Friday, December 15, 2006

Dave O'Brien:

Started to regularly read Dave O’Brien’s column. Some that post comments aren’t reading O’Brien’s posts very carefully…guess some are just more emotional than analytical. One guy said we should’ve kept Giles, Glavine, Maddux, Sheffield, Furcal, Farnsworth, and Millwood. I figure just to pay the seven he mentioned would take over 90 million a year…and the team wouldn’t be as good as it is today. Add Andruw, Smoltz, Hampton, and Chipper (there would be no Hudson or Wickman) and the payroll would be over 120 million for 11 guys.

I’m a recent convert to DOB, and am quickly learning to do the same…scrolling through the posts to find his updates. I’m not wise to the music references. Does look like JS is focused on pitching.

With the increased MLB revenues, perhaps JS is saving up to make a run at Andruw. Houston and the LAD will tempt, especially the Astros short LF porch and deep pockets. Or JS could lock up JF, LaRoche, and McCann instead. Can’t blame JS for not overpaying for average talent. Next postseason could be even more interesting.

The Christmas Crunch

Ceil is starting to buckle under the Christmas crunch. We are going to Florida with my family, hopefully leaving early next Thursday, which is the right thing to do…even if it isn’t the wise thing to do (you might’ve read the unsent letter I wrote over a month ago, that I posted Wednesday). I talked to my sister and was upfront about stuff, but she couldn’t understand. I know I am lazy and selfish, and mainly want to do what I want to do…so isn’t this big of me to actually do what someone else wants!

There are so many other things I’d rather be doing. Perhaps next year I’ll do a better job. We’ll probably be eating out more through Christmas just to give Ceil more time to get ready and do her running around.

Just realized I’ll only be working one day the week after Christmas…Thursday. Unless we come back the day after Christmas, which I doubt. Might as well use the vacation day. The plan is to drive straight from Florida to SC on 10 & 95, Tallahassee to Florence. Some Christmas Eve. May have to break out the cargo carrier for the van, killing the MPG.

As usual, December is relatively busy, as people want to clear off problems.Orlando continues to call a bunch…I’m going back the week of Jan 7th. Our office went with the Atlanta Sales Office Thursday night to eat at Fogo de Chao, on Piedmont in Buckhead. You know I didn’t mind the eating, and the company was good.

Thoughts on Files

Helping mom set up a simple filing system. She’s concerned her ADD is a hinderance, since ADD people have organizational problems. Her situation is ideal, because she is retired and has time to regularly keep up a filing system. My parents look at so many things through a microscope, since they have the time. Immediately going to Publix to cash in the mystery coupon, etc. Here’s what I told her for starters…

Random thoughts on filing…
Half the trick is having the time to actually do the filing. One you have the basics down, if you can work on it for about an hour several days a week, you’ll get caught up. Then the filing time will be reduced to as little as 5 minutes a day. You can file things as you get them.

A key is to always be able to close the drawer, and not leave files spread out on a desk or table. If you leave stuff out, by the time you come back to it you’ll have go through it again to remember what it is.

Once you get the medical records organized, perhaps you can create an Excel or Word document to summarize them by date. Then you’ll have a single piece of paper or two that you can take to Doctor’s appointments. This will allow old records from previous years to be filed away, preventing un-needed clutter. At year end all records from that year can be taken out of the files and packaged up, perhaps boxed in the basement or attic.

My filing system…
Used to consider myself organized, but I don’t have time to file…it is the lowest of priorities. I barely have time to pay the bills, much less file them. So I have one file for bills/bank statements/tax return stuff, one file for semi-permanent stuff for the house, investments, and taxes, a file for medical stuff, a file for each car. There are perhaps ten files for major categories.

I throw paperwork in these various files all year. At year end I take a few hours to sort it all out and organize, giving me the information needed to do my taxes. This is the time I go through and throw away any stuff I don’t want to keep. I use a stapler, rubber bands, paper clips, and perhaps file folders. The whole packet for the year gets bundled up and boxed away. This way the files don’t get too large, and it’s easier to stay organized.

I do have files just for stuff I want to save. Stuff gets thrown in there and perhaps I’ll look at it once a year at best. It’s fun to look at, but over half the time I look for a particular item, I can’t find that item. More often I find things that I’ve completely forgotten about. Whenever I go through one of these files, if I see anything to throw it away, I do so.

I also have files that are only on the computer…my checking account, calendar, investments, auto records, etc. No need to print them out…I always can look it up on the PC. I keep unpaid bills separate, in a place where I won’t forget to pay them!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Letter to Nita (Unsent)

You and Brad deserve a nice vacation. Y’all have been givers for years to your parents, certainly much more than us. You are generous to share the vacation with us.

Not everyone has the personality, circumstances, or aptitude to accomplish as much as everyone else. I feel I must explain the mindset we use in making decisions on how we spend our time. I realize some have a hard time reading an entire email, or listening & comprehending an entire conversation...myself included.

Working & commuting takes up 12 hours of my day. Ceil could spend much more time teaching our 3 children, as well as preparing to teach. Every Sunday Ceil uses half the day to prepare lesson plans for the week ahead. Eating healthy meals is another priority, which takes more time and money. These are the priorities we have set. Our children are a tremendous help with the cooking and chores. They are involved in far fewer activities than their friends. Will takes classes at Living Science and plays baseball. Anna takes ballet. Matthew does the least…he only plays baseball half the year, due to how busy we already are & lack of money (that’s why they don’t take violin).

We are far from a perfect family…we know have many faults. We could use more time to spend with our children, on school and at play. We could spend a lot more time with friends and serving in ministry. There’s always work needed on the house and cars. Obviously it would be nice to get down to Macon more. I could manage my time better, but I’m not wasting four hour chunks of time…we don’t see many movies or watch lots of TV.

Recently I worked in Orlando for two weeks. My drive down and back was paid for, as were my hotel and meals. Couldn’t have been a more opportune time for Ceil and the kids to come down to Disney, but the list of things already going on was so great that they didn’t go. Same with PGA golf passes. Would’ve loved to go…so would Ceil and Will. Two passes were used, but it didn’t work out for us.

It’d be great to attend all the Georgia Tech, Braves, Falcons, and soccer games we’re offered tickets to. There are so many festivals, events, concerts, movies, etc. in Atlanta and North Georgia that would be great as well. There are also dozens of ministry opportunities at churches in the area. Most often we have a conflict. Even when we don’t, the fact that we’re away the day before and/or after factors in…it’s hard to enjoy an event if the attendee hasn’t rested up from the last event. I can count on my fingers the things I get to do in a year. Though never easy, we say no.

These days there are dozens of trips kids can take. Beach trips, Disney trips, ski retreats, DiscipleNow weekends, sports camps, even baseball lock-ins! Busy parents are willing to pay big bucks to drop their kids off for weeks at a time. This year alone Will has been to New York, Washington DC, Jekyll Island, Myrtle Beach, Lake Burton (twice)…and 14 major league sporting events. When can a kid go to a Florida island? Kids today do so much, have so much…these camps and retreats and lock-ins are no longer wide-eyed adventures. Instead it’s just another day of entertainment they come to expect. Ride the Pink Pig? Big deal, they say…give me Goliath. Exactly what we’re trying to avoid with our children. Instead let them entertain themselves, play outside, read books. A hard task in this age of instant entertainment. Kids want, need grownups to spend time with them, not entertainment.

Two select East Cobb baseball teams are currently recruiting Will to play next spring. They’ll play 60 games in less than 4 months. One team has offered to pay his way. As Stuart will tell you, the higher level of competition is needed for Will to improve, if he wants to play at the high school level, let alone college. But we are not ready as a family to invest 4 hours a day for 4 or 5 days a week to Will’s baseball, as nice as it would be. Does a 13-year old need to spend 20 hours/week on one extracurricular activity? Would he still like baseball in two years? If God wants Will to be a baseball player, God must have another way.

Joyful holidays like Christmas bring added expectations for time and expenditure. Events last the entire month and take time away from the regular stuff that must be done, in addition to decorating and shopping. Party-goers we are not…we usually attend only one or two Christmas parties at most. Many years we are so overwhelmed we don’t send out Christmas cards. We do travel to Jefferson, but not for any extended stay. We never go early because we’re still making Christmas preparations, and after Christmas I have to return to work. Our children have fun at Christmas, but Ceil and I are stressed and overextended. It should not be this way.

Novelist John Grisham wrote a little book called “Skipping Christmas.” Family, neighbors, friends, and co-workers were amazed when a couple decides to go away for Christmas. It was made into the movie “Christmas With the Kranks”…dealing with the gyrations people go through during the holidays.

The stress and activity increase the closer Christmas Eve comes. Ceil’s schedule is more flexible than mine, so the brunt of this stress and activity fall on her. I work until 5 pm on Friday December 22nd…I’ve used all my vacation days. Atlanta traffic is bad every day, particularly Friday. December Fridays are the worst…parties, shopping, everyone leaving town. I’ll get home at six. Even if our 7-year old van was packed and filled with gas, the earliest we could traverse the 385 miles and arrive on St. George Island would be 2 am. Whoever drives will be worn out. Saturday would be fun, but an 8 hour return trip is not a fun Christmas Eve…and Ceil and I would just be starting our Christmas duties. Anyway, could mom make the trip?

A trip to a Florida island sounds wonderful. But not so fast. One day of fun and two days of packing, unpacking, and over 18 hours of travel…during the most stressful weekend of the year. $85.00 in gas for a day at the beach.

What is the wise thing to do?

Releasing Giles

Can't blame the Braves for releasing Giles, as his declining production the last 3 years the justification for not paying him six million a year. He didn't rank in the top ten among NL second-baseman, while McCann, Andruw, Chipper, LaRoche, and Diaz ranked in the top five at their position, and Renteria ranked sixth. Andruw will be gone after this year. Chipper will stay because no one will assume his salary. Seems like the sentiment is slightly in favor of the Braves in releasing Giles. Of course 680’s Perry Lorintino was against the move.

Giles’ .728 OPS last year did not rank in the top ten for NL second-baseman. Does this justify paying him six million a year? The Braves think not. The public shakes it’s head when outlandish salaries are given to players, but when one of their favorites is let go, they don’t understand why…refusing to believe the diminishing statistics.


