Friday, March 23, 2018

Where Do We Come From?

Finished up the Dan Brown book “Origin.” Interesting ending as well as an engaging, unsuspecting key supporting character, but the storyline is a carbon copy of every other Dan Brown novel: professor Robert Langdon finds himself in a chase against time to solve a puzzle, accompanied by a beautiful European stranger. The puzzle is always scientific in nature, the solution supposedly dealing a death blow to Christianity. Interesting hypothesis arrived at by a model run on a computer that doesn’t exist. Brown says much of his claims are true, when in fact they’re really only unproven theories requiring faith (in science) to believe. While we know who pulled the trigger to murder the supposed heroic young scientist, the surprise is who arranged the crime, and why. 

No, the book does not shake my faith. But it's one more example of the brainwashing that's going on in today's society.

Wednesday: left work at 5:40 and headed to my focus group. 285 traffic not crowded except merging onto 400, which made my exit at the king and queen building slow. Arrived early and deleted emails. The actual group didn’t last long – I was paid $40.00 to eat four slices of apples. Grabbed Taco Bell on the way home since I’d missed eating with C and A up at the Avalon. Anna was home getting her eyes checked.

Tried to get my hair cut but my barber wasn’t working. Maybe tonight. Got home and watched Family Feud, The Middle, and Designated Survivor. Played on my laptop.

Thursday: slept 45 minutes late, so I arrived “late” – but still before 8 am. Customer still recovering from storm but I have plenty to do. Good to get ahead. No leftovers to bring for lunch but there should be leftovers from two different lunch meetings: pizza or sandwiches.

I got to get back on my exercise plan next week.

Left work at six and drove to JFBC for a meeting. Three guys spoke about their program. Pretty good. Went home and saw the end of the Loyola game and some of K-State/Kentucky. Also Designated Survivor.

My old boss is retiring – the Ogre. I’ve worked with him all 31 years. Skipped the sales meeting (BBQ) to attend the retirement lunch at the Norcross Station CafĂ© (salad with chicken). I wrote up a speech and delivered it at the ceremony. Accidentally left out one of the funniest parts.

Saturday night three or four couples are meeting for dinner, then watching the new movie on the Apostle Paul.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

NFL Uniform Rankings

A legit blogger in Chicago recently ranked the NFL uniforms, and did a good job (that is, I agreed with most of his choices).
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I wouldn’t call them awful
31. Browns: the worst in my book, but there are rumors of a change
30. Jaguars (at least they’re changing)
29. Rams (they’re working to change)

BAD (4)
28. Titans are changing next month. Nice colors.
27. Cardinals. Great helmet / bad unis.
26. Bengals. Nice helmet.
25. Panthers. Nice square numbers. Not terrible except for the teal socks.

24. Falcons are bad if not awful. Not so bad when they win. Great throwbacks.
23. Patriots: same deal – win and they’re ok.
22. Ravens are ok as long as they don’t go all black
21. Broncos. Due for a change.
20. Chargers – I rank them as bad. Too plain. Navy pants?
19. Dolphins: rumors of a change? Hope so. I say they’re bad.
18. Texans. Average.

GOOD (8)
17. Cowboys: used to be great
16. Saints are just close in my book: no all black, please
15. Redskins are almost great.
14. Eagles aren’t good. Maybe close. Actually bad.
13. Colts are great.
12. Jets aren’t good, but close.
11. Chiefs are near the top in my book
10. Packers are just good. I hate the collar.

9. Giants – indeed.
8. Vikings – what? They are close at best, almost bad.
7. Lions may just be good, but they’re better than they used to be.
6. Seattle may just be near the top of the good pile.

5. Raiders. Even their color rush is good.
4. Steelers. Nice alts as well.
3. 49ers. I would just call great. But black alternates?
2. Bears. Good throwbacks to boot.
1. Bills. I would just call great.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Brannock Device

A graphic print Anna created was chosen to be displayed at a showing at Ponce City Market (below).   

Barely keeping up with my calendar scrapbook but I have all year for that. Same with computer calendar – seems like I’m doing good to update once a week. Also haven’t been updating my list of thrift store finds, though I haven’t been making as many purchases or even stopping off too look, since I’ve been working late and also because of the cold. Also I used to log my MPG whenever I bought gas or serviced the car, nor have I been logging purchases, much less organizing them by category.

