zipping than usual: up Peachtree to Piedmont, then 400 home. The only time I really hurried was Sunday afternoon. I was just enjoying having the small car that’s fun to change lanes in tight traffic when needed. Makes me want to get that little two seater Honda CR-Z. There was a red one in the SPdL parking lot that I was pointing out to Hurt.   

Late Sunday afternoon Becky came over, so we asked her a hundred questions about the wedding and her kids. Charles and Annie were back from their honeymoon in Canada. They’re living in a garage apartment over west of Moores Mill. Over the years Annie learned to cook at Becky’s house. Annie used to hang out with Becky even when the boys weren’t around. Becky likes Joel’s girlfriend. She’s a little older but fits in well with Annie and Beth. Everyone goes to a different church: Willis to Trinity east, Joel leads music at his church near Oglethorpe, Joel’s girlfriend to Trinity West, David and Beth to the church that meets in the old Abbey restaurant, Becky to a small church startup in Roswell, Catherine to City Church in Memphis.

I had a great time at the game Saturday. I hadn’t expected great things, knowing Tech had suffered numerous injuries. Great seats.

The Josh Pastner saga: has the team quit on him? Players these days aren’t loyal to a school or even a coach. They’re like free agents, transferring at the drop of a hat if they don’t like the cards they’re dealt. If Pastner is out it will be another setback for Tech. Any coaching change means that many more years of rebuilding before the team could possible start winning again. That’s what those fickle fans forget. They always want to fire a coach after one bad season.

AM680 blowhard Steak Sharpio was calling for Pastner’s head this morning. Last week he was wanting the UGA coach to be fired. Shapiro recently promoted himself to the coveted drive-time slot and kicked the guy who really knows the X’s and O’s (Dimino) to the late morning slot. Then all the listener lemmings agree, forgetting that any change will be a setback. Who will they get that’s better?

College basketball (and football) is big business. Millions of dollars being thrown around. Fans calling for coaches to be fired forget about the costs, the payoffs of huge contracts. Fans don’t care, they just want a winner. It’s not that easy. Tech athletics don’t have that much money compared to most other schools. Then Tech tries to go cheap, but when it backfires they wind up paying more money than they hoped. Tech sports seems to be in a downward spiral. That’s the constant fight for the AD. At least basketball attendance is up.

For the last year or two blowhard Steak Shapiro loved GT basketball, and was singing Pastner’s praises in particular. Steak said McCamish is the place to be seen. How quickly he forgets. How quickly he turned. But Shapiro would have one opinion one day and then the next day take the completely opposite side. Not what’s smartest or best, but what would cause the most controversy and draw the most listeners. I have absolutely zero tolerance for blowhards like him. At least John Kincade raises money to fight cancer.     

In this case perhaps it was Pastner’s fault. Are we now seeing the real Josh Pastner? Can Tech afford to make a change? But if Tech can’t get recruits because the head coach is constantly under fire, perhaps Tech can’t afford to keep him.

Last year I heard pastor Crawford Lorritts speak at a men’s event at Johnson Ferry. He used to speak at those nationwide men’s conferences as well.  

Accounting is like The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. The dollars are tracked like the pink ink. It may come off the wall, but it shows up again on the mop and later the snow.

Sunday School notes: Ephesians 6:18) praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

  • Notice the four "all's" 
    • praying at all times in the Spirit
    • with all prayer and supplication
    • keep alert with all perseverance
    • making supplication for all the saints
  • Prayer is inextricably linked to the Word of God
  • We are commanded to pray "in the Spirit"
    • So what does that mean? 
      • to pray in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit
    • Practically, when we pray, we should do two things:
      • trust that God will help you to pray (power)
      • allow your prayers to be saturated by the Word of God (guidance) 

"Right here is where God's call to be in the Word every day and his call to pray at all times in the Spirit become intertwined. If you live in the Word of God, meditating on it day and night by reading it every day and memorizing portions to carry with you all day and savoring them hour by hour, then your prayers will be shaped by the Word. Which means they will be shaped by the Spirit. And that is what it means to pray "in the Holy Spirit." Not only to be moved by the Spirit in prayer, but to be guided by the Spirit in prayer. And since this is something we are called to do ("pray in the Holy Spirit"), our role is to take what we know about the Spirit's will from the Word and saturate our prayers with it."  --John Piper, Sermon on Jan 7, 2001

  • Prayer is an important ingredient of perseverance ("keep alert with all perseverance")
  • Prayer is the key ingredient to successfully employing the whole armor of God

Monday, February 19, 2018

Top Ten Gwinnett Buttons Slogans

Top Ten Slogans for the Gwinnett Buttons Baseball Team. Guess I'm a little late to the table on this one. Had the Gwinnett Braves renamed their team the Buttons, I was ready with ten great team slogans:

10. Give Me Baseball or Give Me Death

9. One if by Fastball, Two if by Curve

8. First in War, First in Peace, First in the International League

7. I Found My Thrill with Manager Damon Berryhill

6. Don’t Tread on My Baseline

5. We Hate Zippers

4. Tippecanoe and Baseball Too

3. Four Score and Seven Innings To Go

2. I regret that I have but one ticket to give for today’s Buttons game.

1. We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident: Gwinnett Baseball Rocks!