The only thing about Giles is that his salary replaces the left-fielder’s salary. There would be an outcry if Giles went to the Mets, not that JS would worry about that. It wouldn’t affect attendance. Resigned to Giles being non-tendered, but wondered if they’d hang onto him into spring training to see if they could trade him then – but with the way they were going after trades last week, probably not…considering how they’re right at $80 million already.

Can’t blame the Braves for not getting sucked in to overpaying for middling, aging, and injured talent. For every Jason Schmidt or Adam Wainwright deemed expendable based on performance and expectation but blossom elsewhere, you can count two Bruce Chen’s who became journeymen, bouncing from team to team. Jason Marquis and Kevin Millwood had some success, but not commensurate with the money they were paid. In return the Braves received lower-priced players who helped them win pennants.

Hopefully age will catch up with the Mets next summer. But Julio Franco would then keep the team from imploding emotionally!

Every time I go to SC I grab a few late 1980’s Sports Illustrateds from a pile of old magazines to go through. One had an article about Series Goats by Bob James. He made the comment that the public always remembers one event, while there are usually several factors that contribute to that game being lost, as well as the other three games the team loses.

Howard Stern came out on Letterman last night dressed as Santa, without pants, and gave Paul, Dave, and the entire audience Sirrius satellite radios. Said he was the white Oprah.

Last week betting on the underdog on all NFL games, you would be 9 winners and 5 losers. The same record even with the points.

The guys in the small group went to see The Illusionist, and it was pretty good…one of our better selections. We had small group Friday night…we met at El Porton for dinner. We may do that Marriage Perspectives 8 week class taught by a facilitator from NP. Saturday afternoon Will had a Colt baseball practice, so I helped out. Turned out to be a beautiful day. The kids made gingerbread houses at a friend’s Saturday night. Sunday I took the boys to get haircuts, and then they watched High School Musical, while Ceil shopped. I rented The DaVinci Code (I liked it, just not as well as the book).

Friday, December 08, 2006

Letter to Uni-Watch

I’m sure you are familiar with the Braves distinctive “feather” unis worn by Hank Aaron in the 1970’s. Since polyester unis were coming into use around that time, I always assumed those were double-knit. I was amazed to find a wool feather jersey on display in the Braves museum at Turner Field…evidently worn at least for the first year.

I did agree the Braves grey flannel jersey on display in Cincinnati was a thing a beauty, with the Indian Chief sleeve patch and dark tomahawk. Guess in these politically correct times we’ll never see an Indian patch on a regular basis.

Chin straps…give me the simple two-fastener model, like Brett Farve. I adore that Packer helmet from the early 60’s, with the wonderful old grey facemask. Hey! On the HelmetHut site are photos of a Chicago Bears early-1960s reunion…but the caption reads looking to the future” instead of the past. Is this a typo, or are the Bears joining the ranks and returning to a throwback helmet? (Paul replied - he'll look into this).

MORE: Who I like is a factor in who I pick, which isn't good. I don't like Ohio State.

Our office has been invited to the company dinner at a place down from the Buckhead Waffle House...Fogo de Chow. Next Thursday. I'm getting old...can't eat as much, don't really want to eat as much. Used to love places like Golden Corral, but we went there for lunch yesterday and I didn't really enjoy it. Fogo should be better, but I'm not a huge beef man.The company should be ok, but spouses aren't invited. Hope to get to know Tom Browning, who used to play basketball at Tech...perhaps for Coach Hyder. Heard of him? I'm guessing he's about 60 years old.

Nice Braves Trade

I was reading Dave O'Brien's blog as the Rameriz trade unfolded Wednesday night, while Ceil and Anna watched HGTV White House Christmas. This morning I had a message from the famous Sleepless In Seattle, saying the Braves got the better end of the deal.

O'Brien thought the LaRoche-to-Pittsburgh deal was off the table, as was a Giles/LaRoche-to-Baltimore deal. That Pittsburgh closer looks great on paper...JS must've backed off due to his heath. Sounds like any deal to get Rocko Baldelli from TB would be a long-shot...I'd rather keep Hudson.

Good reading: Dave O'Brien's piece on the Braves being over-budget. Sounds like they're resigned to playing Thorman due to salary considerations. Hopefully they'll be able to get something good for Giles, and not just give him away. The Angels' Chone Figgins/1B prospect deal wouldn't be too bad...I remember the initial letdown when the Braves got Estrada for Millwood...then Estrada made the All-Star team (then we gave him away due to salary constraints).

Also watched the end of the Hawks win...nice. Hopefully these close wins will continue to pile up.

Over the last week the thought had crossed my mind that I never check for comments on Sac Fly…usually after I post a blog I view the blog quickly to double-check for errors, but I rarely scan down the page. Then last night I was checking my yahoo email, and there was an email from yesterday alerting me to the blog comment. So should I ever get comments, I’ll know eventually, as I only check my yahoo email every few days. I need to change it to my other email, which I check a couple of times a day.

My FoxSports blog actually has a few dedicated readers, based on the responses I get. One guy mainly checks out my Falcons posts, and another reads the Braves posts. Yesterday he asked had I heard any trade talks, shortly before I posted some of the jabber we had discussed the last couple of days. Every now and then a real active and popular FoxSports blogger will add a comment/compliment, which is nice. I rarely comment on other FoxSports blogs because I don’t have the time, but every now and then get sucked into commenting on Uni-Watch, which I’ve taken to reading daily.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Paper Airplanes

The last few weeks Matthew has been making different things out of paper, with scissors and tape. He’s made cars with wheels, computers, CDs, phones, people, different kinds of sea plants and creatures, etc. If he’s studying something in school, he’ll create it out of paper. Every day it’s something different…today it’s movie tickets.

Got out the tree last night. Didn’t take long for Matthew to start making paper ornaments and hanging them on the tree.

Last night I went to see "The Devil Wears Prada"...Glenn Close plays the villain very well, it was good and funny. Also lots of NYC and Paris street scenes. The Guardian looks good, with Kevin Cosner and Ashton Kutcher. Pirates 2 was good, except the ending was like The Empire Strikes Back…you know there will be sequel.

Sure would hate to see LaRoche go. Brayan Pena can hit for average, and there’s also D. Ward, but even together that doesn’t replace Adam’s defense and bat. You would have that closer/setup man, as well as Thorman and Salty, and that Hawaiian kid that jumped from Rome to Myrtle Beach. Perhaps JS thinks LaRoche can’t put up numbers like last year’s second half, year after year. Amazing that pitchers are so valuable these days that you'd consider trading an almost all-star first-baseman for a pitcher. Surely JS has other moves up his sleeve. Salty needs another year in the minors - or at least half the season.

Monday I worked on looking up answers to a quiz from the Uni-Watch web site, about old uniform details. I had some more looking up to do last night when I got home, but when I left work I left my answers on my desk. Like most tests, I procrastinated studying. Should've read my copy of Ball Four this past weekend. I got most of them, but had to guess on a few.. I figured several would ace the test.

Whether Reggie?

Play Reggie Ball? Hopefully Gailey doesn't make decisions based on his reaction to the AJC. I've been frustrated with Ball for years and figured Bennett wasn't a good enough option. Does make me wonder why they never got a good QB recruit. Is this a slump that Ball is in, or just inconsistency? The press has been particularly unimpressed the last two postgame interviews by Ball...does he just not care any more? He did run hard against Wake, but I've never seen him throw worse. Big difference between Ball and Matt Stafford.

Interesting comments in the Bradley column...that Gailey played Ball to stay on the good side of Atlanta high school coaches. Other comments are revealing about poor coaching decisions. Any chance to bring in offensive genius Ken Whisenhunt? We need to keep that defensive coach.

Figured GT would play like they did. Hate to waste the great defensive effort the last two games. After falling flat in a few of the most recent bowl games, hopefully that won't happen again, since West Virginia will be tough anyway. The GT defense is so good that they could've beaten UGA and Wake had they not turned the ball over (and kept throwing it out of bounds when the defensive strategy was to commit pass interference). I just hope they don't get embarrassed in the Gator Bowl.

Sounds like the new AD is on the ball, and wants to build a winner. Hard to clean house after a 9 win season. Calvin sure could've been a lot more productive. After not running reverses for 2-1/2 years, why did they try it on 3rd and one? I hate end-arounds!

But I wanted Ball benched before Bradley wrote that column. The QB doesn't need to be a running threat when you've got other weapons...look at UGA, Auburn, etc. I like Florida and Arkansas' offenses...letting different players take the snaps and throw passes, since so many athletes were HS QBs.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

ACC: Typical Tech Game

Another typical Georgia Tech game today in the ACC Championship: good defense, irratic passing from Reggie Ball, dropped passes, questionable play-calling from Patrick Nix, and stupid penalties.

Typical ending: On 4th and ten Ball can’t get a pass off, instead running out of bounds. Has he ever made a good play with the game on the line? (save the victory at Clemson won by Calvin). Gailey then punted, never to see the ball again.

Wake usually plays turnover-free and mistake-free football, but has several penalties. Passes are completed when the QB can get the ball off, but Wake has yet to solve the GT pass rush. Tech needed to score more and not turn the ball over to win.

Ball’s 4th down interception was thrown into a mass of four defenders, and the return past the line of scrimmage made the play a disaster. Luckily it was the only turnover. Nessler and Griese correctly called out Ball on the Jacket’s second drive, when he missed two wide open deep receivers for touchdowns. The 4th quarter / 1st down INT was like a punt, but the defense had just sat down. The tired defense gave up an 80 yard drive for the game-winning FG.

Calvin has dropped two today, after having a drop or two in the last few games. James Johnson hasn’t stepped up. All ACC RB Choice hasn’t gotten enough touches to establish himself. A great strategy to throw deep against single-coverage, but it backfires with Ball throwing out of bounds or far off the mark.

The hurried 4th down QB sneak was another bad play. It is bad coaching and bad QB leadership to let the clock run down and not getting a measurement. To his credit, Ball ran better than he had all year.