I was just making a list of my favorite cars. That reminds me of a few other things I track, that I’m behind on updating: my list of games I’ve attended and my bobblehead list. It appears we need to go ahead and get a new roof on the house. That’s gonna hurt the old pocketbook big time.

Been doing good to get the bills paid. I have been posting to my blog though I’m really not spending tons of time on that. Not sure what’s happened. I have been working on the master list of this summer’s bobblehead giveaways at all the MLB parks (and many of the minor league stadiums). I’ve already got a lot. I’ll publish the list on the first of every month starting in April. Most interesting event happens in Syracuse, where the Chiefs honor the Brannock Device. Know what that is? Bet they had them at Muses!
The Brannock Device is a measuring instrument invented by Charles F. Brannock for measuring a person's shoe size. The son of a shoe industry entrepreneur, Brannock ...
Survive the storm? It was close to six when the cleaning lady said the storms were a’coming. Drove straight home. Ceil made fixings for a taco salad. Cleaned up some and watched The Voice while playing on my laptop.

Weather reports came on with increasing frequency, and took over at 110 pm. I went out and cleaned out the garage so I could pull my car inside. Matthew arrived home from work about 10:30 and pulled next to the garage doors. Then storm was set to hit us at 11 pm. At 10:45 M’s friend Frank walked in. He didn’t know about the storm, but had seen lightning in the sky.

I stayed up watching the weather until almost midnight. Looked like the worst of the storm went south of us. Matthew and Frank were cooking in the kitchen. Whenever the oven is on Barney is concerned the smoke detector will sound, a noise he hates. He was hanging near me. When I went to bed at almost midnight Barney stayed downstairs, perhaps hoping for a scrap of food. When he came upstairs he laid down next to my side of the bed where there’s more room. Once when I got up to go into the bathroom he went with me, something he never does.

Got a late start Tuesday, made later by Matthew and Frank’s car blocking my path. No trouble getting to work.

Unfortunately a tornado did damage my customer’s warehouse last night in Augusta, causing roof damage and a gas leak. They’re not working today and possibly tomorrow. No injuries, but one of our employees’ car turned over. W&MC heard the storm in Augusta, but suffered no damage. My customer is over ten miles away on the other side of town.  

Ceil had a rough Tuesday so we went out to eat at Pappasitos. Crowded and loud but delicious melt in your mouth chicken fajitas. Quick service as well. When the waiter said the special was fish, I replied that I was allergic to fish. I shouldn’t have. They made a huge fuss. The manager stopped by the table to ask questions. And it was so loud it was hard to hear.

The only problem with Pappasitos is that the parking lot is always jammed. Most of the cars want to turn left to get to the interstate. One car cut me off. Coworker Chris reminded me of the secret: take the back exit.

Stopped by Whole Foods on the way home. Watched Modern Family. The new little boy on there is a breath of fresh air, and steals the show. Then another excellent episode of Chicago Med. No Christian-bashing this week.

On the way to work this morning a pickup truck zoomed past a stopped school bus with its lights flashing. Big no no. Later the same truck roared past me, changing lanes where it barely had room. Of course I kept catching up to the truck at every stop light.

When human resources sent out an email ending with “carpe diem” I wanted to respond “sic semper tyrannis!” Maybe not a good idea.

Big news for me – bad news for you. I was set to go to next Tuesday’s Braves game, an intersquad game against Braves minor leaguers (including presumably Acuna). Was going with three guys from work. But this morning we were instead offered to swap tickets for Monday’s game against the Yankees, so we jumped at it. I’ll give you a full update.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

All In on Acuna

OK I am all in on Ronald Acuna – I special ordered a jersey with his name on the back. Will be interesting to see if I ever see one like it. I got his spring training number 82 on the green St. Patrick's Braves jersey, with his name and hopefully the mark over the N. As a high school sophomore I wore 82 playing football. We were out Saturday night and I didn't have any green to wear. Below is what an authentic green jersey looks like. We shall see how close mine will look.
Now the only jersey I need is the 1976 red pinstripe, either with KNUCKSIE 35, CHANNEL 17, BOUTON 56, DEWS 10, or PATTERSON 42 on the back - probably Dews or Patterson. Can't believe Dews wore 10 back then, but he did (below). Not a good Bobby Dews number. He's worn 10, 22, 52, 53, 66, and other numbers for the Braves.
Acuna seems to have filled out since last year, especially in the haunches. Long term based on his body type, do you think his career could be like Andruw's or Ken Griffey Jr? Both beat themselves up in the outfield. Hopefully Acuna well be a better, more disciplined hitter than Andruw. Acuna is going to have to take care of himself. This spring he's been hit by 4 pitches. Not sure that's a good thing.