Nessler and Griese are among the best announcers in the country. Why they need the inane Paul McGuire to rant in the rain is beyond me. Several times Nessler, Griese, and replays have shown McGuire’s comments to be far off the mark.

Tech has yet to throw Calvin on a fade route, instead putting him in motion and running him on end-arounds on 3rd & one – when Johnson hasn’t run these plays in college (except the last game or two). Bell has made two FGs, but is too unreliable to ride all the way to victory. Tech needs to get in the end zone. After driving the ball down the field on the first drive, Nix hasn’t called those plays again.

Another bad call: Instead of donning the good-looking gold jerseys they won in all year, Tech breaks out the navy jerseys they wore in the 1980’s…when they were winning three games a year. I know, they wore them in 1990 when they won the national championship.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Will's First Basketball Practice

Will did ok in his first basketball practice. The coach worked them hard for two hours, with many drills Will was unfamiliar with. Will likes to mix it up underneath, which is good. They had him playing wing. Since all he's played is half-court, maybe 3 on 3, he has a lot to learn about transitions, positioning, etc. Today his ankle is sore, as it often is after baseball. He wore 3/4 high shoes, so Monday he may wear high-tops.

The Flight Basketball organization has 4 teams: 6th & 7th grade, 8th, JV, and Varsity. Depending on age and ability, boys can play on multiple teams. Little Charles Norman plays on the 6th/7th and dresses out on the 8th, getting a little PT. Joel Norman plays 8th & JV. David Norman is growing taller and plays JV and Varsity. Yesterday I didn't recognize him. Willis Norman is 16, drives, stands at least 6'8", and plays varsity. This week he got his first dunk in a game. Since Will turned 13 in July, he may play some for the 6th/7th grade team as well.

See where the Charlotte Observer reported Vick could be traded, perhaps for draft picks, possibly to Oakland. The other rumor was Spurrier going to Bama. South Carolina fans would be devastated, Clemson fans would rejoice.

Matthew wore his new Mickey shirt yesterday, as part of his all-navy ensemble.

Top Ten Bad College Football Unis

10. Oregon State: Don’t like the black on black. Nice stripes, though.
9. Clemson: Purple on purple? Plus the ugly, skinny Nike stripes. Nice helmet.
8. West Virginia: Great team. Hate the Broncos look.
7. Cal: See West Virginia.
6. NC State: Always bad.
5. Georgia Tech: Hate the black masks and huge neck stripes. Loved this year’s throwbacks.
4. Mississippi State: Should stay away from the burgundy pants.
3. Maryland: Red pants without stripes, coupled with black shoes and socks, makes the team look like midgets.
2. Boston College: Such an old school name and place – why do they have their funky names and numbers?
1. Wake Forest/Vandy/Army/Navy/Purdue/Southern Miss/Central Florida/Missouri: Gold helmets and pants together with black jerseys. Great when left simple, like the Irish. But the more complicated the uni gets, the uglier it gets as well.

Best Looking NCAA Football unis:

I give extra Credit for the old school look. A great helmet covers up an average uni.
My List:
1. USC: Same great uni OJ wore.
2. Notre Dame: Green is ok as long as they wear them sparingly.
3. Texas: The all white look does need a few stripes throw in on the pants, but it’s still classic.
4. Michigan: This year’s Nike jersey didn’t mess up the look too bad.
5. Alabama: Great when Stallings brought back white helmets.
6. LSU: Love the stripes. They rarely wear purple.
7. Tennessee: Orange, but they keep it simple.
8. Georgia: Nike hasn’t messed up the look…pants stripes are great.
9. UCLA: Great colors and stripes.
10. Penn State: Grey facemasks are needed to complete the look.
11. Ohio State: Took a step back when they changed the jersey stripes this year.
12. Auburn: Coordinated stripes not screwed up by Under Amour.
13. Oklahoma: Simple and unchanged (like the state?)
14. Nebraska: See Oklahoma.
15. Arkansas: See Oklahoma.
16. Miami: Even Nike stripes everywhere hasn’t kept them from looking good. I like the orange jerseys with white pants.
17. FSU: A rare team that looks good without stripes on the gold pants. But looked great with stripes on white pants this year.
18. North Carolina: Always simple and consistent. Great color.
19. BYU: A great move back to unis from the glory years.
20. Oregon: Everyone hates them, but there are some neat features. Except the yellow.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hawks Improving

Yesterday afternoon my friend John Kincaid was talking to Hawks owner Bruce Levinson. Levinson was quite knowledgeable about the Hawks and Thrashers personnel, and thought the Hawks were a lot closer to making a playoff run than many people think. He said they targeted Claxton because last year they had no one that could stop small scorers, and L. Wright and Shelden Williams were brought in to fill the need in the paint. Levinson said once Marvin and Speedy recover from their injuries things will get better.

Levinson appears to be a hands-on owner, also dealing with marketing, public relations, the game experience, etc. He had learned from other owners the need for him to encourage when the team loses as well as when they win. They told him that continuity is a big deal, which could explain their patience with Billy Knight. Levinson said the got rid of some disruptive influences, even though the Hawks didn't get a fair return.

He was also high on the bench, with Lue, Wright, Childress, Salim, etc. He was at the game in Washington and said the right player took the last shot (Johnson), though Salim was also calling for the ball. Good that several guys wanted to take the last shot.

Sounds like Joe Johnson is trying to step up. I don't mind him getting mad at the refs for not calling fouls on the opposition...sounds like he's got some fight in him.

McGuire: HOF?

Everyone knew the day was coming - when Mark McGuire would be nominated for the Hall. I think the writers/voters will punish him and certainly not vote him in the first year, with the beloved Cal. The debate will be great. By his silence did he not basically admit he took steroids? But when he took them they weren't illegal in baseball. By McGuire's actions he tried to serve his penance...retiring and stepping away from the spotlight. Perhaps he doesn't care if he makes the Hall, because he feels so bad about the whole thing.

Some say Bonds should make the hall even if he took steroids. McGuire was loved much more than Bonds or Sosa, but the voters are known to be vindictive - especially since the last memory was his tearful silence on the stand. Selig won't take a stand, so the voters could very well keep him out.

Should he be in the Hall? Seems like the Hall should chronicle the dark times of baseball as well as the great times. They have exhibits on women in baseball, the Negro Leagues, even amateur and international baseball. This would mean Rose, McGuire, and Bonds...even Shoeless Joe - should all be in. All were better players than Ron Santo. Perhaps they should have a special wing of shame.

'The Nativity' vs. 'Saw 2'

I get email updates from 104.7 the Fish, the Christian radio station. I responded to an email and received tickets to see 'the Nativity' last night at was pretty good. Like many radio stations, 104.7 shares staff and space with 2 or 3 other stations. Before the movie they were giving away prizes. They didn't put much thought to who the audience was - they gave away copies of the R-rated slasher movie "Saw 2".

Had they given away copies of "the Nativity" at a showing of "Saw 2" the people would've been offended.

Gator Bowl Only In It For The $$$

No surprise the Gator Bowl doesn't want Tech. They sign a contract with the ACC, then every year the bowls try to finagle and cherry pick. Tech doesn't travel well, but 4 of the last 5 bowls were out west...Emerald bowl, Champs Sports, Humanitarian (Boise), Silicon Valley, Seattle Bowl. At least now GT has an AD who digs into these things BEFORE Tech gets the shaft. It's all about the money for the bowls, and teams fall in line so they can practice an extra 5 weeks.

Colin Cowherd is similar to 680's John Kincaid, whose sole talent is making listeners mad. Kincaid says he likes coaches like Bill Parcells who get on players publicly (you see how long Parcells lasts at any one place, and the shape of the team he leaves behind). But when Arthur
Blank says that everyone's performance will be under review, and that an 8 - 8 record is unacceptable, Kincaid thinks that's too much pressure for professional football players making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Kincaid is still upset at the way Terrell Owens upset his Philadelphia Eagles' apple cart. Despite the fact that he likes Parcells, Kincaid refuses to rank the Cowboys among the NFL's best
teams - because of Owens. At least Buck Belue quite often puts Kincaid in his place.

GOLF: Tiger knew it would be tough to win at East Lake, though he said he definitely would play next year if he qualifies. He came in second in both China and Japan, no doubt making mom happy by playing over there. In Japan he was tied for the lead with P. Harrington going into the last round, and led by something like 4 shots with 6 holes to go. Then Harrington went 6 under for the last few holes to force a playoff, and birdied both playoff holes to win.

Did you ever start getting that free Callaway Golf magazine? Did you get the recent one with Arnold Palmer on the cover? Amazing story about all the stuff he's saved in his barn in Latrobe PA.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Recap

Typical Thanksgiving weekend. Got off at 4 pm, drove home, finished packing, picked up some Moes, then picked up Will at the Ewings. We hit the road at 6:30 pm. Traffic on 285 was bad, but we made it to Jefferson by 11:30…not too bad.

Got to sleep late four straight days, a luxury. No big dinner on Thursday, but we did have the big football game. I was pressed into service as quarterback, a rarity, but I didn’t embarrass myself too bad. That night we ate at Doris’ with the Miller crowd. With all the kids running around, there was little time for me to get on the internet or watch what I wanted to watch.

Dic Dac talked me into paintball on Friday. It was good for me to go for Will’s sake, just like playing in the football game. Will and the youngsters played six “games” and the four grownups faced off against the teenagers five times. We won twice – once we were all four closing in on Chase, the last survivor. As the inexperienced tag-along, I tried to stay in the middle of the action, drawing fire from the others, letting them sneak around on the outside. In one battle I was the last grownup to be killed, and in another I was next to last out. Only once was I first out, and even then the battle had been going on for a while. Worn out, the turkey tasted better that night. We sat around and chatted into the evening.

Saturday most everyone left early for the Clemson / Carolina game, so we slept in and took our time packing. On the way home we stopped by the Dekalb Farmers Market. Ceil shopped while I watched the end of the Tech / Georgia game. Sore, I also watched the USC / ND game and Wake / Maryland games. Consider the career Calvin Johnson could’ve had if he had Booty, Leinhart, or Stafford throwing to him.

Anna was a little under the weather, so Sunday I stayed home with her. I straightened up the house, washed the cars with Matthew, helped Will with homework, and checked on the Wallace’s cats. The kids watched “Annie” and Anna’s American Girl movie.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Uni-Watch Mention!

Was mentioned in the Uni-Watch Blog today, thanks to this email...

Over a year ago we swaped a few emails regarding my quest to identify when the Braves wore thick, large, red names on their backs. I finally found a few jerseys in the Braves museum at Turner Field, and the curator said they were from around 1963.

Your recent Uni-Watch blog link to complete sets of scanned baseball cards made me think of this again. I made my way to the 1964 Topps set and started scrolling. There are several examples, starting with Eddie Matthews (35) and Ty Cline (171). Keep scrolling to find more...the best example is 351, Don Schnieder. Also 218.

There are other great examples of recent discussions, including windbreakers under unis. I always remember seeing this on old 1960 era baseball cards...454 is Tommy Aaron, also 412 Ray Culp. Juan Marachal (280) wore his windbreaker inside out!

Also great old gloves (123), and dig the classic poses - even managers with hands to their mouths...hollering instructions. Many players wearing glasses...247 is Richie Allen. Lee Walls (411) has a brown batting glove. 321 shows the Houston Colt 45s wore the Texas state flag patch.

Jim Bouton, Tony LaRussa (244), Tim McCarver, Lou Pinella, Don Zimmer (134), Tony C (287), and many more. A great set. Card 498 shows a navy Senators cap with red piping. 356 is Chico Ruiz, 326 is Casey Stengel. Dave DeBusschire is 247.

Striped socks...224 and 221. I could go on and on!

Ball Blows Another One

Once again Reggie Ball found a way to lose the botching that first and goal. That second-down pass to Calvin was off, like many first half passes. The fumble resulting in the TD. Slipping on the two-point play. Game ending INT. Thankfully only two more games - probably losses.

The WRs haven't helped...drops by both Johnsons, Dunlap stepping out of bounds before getting the first. Kick returners standing there with the ball. Offensive lineman jumping. I can't type enough to keep with the mistakes. The Tech D gives up eight points - one touchdown. The offense was pittiful.

On the other hand freshman Matt Stafford showed what a real QB can do.

Didn't take the SEC replay official long to "review" the fumble recovery/touchdown by UGA. Both a Tech and UGA player were on the appeared the UGA player had recovered, the 43 hollered for his teammate to give him the ball. The ball should've been down at that point. Unbelievable. Perhaps when I see the replay 50 times I'll change my mind.

That play I saw. In the first half there were two pass interference calls right in front of the refs that weren't called, according to the radio.

Trusting God

I should trust God more to provide for my needs. Earlier Friday afternoon I pulled out a scrap of paper with notes I had jotted down from a parents meeting at Will’s Living Science Academy.

Lance and Penny Davis founded Living Science, and the school has blossomed due to their dreams, prayers, and faith. Kids love “Mrs. D” like they love very few teachers in their lives, and it’s easy to see why. Lance is a great example to me as a man of God as well as a fine Christian husband. Watching and listening to him in action makes me want to spend more time with him, and this moved me to take notes…which I should do more often. At the meeting he summarized their life together.

My notes read…“we lived through a terrorist uprising in Zimbabwe. God found a way to get us to the USA. The move to Georgia was on faith, only to be in the center of God’s will, our assurance was by faith…As for our finances…we never lived for the month-end check…what God orders, God pays for…I asked God to grow my faith…God looks at the heart. Our future is unknown…but planned by God.”

Living Science would be a great place to teach! It’s not just science…they have many other subjects like English, Drama, and some foreign languages. Will is really being challenged with all the book reports, projects, and presentations he has to do this year.

Physically, the Murphy’s need God’s help and provision with a house that’s starting to show its age, inside and out. Our van is no spring chicken either, but has held together so far.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Four Things I Learned About The Mick

Read in SI about that new Mantle book by Mickey Herskowitz?
Learned four interesting things:

1. Mantle was posing for pictures with characters from Disneyland. When the photographer asked Goofy to move to the right, Mantle slid over.

2. During a break on a radio show, Mantle asked Paul Simon why the line from Mrs. Robinson (where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?) wasn’t about him. Simon, a Mantle fan, said the syllables weren’t right.

3. Mantle had a great knuckleball…once broke the nose of rookie catcher Jay Gibbs on the sidelines.

4. Son David attended an old-timers game at Arlington Stadium where Mantle received an extended ovation. David was so moved he called it “a defining moment.”


Monday night I happened to stay up and watch Letterman. I was still up and remembered Seinfeld was the guest. They started talking about Michael Richards, and Jerry said he had spoken with him earlier in the day, and convinced him to appear on the show. He appeared from LA via video and looked very contrite and subdued…Richards was very apologetic, saying what he did was wrong, and that what he did had no place anywhere. He was quiet but rambled a little, and the entire segment became more uncomfortable. When it was over Jerry looked at Dave and said something like “what do you want to talk about now?”

Dan Patrick was also on, but hardly got any air time. He rarely wears a wedding ring, but said his wife cuts off cable TV for one month every year when school starts…which makes it tough on Dan, considering the business he’s in. He said instead he takes the kids to Hooters. I thought they might discuss the Mora Senior comments, but there was no time. Patrick has been at ESPN 18 years. I remember driving to work every day, knowing what time to tune in to Patrick on 96 Rock, talking to Chris Rude…the whole crew dragging out the word “Smoooollltz”. him, and George is a good guy for him to hang with.

Monday Afternoon one of the ladies in our neighborhood had left a message for Will to rake her yard. Will did the wrong yard, and had to do the right yard yesterday morning. Perhaps he’ll get paid for the other yard…another of his customers.

Will’s weekend was more exciting than mine. After working with George Friday, we went to Joel Norman’s basketball game Saturday, and stayed for several games. After the Hawks game he spent the night at the Normans and went to church with them. Then they went over to another friend’s house all afternoon, getting home after me…around 7:30. Those were the days.

While in Macon I started jotting down all the places Ceil and I have gone together…if you average it out, we’ve taken about 1-1/2 trips per year…not including stays at the in-laws or work trips. Not bad for a couple of non-travelers. Today I checked…I have 3 more vacation days…only one is spoken for, just after Christmas.

Watching Basketball With the Guys

Don’t know if I’ve ever seen a GT team make so many inside shots. Supposedly they beat Purdue with three-pointers, but against Memphis they distained the outside shot and continuously worked it inside. Seemed like the refs were calling a foul on ever possession - everyone was in foul trouble for both teams. Memphis had a guy foul out with ten minutes to go.

Nice to see Tech play under control so much, especially considering their youth. In contrast, Memphis was throwing up wild three-pointers when there was plenty of time to run the offense. On defense they also fouled often, creating numerous three-point plays for Tech. Tech was lucky against the Memphis press…having a hard time dribbling up or making short passes, instead repeatedly resorting to more dangerous longer passes.

Tech went from 19 down before halftime to over 11 up…a swing of over 30 points. I’d like to see one of Reid’s running scoresheets from that game.

I had been upstairs cleaning up during the first half, before going to pick up Will at the Ewings. Before leaving I had called, but no one answered. Voicemail picked up…still with Jenny’s voice. Jim answered the door, and we sat down with George and John Hoffer to watch the last 13 minutes. GT had already cut the deficit to seven. Earlier in the day Jim had been bird hunting near Jasper, a work related function.

We marveled at the number of Tech fans at the game. I learned one of our Atlanta salesmen, Tom Bowling, played basketball for Tech years ago, and was spending the week in Maui with his wife. This Saturday morning they arrive back at Hartsfield, and are driving straight to Athens. Supposedly he goes to most all GT sporting events, home and away.

Late Tuesday afternoon Ceil ran into Susan Coley and wound up keeping Houston and Haviland. Anna was at a friend’s, but Matthew did a good job playing with both of them. Houston is about the same as always. Haviland is almost as cute as Charlotte. Bryan and Susan were picking them up when I got home. Bryan is so busy with ArtWithin, traveling, etc. that he no longer does much at Buckhead Church, and they’re not even in a small group. Susan was in a women’s group.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Top Ten Reasons the Falcons are Losing

Fans are quick to list one or two reasons why they say the Falcons are losing. It’s a little more complex than that. In no particular order…
10. Injuries to Key Personnel. Every team has injuries, and Atlanta has been hit as hard as anyone. Jets fans are laughing, regarding the oft-injured John Abraham signing. TE Algie Crumpler has aches and pains, and long gone is WR Brian Finneran…one of Vick’s favorite targets. Rookie RB Jerious Norwood. But the Ravens had almost as many, includind a guy named Lewis…and are what, 8 – 2?
9. Coaching Staff. Fans are more ready to fire the coaches than blame higher paid players. Should coaches have to motivate NFL players? Game plans are another matter. Greg Knapp’s scripted plays gained an average over 4 yards per play, but later unscripted plays averaged much less. Once the number one rushing team in the league, now Knapp wants to throw. To placate the QB’s feelings? Keep Mora, fire Knapp.
8. Receivers drop passes. Some say it’s Vick’s fault, that he throws too hard. Excuse? Finneran could catch Vick’s passes. They’re not all bazooka shots. Still, there’s blame to spread around here.
7. Vick’s Leadership Skills. How many other successful QB’s sit alone on the bench? Sure he’s tired and takes a beating…perhaps more than any other QB (17 hits from Raven defenders). But the nature of the position demands a leader…the toughest position in sports for a reason. Which brings us to…
6. Vick’s Lifetime Contract. Might as well play him, since Blank is paying him all that money…right? Peachtree Bart was benched, and it made him a much better QB. Is it political? Do they play Vick to keep the fans happy? I hope Mora has a deal with Blank to keep his job.
5. Offensive Line. Draft picks are spent on WRs and DBs instead of protecting Vick, who continues to get hit and sacked.
4. GM Rich McKay. Many say it’s folly to use first round picks on WRs (unless you’re Calvin Johnson)...that receivers picked in later rounds can be just as productive. Hey, that’s the way most fantasy drafts work.
3. Vick’s Fumbles. QBs fumble more than any other position, mostly due to blindside hits. UGA freshman Matthew Stafford broke into the open against Auburn, didn’t protect the ball, and had it knocked loose. Later in the game he was running with both hands on the ball. If Stafford can learn, why can’t Vick? Many of his fumbles have come when he took off on scrambles.
2. The Defense has to do too much. It’s hard to win when you’re averaging 12 points a game. A defense already worn thin from injury is asked to pick up an offense that just threw an interception or fumbled, giving the opponent excellent field position. When this happens over and over, cracks appear in the dam.
1. Players giving less than their maximum effort. I’m sure tackling Jamal Lewis isn’t fun. But pay me the NFL minimum and I’ll do my best. Losing to bottom-dwellers like Detroit and Cleveland should be embarrassing, but after the game players laugh and joke around instead of being mad at themselves. Being old school, this baffles me.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Basketball Notes

Will went to the Hawks – Heat game Saturday…Katherine took Joel, Charles, and Will. Like Saturday, there was at least one game last season in Atlanta that Shaq sat out. Will said he wasn’t even there, which is unusual.