Was listening to the game on the radio Sunday and they were referring to him as "Ronald Acuna Junior." I hope they don't add JR to the back of his jersey. Let's hope he doesn't. Larry Wayne Jones Junior never did. Guess I should've ordered mine that way. I stumbled across his father's baseball card on the internet, when he was with the Mets (and wore 49, currently Julio Teheran's number).  

Any other thoughts on the team? Glad Schimpf got sent down. I guess the fourth outfielder won't be decided until Acuna gets called up in mid-April. Will Moylan make the team?

CPA: the Acuna Sr card I saw was from Bowman in the early 2000's.  I don't have that one, as I was never a big Bowman collector.

I hope they have him up on opening day.  It is the "right" thing to do - you need to have your 25 best, major-league ready players on your team.  I think down the road it will come back to haunt them if they leave him in the minors to game his service time. I don't think Heyward is a good argument for the service time question.  Part of the reason the Braves never tried to extend Heyward is that they never really knew who he was as a ballplayer.

I think Acuna will be somewhere between Andruw and Griffey.  I think playing CF every inning of every game aged him quicker than normal.  If the Braves keep Acuna in a corner OF spot, I believe that will be better for him in terms of career longevity.

I think Moylan makes the team.  Preston Tucker reminds me of a Matt Diaz-type.

ME: Anna wants to go to the July 26 game to see The Avett Brothers postgame concert. Would make for a late Thursday night. Years ago me and Matthew went to see them after a Braves game.
Sunday I noticed in the JFBC bulletin that JFCA is looking for a basketball coach. Staff includes headmaster Kimberly and teachers David, Brian and Sarah, Joanna, Margaret Dudley, Nita, and Sandy. Sandy's daughter graduated with Will and continues to dance post college, working a summer in NYC as well as on a cruise ship. Not sure, but JFCA academics may be slightly more rigorous than Veritas Classical School (Hembree Road in Roswell), Legacy Community Academy (Alpharetta Hwy across from Wendy's) and East Cobb Christian School (in ECPC across from The Avenue). JFCA has more extracurriculars.   

Monday, March 19, 2018

Freaking Out

Saturday morning our group ringleader called, organizing the group dinner. Met two couples in bustling downtown Woodstock for dinner at the Century House Tavern, located in an old house. Since we were going to downtown Woodstock I mentioned we should go early, since I knew that place could get crowded. After she hung up I realized it was St. Patrick’s Day. It would be more crowded than usual. Then later the ringleader’s husband called, wanting us to go early and stake out the table for six. What could I say but yes? The rest of the day I worried about it, that something would go wrong. It was saving seats in church all over again.

I hate being in a big group trying to get seated at a crowded restaurant. Puts a strain on the waiters. It’s almost impossible to get twelve orders and drink orders right, especially when 2/3 of the party give special instructions. At least when we go to Bonefish at the beach every year we go late on in the evening and make a reservation in advance, so they’re expecting us.

It freaks me out when I’m in charge of something I can’t control. I want things to go right. That’s why I’m so good at my job. Then they took too long getting the oil changed and car washed and detailed, so we were 30 minutes late getting to the restaurant. More worry the whole drive over.

Luckily the ringleaders beat us there and secured the table (and got the last parking space). Everything turned out well, but it took me 15 minutes to calm down and enjoy the evening. A table of six splitting three meals is much easier than party of twelve. Afterward we walked around the downtown.

Last Wednesday coworker Matt wore the same outfit as me. Brown shoes, kakis, plaid shirt, and black V neck sweater. Then Thursday coworker Kruck wore the same outfit: blue striped dress shirt, black slacks and loafers. Then Friday coworker Shane copied me: Jeans, sneakers, t-shirt, and grey half zip pullover.