See where Lefty Driesell has two nephews that walked-on…one at Tech and one at Georgia State? How does one walk on, or try out? I know a freshman at Tech who wanted to walk on, but he said they didn’t have tryouts this fall. What should he do? John Hoffer played for the “Flight” team in high school…coached by former NBA player Ronaldo Lamb. John’s younger brother looks like a normal kid, but starts for the Flight 9th grade team…as well as the JV and varsity. Several locals walked on at UGA recently and got to see considerable PT.

Will wore my old two-tone Nike Air Flight high tops all weekend…guess they’re his new favorite shoes. Wednesday he wore some Nike Shox…so after wearing the new $100.00 adidas microrides once or twice, they’ve sat since then. I’ve got to get over it. Thursday we’ll play football in SC, and Friday he’ll play paintball…I’ll skip that, and work on my spreadsheet of games I’ve attended. I still have over 8 years to review.

My sister is big into tennis, instructing and refereeing in Macon…in the past she’s applied to be an official at the US Open, but was never selected. She was an Olympic volunteer at the tennis venue…gave me an unopened can of Olympic tennis balls. She played HS basketball back in the 6-girl days, where you had 2 on offense, 2 on defense, and 2 rovers.

Reid says, “I go back further than that. They first had 3 offense, and 3 defense with NO rovers, then they started allowing 1 to rove. My dad used to take me to see the Sports Arena Blues play on Sunday afternoons at the old Sports Arena.”

Mom had rotator cuff surgery Thursday in Macon and came home Saturday. They thought they’d just have to scrape bone spurs, but the whole thing was torn. Dad is 75 and stuff like yard work wears him out. I went Saturday morning and spent the night. My brother is going next weekend.

Haven’t sent my position paper to my sister about Christmas, though writing it helped get the argument straight in my head. I discussed it with my mom several days ago. My sister does do so much, taking care of my parents and her in-laws (her mother-in-law has been in a coma for over a year). She turned 50 this year. That’s what’s tugging on me…to some extent I’d like to make the effort as a gift for her. Perhaps I’ll take off that Friday.

Tech / UGA Buildup

AJC headline…Georgia fan says, "I could live with going 1-10 as long as the one win is against Tech." Based on the heat on Richt this season, there are many UGA fans that do not share this view.

Since Tech did so well against mighty Duke (as they should have), that bodes bad going into the UGA game…there will be many GT players with the big head, and they won’t be as hungry as they should be. Today’s headline says they’re ‘confident’, which usually translates into ‘over-confident’ at Tech. Fortunately UGA’s nice win over Auburn will have the same result…just not to the same degree. Tech’s defense will be tough, but the UGA defense can very well shut down Reggie Ball, which would shut down Calvin Johnson. A UGA win would not surprise me at all.

Caleb King committed to UGA, so Damon is happy here. King will have to spend a year getting his grades up at a place like Hargrove, but next year UGA has their 3 good backs back…plus they have the NJ redshirting that was a top recruit.

I’m not that crazy about Davies…Glavine would be expensive. I’ll have to stay with Schuerholz and Cox wanting to go out with a bang.

Friday we had small group. Ceil is in the Christmas shopping mode, though historically you know we let things slide to the last minute. Perhaps soon we’ll get the kids pictures taken near the Pink Pig for a card, at which we’re also bad.

Will is working with George Ewing again. Will has been working hard on his English class he takes with Joel Norman. There are lots of book reports and he has two assignments due around December 12th…tough for an active boy like him, but he’s starting to get the ball rolling.

The Normans were looking around for a new church home and visited several area churches, and seem to have settled on the little East Cobb Presbyterian not far from us, where Will goes on Wednesday nights. There are several other Living Science families there and other people we know...Will's baseball coach just started attending there as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Good Old Days

As a kid going to Falcon games, one of my favorites was QB Bob Berry, who played here from 69 – 73 or so. I was 10 – 14 and was eating up Falcon football. He led them to their first winning season. He certainly wasn’t the greatest, but was usually among the league leaders in completion percentage. Went to the Pro Bowl in 1969, when Van Brocklin coached and took several Falcons. Uni-Watch had a link to photos of the 1971 starting QBs, which included Berry. He always had this double bar face mask that was comically huge in relation to his helmet. In the 1969 photo the mask is large, but in later years he got one even bigger. I searched for more photos with no luck…but did find a link to him…now a real estate agent in Colorado. I plan on writing him a short email, asking for info on his facemask.

Here’s the link...a quote from the Uni-Watch Blog...

Football historian Mark Bolding, whose excellent web site was spotlighted here two weeks ago, has added a new section to his site, focusing on starting QBs at various points in NFL history. Among the visual highlights: a good look at the Packers’ 1950 jersey; the Rams in canary yellow; the Saints wearing heavily white-outlined uni numbers (and dig all those stripes!); the Eagles’ double sleeve stripes; Joe Namath wearing a knee pad outside his pants; and the Broncos in red pants. The full section is available here. … Well, this sure didn’t take long (you can order your own here). …

This last link is a takeoff t-shirt of the D’backs new red-trimmed unis. I also spotted an error from 1971…the Saints photo link lists #14 as Billy Kilmer (who was 17). Instead, Ed Hargett was 14. Readers also deemed the red Bronco pants to be orange…though they did seem more red to me back in the days of Floyd Little.

Last night I researched 2007 schedules for SF and Oakland (and Boston). The SF web site already has the all-star game logo up, which includes a ball splashing into the Cove. The A’s site has info on their new stadium plans, which is similar to SD. On the BoSox site I checked out photos of rookie outfielder David Murphy, who was called up in September and played 20 games for the big club …only 23 ABs…hit one HR, but didn’t hit .240.

Bob Berry in 1969

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Longhorns Season Recap

This fall was one of the more fun baseball seasons at Mt. Paran. So much so, please indulge me as I recap some memories of the season.

Henry did a great job teaching, and you could see improvement in every boy. We’ve not had the privilege of having Henry for a coach Will much, and it’s great how he challenges the boys as well makes things fun. He made moves that I would’ve never considered, but they usually worked out well, and the boys were better individuals and baseball players for it.

We had a great set of parents as well, with concerned moms and dads willing to jump in and help out.
Even the brothers and sisters were great to have around, even running around the field and helping out with practice.

So many of these Longhorns had played together in Bronco and were just moving up for their first season of Pony…a big adjustment. But because of parental involvement and hard work by the boys, hopefully the “kiddie corps” had one of their most fulfilling seasons.

Christian’s smile and great attitude showed from the first practice. Henry put a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, batting him second in the order and placing him at many important positions in the field, many that he had never played before. This strengthened our defense and allowed other boys to play featured roles as well. Christian responded by ranking as one of the top offensive players on the team, and came through with many clutch hits to drive in key runs. The Amlands always had a positive word for everyone.

I had never seen John Fulton play, though I’d seen his dad coach for several seasons. I quickly learned that JF doesn’t back down and plays aggressive ball, both at the plate and in the field. It’s great to have players like JF who know how to play several positions. According to Paul’s and my scorecards, JF pitched six innings without allowing a single run, striking out 3 and walking only one. Having George coach first also improved the team, as that’s not exactly my forte.

Michael also knows his way around the diamond, and confidently made many great plays in the field and at the plate. Pressure situations didn’t faze him, and he is a knowledgeable and confident baserunner. His memory is always better than mine, and it was fun to chat about Mt. Paran games from years past that Will and I were a part of, when I didn’t realize Michael was there, taking it all in. Frank often had timely tips for all the boys, and I thought his Gatorade always tasted great.

Josiah was another of the kiddie corps you could tell enjoyed playing, who confidentially and aggressively played the game. He loved to run the bases, and made some wonderful plays at third base, charging and backhanding slow rollers before firing to first. David’s magnetic chart was a big hit, and he was a big help keeping things organized.

It was also easy to see that Joey loved baseball. He too was unafraid to try anything, and was a better hitter because he always was looking for a hit. His hits (and some outs) were amazing to watch. Though he liked to hit low pitches, he had a good idea of the strike zone…taking his share of walks. Don had many great insights and tips…I learned a bunch – and was lots of fun as well.

Bradford has played so long at Mt. Paran…he could be the poster boy! He always has fun, and can play just about every position, including pitcher and catcher, which helps a bunch. Bob is another dad who helps a lot…at practice he usually beat me to the outfield.

In addition to the kiddie corps, Jonathan and Paul were returning to baseball after taking some time off. Jonathan’s fine athletic ability showed up particularly at the plate, where he had as many true base hits as anyone on the team. This gave him his share of RBIs and placed him in the upper half of the stats. One of my favorite things about Jonathan was when something good or funny happened, and his mouth would widen and turn up on one side into a smile, which you could also see in his eyes. We couldn’t have gotten half our practice work done without his dad, whose smile you didn’t have to look hard for.

Paul was on the Shetland Braves with Will back in the fall of 1998…our first season at Mt. Paran. Big Paul did a great job as team dad back then as well. They’ve played together many times since. So after taking a few seasons off, it was great to be back together with the Lovallos, to see how Paul has grown from a little boy into a young man (like they all have!). And even after taking time off, Paul was able to use his athletic ability to be one of the team’s leading hitters and RBI men.