Then there’s coworker John who’s been here for about a year now. He’s really edging in on my turf. Looks a little like Kevin Bacon, which is his nickname. He’s learned the complicated work order system well. He gets along well with everyone and tells good jokes. But now he’s gotten new glasses, and I think he’s trying to become the next Dave Murphy. The last straw was when I went home he was there sitting in my spot on the couch.

Saturday night the third couple at the restaurant were Reid and Noelle. I knew Reid was looking for new glasses, and Saturday he showed up with his new frames – very similar to my new glasses. I’ve had mine for almost two months now and haven’t decided fully that I love them yet, but I guess if everyone else likes them so much that they’re gonna copy me, I guess I should be flattered huh. It’s getting to be an everyday thing.

Basketball basketball basketball. Spaghetti for supper Friday night. I went to bed before Virginia got beat. Since most everyone picked UVA to go deep in the tourney, most everyone is in the same boat. Last year a guy on Twitter reminded everyone of that, and this year he repeated that mantra after Arizona lost. I wanted to say the same thing after the UVA lost, and in my haste didn’t figure out a way to attribute the post to him. Later he busted me for it, and I had to apologize.

Housework and laundry on Saturday. Ceil painted the bedroom. Later I cleaned out M’s car and took it to get the oil changed. Also ripped out the cloth hanging down from the room, so you can see a lot better. The carwash changed the oil and cleaned it up good.

Sunday: JFBC, then Whole Foods on the way home, then a nap. Watched the exciting back nine. Tiger (the Masters favorite) couldn’t close the deal, missing the fairway on the last three holes. Rory (my Masters favorite) birdied five of the last six to win going away. Bryson DeChambeau, who we saw at the Masters, also played well. After the tourney Rory, Bryson, and Ricky Fowler all told heartfelt Arnold Palmer stories.

Watched Clemson blow out Auburn. Then Ceil watched her Hallmark Channel show.

Today at work the conversation meandered to Dr. Seuss’s classic book “And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street.” I looked it up on Amazon and read part of it to my coworkers. An excellent book I was read to my grandchildren. Also “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.”  

Buddy the Elf had a way with the ladies: “I think you’re really beautiful and I feel really warm when I am around you and my tongue swells up. So…do you wanna eat food?”

Gonna watch the UGA women tonight? My old roomie Leuze lives in Louisville and goes to a lot of women’s games there.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Acuna: What Number Will He Wear?

What number will Ronald Acuna wear for the Atlanta Braves? You’d think this detail has already been determined. Player photographs for 2018 have already been taken. I’ve seen one of Acuna but couldn’t tell what number he was wearing.

Acuna seems to have a preference for numbers ending in four. He wore 34 in Pearl and 24 in Gwinnett. Acuna also wore 24 last year in the futures game. In Australia he wore 42, a number retired in the United States for Jackie Robinson. In spring training Acuna has worn 82.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki currently wears 24. You’d think it would be unlikely Suzuki would start spring training wearing his 2017 number, then change before the season starts. The catcher is one of the few players who is out-hitting the red-hot Acuna this spring.

Bullpen catcher Marty Reed currently wears 34. Reed is new to the team and though he could change numbers, again you’d think that detail would’ve been worked out this past winter.

Rookie third baseman Rio Ruiz wore 14 last year. Rio is at best on the bubble to make the team, though his long term future with the team seems cloudy at best. Few players have shined wearing 14 for Atlanta, Andres Gallaraga being one. I seriously doubt Acuna will take the number from Ruiz.

No Brave will wear 44 again. That’s Hank’s number. Rookie pitcher Max Fried is wearing 54, and it’s doubtful Acuna would want a number that high. Below I’ve listed the current roster up to 54. Some players have a stronger hold on their numbers than others, but at this point its doubtful any will change for Acuna.

Newcomer Ryan Schimpf was awarded twelve. The former Ray was struggled this spring, and was just sent down to Gwinnett. Even so it’s doubtful Acuna will don twelve. The number is another no Brave has succeeded in.  

Other newcomers this year with primo numbers include first base coach Eric Young and catcher Chris Stewart. Young can keep number two, a number forever cursed in Braves lore by BJ Upton. Stewart will most likely start the season in Gwinnett, but eight is no more desirable than some of the open numbers.