After playing a couple of seasons in Pony, I knew Russell was ready to help lead the team. Henry batted him leadoff, and Russell responded by being near the top in on- base percentage, hits, total bases, and runs scored. He led the team with the most walks and fewest strikeouts. I’ll always remember him charging toward home on the perfectly executed suicide squeeze play. He did the lion’s share of catching and pitched an effective 7 innings, striking out 10 and walking only three. Rick has been such great help in the dugout and at practices in past seasons, but gracefully let other dads help this time.

For years I’ve loved watching Curtis Baker play and improve. Though quiet, he loves to patrol the outfield…but has never shied away from playing hard wherever a coach put him. My favorite play of the year was Curtis playing third-base, diving flat out to his left to make a Brooks Robinson like catch of a line drive. He quietly put together a good season at the plate. Curtis has pitched in the past, but this season became the number one starter, pitching a team leading 14 innings. He struck out 14 and walked only seven, threw an excellent 65% strikes…averaging 18 pitches/inning & 3.3 pitches/batter – wonderful numbers, besting both Will and David. One game Curtis threw 65 pitches over 4 innings…and said he could’ve pitched more.

Henry’s strategy of playing all the boys in key positions, particularly pitcher and catcher, freed up David and Will to play shortstop and other positions in the field…a wonderful luxury. But this wouldn’t have been possible had the whole team not came through. David’s contributions went much further than what showed on the box score…positioning teammates on defense, even noticing things before coaches and dads. He led the team in assists. On one memorable late-season play, a soft grounder was hit between the mound and second base…one of those where only an all out effort would get the out at first. Will and Curtis hesitated, but David charged in from his second-base position to make the fine play. At the plate Henry often called on him to bunt, and it seemed like more than any other Longhorn, the balls he hit unluckily found the opponent’s glove.

Will enjoys catching, and pitching makes him a better ballplayer (as much as it raises my blood pressure). But since he’s pitched and caught so much, those innings playing other positions this fall was a great, needed experience. Like Curtis, you know he loves to dive and get dirty…just look at my car. I was proud of the way he hustled and played hard, and his head’s up triple play will be remembered for a long time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dr. Denmark Update, etc.

Becky Norman got Ceil to take our kids to Dr. Denmark…see the article?

Seems like Schuerholz would really manage things just like he always does. You don’t think he’s any more desperate, or perhaps he and Cox want to go out with a bang next year. We do have lots of middle infielders, so Giles could indeed go. You’d think he’d concentrate on the pen, and perhaps one more big bat, as opposed to relievers. But perhaps he’ll be more willing to open the minor league cupboard this time to better stock the roster. They should keep Salty, but he won’t make the big club out of spring training, after the 2006 he had. But would they trade Horacio?

People say that about needing a “true leadoff hitter” when Furcal more often swung for the fences. He was usually not 100%. They also forget that usually a leadoff hitter only leads off one or two innings a game.

I was tuned in to all the buildup about Cremins' return, but missed the recap yesterday and today. He's been in Sports Illustrated and everything. Probably not worthy of a Lang article yet. I wonder if Lang went to the Hip Hop Awards at the Fox…I hear he was in town.

Sunday night on Sports South they followed the Hawaii football team as they traveled to Atlanta, practiced at Tech, and played in Tuscaloosa...Jerry Glanville and June Jones were the main characters. June is so laid back that he probably enjoys having Glanville around to command all the attention, so June can sit back and scheme for the offense.

Have y'all tried the Boneheads restaurant? Several locations, with one in Peachtree Battle. My co-worker likes it, and I was wondering if it was any good. A place my in-laws might like…I’m not big on seafood. Reid says “It's Boneheads, and it is one of our standards. You have to like fish and spicey food, but we have eaten there probably 15-20 times. And rather cheap. Speaking of cheap, 5 Guys in Lindberg Station has THE best hamburgers. They only sell 3 things, hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries many different ways. Very family oriented, and all the free peanuts (shelled) you can eat. We have eaten there probably 5 times.”

Clark Howard says that since Wal-Mart wasn’t doing so good, that they have already started offering black Friday specials. You may already know this…check the circulars, or this web site may talk about it as well. I think other stores are having other similar early sales.

The Avenue sent out an email telling when Santa would arrive. He would be accompanied by “Howie the Hanukah clown”

KidStuf was great when we first started…with Bryan Coley and other real actors who made it good. Then they started to repeat, and newer characters weren’t as good. This year two of the original actors are running things, and it’s better than ever. They recently told a Bible story using a Queen rock opera.

Football Drives Me Crazy!

I am still hung up how teams can get fired up and play well against good teams, then lose to bad teams. Do bad teams like Detroit and Cleveland only rise up and play well against average teams, but not the excellent teams? Or is what separates excellent teams from average teams the fact that excellent teams usually beat who they’re supposed to beat…the bad teams and average teams…even though most everyone is fired up to give them a good game?

Coaching has something to do with it. The players have to have it inside as well. Some say it’s hard to get up for every game. Maybe not MLB or NBA, but in football, why not? If you only play 16 games in 365 days, seems like you ought to be ready. Sure, everyone has an off day, but with all the coaches in press boxes, etc, adjustments ought to be made. I like what the Showtime Lakers used to do. Before the season started, they took out the schedule and marked down which games they had to win…against bad teams, the first games of back to back games, etc. Their plan was to win the games they were supposed to. They’d be naturally fired up against the better opponents and play hard, and they’d win their share.

The Colts and Patriots win most of their games. It’s hard to win them all, but rarely do they lose to bottom-feeders. They win despite the fact everyone is fired up to play them. Same with Ohio State, USC, and Michigan. The Bears are flawed…not a good offense. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady most often overcome dropped passes to win games…and rarely fumble when the game’s on the line. Once yesterday Vick scrambled left for a first down. On the replay I noticed an open receiver that Vick should’ve been able to see…a completion would’ve resulted in about 5 more yards. But perhaps Vick was tired of receivers dropping balls, and he wanted to make sure they got the first down. If so, good for him.

When you judge an NFL season, how much do you factor injuries? Every team has them, just some more than others.

Louisville beats WVa in an emotional home game, then a week later loses an emotional road game to Rutgers. Clemson beats GT, then loses to VT and Maryland. Good teams…someone must lose. I hate the stupid mistakes…jumping offsides as the kicker misses the FG. At least they were gunning to block to kick.

GT wins a squeaker over UNC. The defense played well, but unless Tech gets the offense going, they’ll have a tough time against UGA and Wake…two teams that looked are good Saturday. Lose those two and they can’t expect a good bowl game (though doesn’t the ACC loser go the Chick-fil-A Bowl?). Wake looks ready…I think they’ll beat out Maryland and BC. Tech would have a hard time with all three. Maryland has improved since GT beat them.

Nice win by UGA…good pressure by the defense, take the lead, then run clock and not make mistakes. The GT/UGA game could turn out similarly. Stafford ran down the field and didn’t take care of the ball…fumble. But next time he covered the ball. At least someone learned.

Top Ten Reasons Bob Barker Is Retiring

10.Drops his pants every time he hears, "Come on down!"
9.Contestants couldn't concentrate on pricing with that "old man smell"
8.35 years of exposure to Turtle Wax has taken a toll on his body
7.Show taping conflicts with the early-bird specials at Shoney's
6.At his age, he really belongs on "60 Minutes"
5.Giving useless crap away to white trash not so fulfilling anymore
4.Backstage vodka no longer deadens pain of annoying Plinko game
3.Dogs and cats are now extinct
2.Needs to stay focused on his quest to nail Britney Spears
1.CBS decided two creepy old guys were too much

Friday, November 10, 2006

Colt League Leadoff Hitter

Will’s Colt League team lost last night to a team comprised mostly of the Kell High School varsity baseball team. The game was played in the fog at the old field in downtown Acworth. At times the fog was so thick you could barely see the outfielders.

Will batted in the leadoff spot, and started the game by walking on a full count. He checked his swing on a pitch in the dirt as the ball bounced a couple of steps away from the catcher. Will immediately took off for first base and barely beat the throw, but the umpire had called it ball four anyway. While on first another pitch bounced back to the backstop, though not that far away. Will hustled to second and barely beat the catcher’s strong throw (in the second inning the catcher threw out a Mt. Paran runner attempting the same thing). Willy walked to load the bases, but the next two batters failed to push any runs across. Will had one chance to score on a passed ball, but didn’t want to risk it.

Kell scored three in the bottom of the first. Playing second-base the entire game, Will charged a two-out grounder and made a strong, quick throw to first to end the inning.

In the second inning Will came up with one out and a runner on third. On a 3 – 1 pitch he pulled a hard grounder in the hole between the shortstop and third-baseman, driving in the runner to bring his team within a run. While on first base Will chatted with the first-baseman, who said he was a senior in high school. The next two hitters struck out to end the inning.

The big pitcher led off the bottom of the second and smashed a sinking line drive just to Will’s side the bag. It looked to be a sure hit, but Will raced to his right and tried to scoop the ball, getting a piece of it. He quickly chased the ball down in the outfield grass and made a long underhanded flip to first, coming close to getting the batter.

Will had no other balls hit to him, though later he almost was able to throw a batter out at third, on a relay from a ball hit into the rightfield corner. He also had some other good plays as the secondary backup to third, on balls hit deep to the outfield.

Little Men

Matthew has been making these little paper men and clothes for them…and suitcases in the shape of the clothes. One guy has an afro wig, and a headband for the afro. Don’t know where he saw this. He also continues to be prolific with drawings of vehicles, spaceships, contraptions, machines…and people, animals, fish, and aliens running them.

Tonight we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Saturday I’ll run errands, then we’re going to our neighbor’s engagement party in Decatur.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

October Golf Photo

Me, Darryl, Scott, and Spence.

Trader Joe's

Have y’all been to Trader Joe’s? The one in Roswell / Crossville Road has opened, and Ceil went there yesterday for the first time, and liked it. The East Cobb store will be very convenient, except actually turning into the shopping center. My co-worker that used to live in Seattle, who just moved down to Lindbergh, said they loved Trader Joes. The closest one to them will be Sandy Springs.

Will’s game last night was rained out…perhaps they’ll play Thursday or Friday.