What numbers are available? Nine, 13, 23, 27, 33, and 48 are currently vacant. All are decent baseball numbers. Forty-eight is usually a pitcher’s number. Thirteen carries the unlucky stigma. Hank Aaron’s brother Tommie wore 23, and for a long time it was rarely worn in Atlanta. Former manager Fredi Gonzalez sufficiently jinxed thirty-three, though its proximity to 34 makes 33 a sure finalist for the rookie. Nine is a coveted single-digit number Acuna could choose.

My guess is 27. It’s a classic baseball number, recently worn by slugger Fred McGriff. Golden boy Mike Trout wears 27 for the Angels. We shall see.

Note whatever number Acuna first wears, there’s a small possibility he could change (though I doubt it). When Dansby was first called up in 2016 he wore two, but changed to seven the next spring. Chipper was destined to wear 16 as a rookie in 1994 before suffering a season-ending injury late in spring training. I still consider it cool to be seen in a Swanson #2 or Jones #16 jersey.

Someone should check out the 2018 version of the MLB video game. Oftentimes the first clues of uniform changes and sleeve patches can be found there.

1. Ozzie Albies 2B
2. Eric Young 1BC
3. Dale Murphy CF
4. Walt Weiss BC
5. Freddie Freeman 1B
6. Bobby Cox MGR
7. Dansby Swanson SS
8. Chris Stewart C
10. Chipper Jones 3B
11. Ender Inciarte CF
12. Ryan Schimpf 3B
14. Rio Ruiz 3B
15. Sean Newcomb SP
16. Charlie Culbertson SS
17. Johan Camargo 3B
18. Jane Adams OF
19. Scott Kazmir P
20. Preston Tucker OF
21. Warren Spahn SP
22. Nick Markakis OF
24. Kurt Suzuki C
25. Tyler Flowers C
26. Mike Foltynewicz SP
28. Kevin Seitzer HC
29. John Smoltz SP
30. Pete Moylan RP
31. Greg Maddux SP
32. Brandon McCarthy P
34. Marty Reed BPC
35. Phil Neikro SP
36. Aaron Blair SP
37. Ron Washington 3BC
38. Arodys Vizcaino RP
39. Sam Freeman RP
40. AJ Minter P
41. Eddie Mathews 3B
42. Jackie Robinson 2B
43. Brian Snitker MGR
44. Hank Aaron RF
45. Matt Wisler SP
46. Chase Whitley P
47. Tom Glavine SP
49. Julio Teheran SP
50. Lucas Sims SP
51. Shane Carle P
52. Jose Ramirez P
53. Luiz Gohara SP
54. Max Fried SP

Saturday, March 17, 2018

First Bite: Century House Tavern

Downtown Woodstock is a happening place. We finally dined there tonight for the first time ever (for me at least). 

As I walked from my parking place I big white American pickup truck passed by, driven by a redneck in a ball cap with a huger Merican flag in the back. You don't see that downtown, in the Westside, in Buckhead, or Decatur. I wanted to (1) take a picture, but I was too slow, (2) encourage him to honk, and (3) give a rebel yell.

Lee had picked the place: the Century House Tavern. Excellent choice. Lee and Nancy split a fish on sweet potato dish. Reid and Noelle split a burger, fries, and salad. Ceil and I split a grilled chicken sandwich, fries, and salad. All the beef, seafood, chicken, cheeses, and vegetables are fresh and locally grown - not frozen.

After dinner we walked around the downtown and tried to act cool.

That team that upset Virginia made the most of their moment in the sun. Several priceless tweets were retweeted, including this gem:

Also priceless: their Under Armour uniforms closely resembled those from the movie Teen Wolf.
I don't want to be that"stay off my lawn" guy. I want to be "all things to all men." These days its getting harder and harder to do that. People have forgotten that verse. 

The student protests haven't stuck in my craw any worse than any other recent issue. But like so many issues it seems many people are missing the point. Students are being used as pawns, and they don't even realize it. 

One of my David Hall friends, the one who's more outspoken about these issues, had his daughter ridiculed for taking a stand contrary to the majority.
Another teacher posted the following comment:

And that's all I'm going to say about that.