My mom is having shoulder surgery next week and the recovery is supposed to take two months. My sister is stressed, because she has to do everything, since my brother and I live up here. She does do everything, but I may be spending a few weekends in Macon…just in time for the holidays. My sister is spending the week before Christmas in a St. George’s island rental, and wants everyone to come down Dec 22 – 24…three of Ceil’s most stressful days of the year, as we are never ready for the holidays. I have to work that Friday, so if we went, we’d leave in that traffic and arrive around midnight. Then Sunday morning we’d pack up and drive straight to SC (if we could pack everything in our van). Perhaps New Year’s will be peaceful…looks like Clemson has played their way out of the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

These wins for the Hawks are nice confidence builders. They aren’t the Mets, but the more the Mets won, the easier it was.

We had a problem late yesterday and early this morning with our customer in Athens, Carrier. This morning we called our fabricator in Troy Tenn. (Mapquest it), and their friend is flying them into the Lawrenceville airport, and we’re meeting in Athens this afternoon (not me this time, though). These guys from Troy had tickets to the Series game in StL that was rained out, so they had to get a hotel and stay over until the next day.

On Will’s Pony team this fall he was reunited with an old teammate who had played for years with him. He’s a junior, and it was nice to hang out with his dad this fall. Yesterday when talking to him, he said he recently googled his name, and found a link to my FoxSports blog, where I had mentioned him. He liked it. Paul batted after Will in the order and had knocked in Will several times, which was mentioned in my recaps. I looked, and that wasn’t the first one that popped up.

Notes from the Clemson / Maryland Game

They call Clemson’s entrance, running down the hill after touching Howard’s Rock, “the most exciting 20 seconds in football”. The hill is steep enough that players have to sidestep carefully down the hill…I notice some avoid the orange carpet and run down the grass, just outside the carpet. Perhaps it’s like NASCAR…will anyone fall? Ceil, Anna, Katherine, and I had nice 15 yard line lower level seats, but being near the top row provided a good view of the entire field. We were in the shade the entire game, making the chilly day seem even colder.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led on the video screen by a US soldier in Iraq, from SC, whose family was in the game. Next week they’re honoring the military and having a flyover. Before the game everyone remained standing for about 15 minutes…until Maryland made a first down. The Terps lined up to run their first play on offense…and jumped offsides. Penalties like that drive me crazy. As do Maryland’s red pants without stripes, combined with all black shoes and socks. The look makes them appear much smaller than Clemson, who sport white pants, socks, and shoes. Nike 1; Under Armour 0..

Clemson’s first play was a 60 yard pass/run to Stuckey, their star receiver from Warner Robbins. Then the offense stalled…three plays and out. But Maryland jumped offsides on the FG attempt, giving Clemson three more plays…and a made FG. Maryland copied Virginia Tech’s formula…stuff the run and make Clemson pass. This worked…Will Proctor had three long completions and some easy slants, but nothing of substance.

The Clemson running game produced over 100 yards rushing between the two featured backs, but they couldn’t push it across the goal, settling for four field goals. RB James Davis’ shoulder must’ve still been bothering him. He looks real impressive but only broke off one long run. Many times this year I’ve seen him break into the clear, but most times he is unable to go the distance. Does he lack the finishing speed of Herschel or Bo? Instead of turning on the afterburners, he wants to juke and use angles to outwit defenders…with little success.

I wonder…Will Proctor or Reggie Ball? Proctor is a 5TH year senior, a little more polished than Joe T. at UGA. By the sound of many Clemson fans, Proctor is expected to perform like an All-American. For all of Reggie Ball’s faults, he takes a beating and gets the throw off, which many times is enough for the likes of Calvin Johnson. Ball has surpassed 9,000 yards in total offense, climbing the ranks of the career ACC leaders. That night he would throw four TD passes, increasing his ACC lead. Next year both GT and Clemson have highly touted freshmen QB’s arriving. Clemson’s is a passer who has played a few times on ESPN already. Tech has two QB’s in their class…the more highly touted being in the Reggie Ball mold. Great.

The first replay came with only 2:55 left in the half…a Terp interception is ruled incomplete. Several earlier controversial plays were replayed on the video screen, but not in the booth. Clemson makes good use of the video screen, especially enticing to a young recruit (as opposed to old-school alumni). Players were taped smiling and dancing, encouraging the crowd to make more noise. Hip hop is piped in as well. The orange crowd is in the game, knowing full well to stand and holler when Maryland faces a third down. The band constantly played the dance team song from “The Longest Yard”…quite popular with the students and recruits. You’d think GT would learn a thing or two from Clemson or UGA about attracting athletes, but GT prefers to do it their own way…with results more similar to Clemson than UGA.

Interesting call: Maryland punts deep into Clemson territory, out-of-bounds. A Terp caught the punt at least three yards out-of-bounds, where the white border ended…near the 10-yard line. He did not appear at all to have stretched out and drug his feet in bounds, but the refs spotted the ball on the ten, as opposed to where the ball went out-of-bounds upfield.

As halftime comes to an end I watch the Maryland FG kicker warming up. There’s not much wind, and it’s quite evident his range is barely 45 yards…quite short for a D-1 kicker. Minutes later I notice the Terp kickoff specialist is black. These notes I jot on my pad. Clemson takes the kickoff, completes another long pass to Stuckey, and stalls again after three more plays. The 25 second clock ticks down and Clemson burns a timeout. They decide to go for it, but again run out of time and burn a second TO. They get the first down, only to settle for a FG four plays later. Clemson scored four FGs and kicked off a total of five times. Each time a cannon is fired, which is quite startling. They move the cannon to the opposite end zone, and as the game wore on I came to expect it when Clemson FG unit trotted out. Before one FG I told Ceil to expect the cannon, but she still jumped.

Now deep into the fourth quarter, 10 – 9 Maryland leads. They punt again. From around the ten, Proctor scrambles for a nice gain before being stood up. Before he hits the ground the ball shoots out, flung wildly straight back toward the goal line. A RB runs and dives, grabbing the ball on the one, though his momentum carries him into the end zone. The officials look at each other and finally signal safety, knowing the play will be reviewed. This took a while, as they look at the fumble as well as where the ball was recovered. The safety was correctly overturned, but Clemson was in a hole on the one. Proctor then hit the TE long, out in the open. He rumbled straight down field, and I admired his efficiency. Then he started weaving, making it easier for defenders to tackle him. Better to keep momentum and head straight toward the goal. The eventual TD was called back for illegal formation…the only penalty called on the Clemson offense all day. They then ran clock and kicked, going up 12 – 10.

Maryland burned their final TO after stopping Clemson on third down, to save time and ice the kicker. They took the kickoff and picked their way down the field with short passes. Clemson covered the sidelines, but Maryland was stopping the clock with first downs. How many people knew how little range the Terp kicker had, like I did? A pass was then completed down to the twenty, putting them in range. With the clock running well inside 20 seconds, the QB signaled he would stop the clock…but instead he took the ball and jittered right, moving the ball to the middle of the field. I didn’t think they could line up and get off another play, but when the QB tossed the ball down, the clock still showed two seconds remained. The crowd hollered, but the FG was true.

All of a sudden the crowd was silent, the game over. For the first time all day, cheering could be heard coming from the tiny section of Maryland fans on the far side of the field.

Will's Sunday Colt League Game

Will played with the Mt. Paran Colt Team Sunday night in an Acworth Tournament. The team lost 6 – 1 in five innings, with a good Acworth team scoring one run in two separate innings, and two runs in two other innings.

Will played second-base in innings one, three, and five, and had more assists than anyone on field. With one out in the top of the first the batter chopped a one-hopper to Will’s left. While the ball was high in the air, I remembered a stitch had broken on Will’s glove, creating a hole in the pocket. I had packed his extra glove, but evidentially Will had fixed his favorite mitt he had). The high bounce settled into his glove, and Will made a tough throw to first, still on the run to his left.

In the top of the third Acworth had a runner on third with two out. Down two runs, Mt. Paran needed an out. The batter hit a grounder in the hole between first and second. Will ran to his left and dove, stretching completely vertical. He hit the ground, then turned his head to look for the ball in the outfield. He didn’t see it…he had it in his glove! He quickly got up and threw the batter out at first, saving a run.

Will’s left-handed friend Chris came in to pitch the fifth. He picked three runners off first, but Chad was unable to throw the runners out at second. Later Will was playing close to the bag when the batter grounded a slow roller past the pitcher. Will charged in front of the baserunner and flipped to first. The next batter was a lefty, so Will played him in the hole. But the lefty hit a grounder to Will’s right, and Will made a nice backhanded catch, again throwing out the batter…ending the inning.

At the plate Will was the only one on the team to put the ball in play both times. He led off the third and said he made solid contact…but skied a high popup. The pitcher called for it, but couldn’t handle the catch. Will took second on a wild pickoff attempt, and raced to third on a wild pitch, but three batters struck out to end the threat.

Acworth changed pitchers in the fourth after a bases loaded walk brought home Chad, who had led off the inning with a long single that one-hopped the fence in right-center. Chad’s father had just said he’d like to see him get hold of one, and he did. The centerfielder played the ball quickly off the fence and fired to second, making extra bases impossible. The new pitcher had a nice goatee, and after throwing two fastballs that Will Grey couldn’t handle, broke off three straight curves to strike him out. Will Murphy came up and made contact on the first pitch, but popped out to deep second. The pitcher then struck out Willie and Nathan.

Other notes from the game: The mighty Willy Bartlett actually had an ordinary game. He led off the bottom of the first with a walk and promptly stole second on the first pitch, but was stranded at third. Later he chased a two-strike curve that tailed out of the strike zone, then tipped another third strike that the catcher hung on to. He threw out two batters on grounders to short, before moving to centerfield.

These 15 – 18 year olds play some good baseball. Starting pitcher Nathan Noel pitched admirably, then at shortstop made a bases-loaded double play to save at least two runs. With the infield in, a low line drive was hit to Nathan’s right. On his knee he backhanded it just off the ground, then quickly flipped to third to double off the runner.

Even when the ball was hit into the rightfield corner, a quick relay almost got the runner at third. The relay was off the mark…but the alert leftfielder was there backing up the play. Playing centerfield, Chad almost threw out the batter at second on a ball hit to the fence.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Ceil's Birthday

I was off yesterday, so I have a lot of catching up to do...including writing recaps on the weekend, Clemson game, and Will's game. Didn’t break out the laptop all weekend, except to listen to the end of the GT game Saturday night…something I’ve never done before.

Yesterday I was helping Will with a book report. He has to re-write another book report for next week, and has two more book reports due in 5 weeks. The toothpick bridge isn't due until February, but I want to see past examples of good bridges first...the bridge has to withstand a weighted load to see how well it was built.

Went to Jalisco's and Lenox last night for Ceil's birthday. I see they're building another Peachtree high-rise pretty close to SPdL. The Pink Pig opened this past weekend. We parked next to it, and no one was there at 7:45 pm, just the employees. Not like the old days on top of the downtown store…now it’s in a heated tent. We may go back to shoot a Christmas Card photo. At Jalisco’s we were seated next to two of Jimmy Ewing’s cousins/roommates, so we had a chat.

Will doesn’t like the white adidas that came from Coke. He likes the shoes, but not the white/blue…and I’m having a hard time finding them anywhere to swap. I hate it when you get kids shoes that they don’t wear. Around the house during the cold months I wears these neon yellow Reebok pump running shoes that I bought on a whim, on sale, on my birthday several years ago. I hardly wear them out, except perhaps to Kroger or a movie, though I did run the Peachtree in them one year (I try to wear a different pair every year). Yesterday Will picked up the shoes, perhaps interested in wearing them. Guess I’ll let him.

That Falcons game was exactly what gets me about football, what I was trying to say last week. Old-school Jeff Van Note was saying on the radio that at the pro level the coaches can only motivate so much…that the players have to motivate themselves. Some say you can’t get up for every game, which may be true…but hey, it’s only 16 games a year…why not? How many games do you play in a career? Not many, compared to how many days and weeks you live.

I’m sure Wes Durham had fun finished the GT game in Raleigh after 11 pm, then traveling to Detroit for the 1 pm game the next day.

Interesting Bradley column today with some truth to it. Since Bradley came from Kentucky years ago, no surprise he went back to cover the game. More heat on Richt. Being a kicker guy, the poor performance by Andy Bailey is interesting. Also will be fun to see how the punter does with the kicking…at least he won’t be rattled by the circumstances.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sports Illustrated

The SI article on Andre Agassi was pretty interesting. That's why I like the SI articles...they delve so much deeper than most other publications. It was in the July 17th issue with the Mets on the cover...I'm up to date on the recent SI's, and now I'm working my way backwards. That Mets article wasn’t too bad either. The way that GM operates, you almost want to root for them. It’s always easier when you’ve got money to throw at players.

You know I’m all over the cost of SI. That’s about the cheapest I’ve seen as well…I usually re-up for 20 issues at a time, though recently the cost has gone up slightly…from a low of perhaps even 50 cents an issue (usually .65 – .75) to a high of around a dollar. I’m going from memory…that’s one thing I don’t track! I’ve seen the inducements for the auto-resubscribe but figured there were disadvantages to that. Same with the AJC, though I’ve let my weekend subscription lapse…instead picking up a Sunday paper here or there.

Since Greg Maddux filed as a free agent, does that not mean that he can’t re-sign with LA until May? Where do you think he will end up. Considering the 2006 he had, he should get a few offers. Will he be able to sign with SD, LA, or Arizona, like he wishes? Interesting about the Glavine negotiations…knowing the Mets aren’t afraid to spend and the state of their pitching staff, he has them where he wants them. Is he the one the Mets don’t want to get away to the Red Sox?

For some reason I thought that GT punter went to my high school. He did go to the private school a block from my house, so my dad probably saw him play…I’ll see if he remembers him. Interesting AJC article today, but as a football player he’s probably getting ribbed now about the fox hunting. Hopefully he won’t have a bad game now that he got the big write-up, like Calvin. Several times lately I’ve heard Calvin referred to as a senior, when in fact he’s a junior. Do they mean this is his last season at Tech?

Any more thoughts about the Hawks, after opening night? They have the youngest team in the NBA. A dad of one of Will’s former teammates was talking about the NBA refs Sunday…turns out he works for Atlanta Spirit LLC. The Hawks’ web site says they need an accountant, by the way. Not much else going on...watched some TNT last night...guess there no close-ups of Ernie on purpose. I was just looking at our hoop, thinking it was time to start shooting again...Will is so competitive!

Lang is coming in town for a shoe show next week or week after next and is being housed at The Twelve, a new fancy hotel in Atlantic Station. Lang’s recent article on Vick had a thought similar to what I had recently said…thanks to his contract, the Falcons are “stuck” with him for a while. Hopefully Vick will continue to play like he did last week. This would be a good year…there’s not that many strong NFC teams. The Seahawks may do well when Hasselback and Alexander come back from injuries, well rested and not banged up…and charge through the playoffs like the Cards.

We are driving up to Greenville to spend the night. The game is at noon. Ceil’s brother is like me, likes to get to the game early…we have to meet him down in Anderson at 9 am. Could be chilly in the upper deck…guess I can’t wear my old red Nationals cap, which could be construed as a Maryland fan. I told Will he couldn’t wear Under Armour, since the Terps are sponsored by them. There had been a chance that Will could've played in a Colt Tourney, but it doesn’t start until Sunday.

My coworker just moved from Flowery Branch to a new condo where Lindbergh Plaza used to be, with walking distance of that Home Depot and a new Target, as well as the MARTA station. They like Mexican, so I told him about Jalisco's. They take their dog to Piedmont Park every weekend, and go to movies at Atlantic Station instead of Lenox or Phipps.

Wednesday the two alpha women in the office were out…and Damon decided we needed to rearrange some office furniture and throw out junk. We all received an invitation to the Sales Division Christmas dinner at Forgo de Chaos – a first for our department. Last year we did go out with the Division VP.

Yesterday I drove the van to work. After everyone else left at 5 pm, I realized I didn’t have a key to lock the door. I had to go out the back door and leave the alarm off. I’m just waiting for the day I come to work and leave my laptop at home.


Will went over to the Normans to trick-or-treat. That was no surprise, since Tuesdays he sees them at his science and English classes. Will has other friends on Wednesdays and Thursdays. He dressed as a Clemson fan, because he had the outfit. Anna was a detective. Ceil sewed a topcoat for her because Ceil likes to sew Halloween costumes. Anna wore one of my grandfather's old business hats, like men used to wear to day baseball games. She got hot quickly and shed the coat. Matthew was Peter from The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe. Ceil made him a red tunic with a lion on it the looked pretty good. He came home barefoot...Ceil carrying his Crocs.

Matthew was the oldest boy in his trick-or-treating group…there were three slightly younger boys, plus Anna and a younger girl. Matthew told me that whenever they would come to “a house with a skeleton” that the younger boys would make him go first…which he didn’t mind. He also said he loved to play with our neighbor’s huge dog “Bear”…which all the other kids in the neighborhood are scared of. He’s not afraid of anything…meaning he isn’t like I was as a kid.

We didn't have that many trick or treaters...had about half the candy left. Yesterday was the typical month early as you get stuff done, something always pops up at the end. I switched two numbers, which will be a little confusing for the customer, but overall it comes out in the wash. Traffic wasn't too bad on the way home, but it wasn't a breeze.

We were always about staying in our neighborhood to trick-or-treat. Several from the small group like to go out together, but we didn’t. I had started to feel bad Tuesday afternoon, my sinuses and head in particular. So I got Ceil to take the kids, and she had to go around with a couple of dads. I did clean up the house and ground some beef while she was gone.

One year for some reason I took Lang and his sister trick-or-treating. I always remember taking them to see “Temple of Doom” in a packed Lenox theatre, having to sit on the first row, and running into some girls from the church singles group.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thumbs Down on Stevie B's

Ceil didn’t want to the Johnson Ferry thing, and several from the small group weren’t going, so we skipped. Will’s game was at 2 pm, then the team party was way up in Woodstock at Stevie B’s pizza…Anna and Matthew came along, while Ceil went home to work on costumes. I am a sucker for Ci Ci’s Pizza, but Stevie B’s was awful…most of the time there was no cheese or pepperoni for the kids…only sausage. They had plenty of other kinds…BBQ, baked potato pizza (with sour cream), spinach (without much spinach), etc. Matthew liked the s’mores dessert pizza, and the soft serve ice cream looked scary as well.

We listened to the end of the Tech game on the way home…hopefully Ball can heal some. I’m not sure, but I bet winning at NC State will be no easy thing. Vick looks great when he comes to play. My reunion was pretty fun Friday night at Tech…many old friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

Sunday after NP Will and I drove up to the Dawsonville outlets. On the way up the Browns Bridge parking lot looked full. On the way back cars were stretched back as far as you could see trying to cross/enter 400. Will tried out for a travel team yesterday at Mt. Paran…a team that had been playing at Sandy Plains. Will said he didn’t feel good, but he fielded and threw as well (or better) than anyone…at shortstop. He didn’t hit…only a few more marginal boys hit. The coach, who administrates at the MP fields, said Will could play on the team. We’ll have to decide…last night the Shaw Park Cooperstown coach called as well.

We may go up to Clemson Friday evening…that would mean we would miss small group.

A college friend’s son is a Marine air-traffic controller in SD, and has saved over $20,000 the last couple of years. He’s not yet 25.

Will’s 12 year old cousin in SC had a hole in one last Sunday. I told Will that’s a lot more common than having an unassisted triple play, no-hitter, and walk-off home run in the same season.

Richt is getting flack in a rebuilding year…inexperience at QB, WRs with the drops, and injured RBs and kicker. Take away a fumble and they take Florida to OT. The GT/UGA game should be close…unfortunately.

Seems like every time I turn on Sports South the Thrashers are on, and it's the last few minutes of a close game, so I watch. Ceil has taken notice of my new viewing habits.Rome Braves Francoeur bobbleheads…there's not much likeness, so don't get your hopes up. We were so unimpressed that we didn't go back for the McCann bobbleheads, even though he is Matthew's favorite.