Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Joe Morgan

I didn’t watch every pitch, but it seemed like most of my friend Joe Morgan’s comments about the Braves last night were pretty fair. Every year about a month or so into the season I’m amazed how the roster has changed from opening day…last night’s late-innings infield as an example.

A coworker was saying that Q100 had on their website a link to the Southpark Tom Cruise episode. Didn’t it air once before Cruise blocked it from re-airing?

Will will only play one game in April, if it doesn’t rain tomorrow night.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Mets Chat

Here's a few opinions about the Braves and Mets...
Me...Lang, don't let those chilly outfield bleachers at Shea effect your brain. You were wearing your Braves cap Monday night, weren't you?

Everyone gets a pass in April, as far as I'm concerned. The Mets have spent money for the past several years and stumbled, though this could be the year they win the division. As usual, the press is on their bandwagon. Seems like Pedro always has the Braves number. They should win.

The Braves weren't supposed to win the division the last two years. Last year they won even after scrapping two-thirds of their outfield, in addition to reworking their bullpen in midseason. They won even though many spent time on the shelf with injuries…Hampton, Smoltz, Hudson, Thompson, Ramirez, Furcal, Chipper, Francoeur, Perez, Reitsma, Boyer, Jordan, Mondesi, and others.

This year some people picked Atlanta because the Phillies, Nats, and Marlins are still down, but just as many picked the Mets. Everyone has to deal with injuries. The bug has already begun…Chipper will ache throughout the season, as will Horacio, Boyer, Kelly Johnson, and Renteria. There are plenty of other questions…will Smoltz's arm hold up the entire year? Will Sosa repeat his 2005 year? Will there be a sophomore jinx? (I think not, particularly for Langerhans, Betimit, McCann, and Francoeur).

The offense has been doing fine so far. Francoeur is starting to come around. Betimit is no slouch, and hopefully this is the year LaRoche puts it all together. Andruw seems to be picking up where he left off last year (enough clichés yet?)…and the second home run he hit last night was on a tough pitch to hit…low.

Even with the trouble the starting pitching has had, they still have made most of the games close. At the end of the year hopefully we won't be regretting that one or two hits didn't fall in. Smoltz and Hudson should be ok, and Thompson and Davies have had good outings. I hear that if Sosa will just back off the heat just a little, that his stuff will still be good enough to win. The bullpen is better than last year and could improve, when Boyer comes back and Devine gets some experience. Ray is a nice addition, but no Mariano.

The Braves should be in the thick of things, which may be as good as we can hope for, given their salary structure, injury situation, and high-paid competition (the Mets and Cards). For the money, the Braves are one of the best teams in baseball. I can't argue with the organizational philosophy. Spending money is always nice, but you can't blame them for having a budget. No telling what a new owner will do, or who will replace Schuerholz and Cox when they retire. There's a good chance things won't get better. Is that what we should "worry" about?

Dontrell isn’t paid much…would the Braves give up one or two of their SS/3B prospects for him? The Marlins don’t need a first-baseman…they wouldn’t take LaRoche…they’d want Jurries instead. Willis would be worth signing to a bigger deal. The Mets gave up a top prospect for Zambrano. The Mets, Yankees, Angels, and others will be lining up trying to get Willis.
He’s cheap enough right now to get for the short term, but the Marlins will want so much that the only way it would be worth it would be to lock him up long term.

Lang...Yeah, I had on my Braves hat but I took it off after being cursed at for 4 innings. Put it back on in the subway. Their fans are ridiculous, acting like it was a World Series game.

Funny, but I don't really notice the Mets press bias, I guess because they write about the Mets up here every day. I did cut out the back page of today's NY Post and hang it outside my office to shut everyone up: http://www.nypost.com/img/back042006.gif

I love Andruw -- he's always been my favorite Brave and he's my favorite MLB player -- but I'm wondering if he's on steroids. Look at how big his head looks this year! that homer he hit off Glavine looked like he was jammed in on the hands and he drilled it over the opposite field wall, which he never does. And he almost went opposite field the game I was at. I understand his strike zone recognition is a lot better, but he's obviously bigger than ever before. I know the AJC says he's been working out a lot in the offseasons, but...It's an interesting conundrum to face. What if stuff starts leaking out that he's a user? Do we Braves fans still root for him? I hope I'm wrong, but...

And Frenchy...I was telling someone at work the other day that the thing about Francoeur is that he challenges everything we know as fans. Take the first pitch? Work the count? Patience at the plate? Wait for your pitch? Nope. But he still puts up great stats, so we live with it. He's like New Coke or something.

I guess what I'm mostly worried about is that this is the decline of everything. So many years we've been so good, and is this the year we start to slip? It has to happen eventually, right? Good news is as I'm writing this I'm watching the Padres shut down the Mets, 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th.

And Saturday morning Wifey and I are going out to San Diego, where she's speaking at some conference. I called the Padres' PR director and played the SI.com card and he's leaving us tix for Saturday night, Pedro vs. Chris Young. I hear Petco is awesome, so I'm pretty excited to get to the game. (And I think I'm gonna write my Si.com column this week on people overrating the Mets and their crazy fans, who swear they're going all the way this year. Should be good for a lot of hate mail.)

My CPA friend... I am not worried about the Braves - If I am worried about anything, it is that the Mets are going to run away with the East - though I don't think they have a starting pitching staff capable of allowing the team to put up a 100-win season (which is what it would take to "run away" with the division).

However if you look at the Mets stats, it is obvious they are not going to keep this pace up all year. I have no doubt that Wagner, Delgado, Beltran, Wright and Pedro (if he stays healthy) will have big seasons. But the '06 Glavine is not the '91 Glavine and Trachsel and Zambrano are still Trachsel and Zambrano.

I believe Atlanta is in much better shape this year, at this stage of the season, than they were in '03 or '04. However, this is still a 90-95 win team (best case scenario).

But, maybe the Mets do run away with the East and Atlanta wins the Wild Card with 90 wins. We then "upset" the Cards in the first round, and then beat the Mets in 7 in the NLCS (taking Game 7 at Shea). I will take a trip to the World Series (or even the NLCS) over another Division title.

Outfield Assist!

Matthew threw out a runner from right field last night!
The batter grounded the ball into right field. Matthew fielded the ball cleanly and made a strong throw to the shortstop, all the way in the air. The ball beat the runner by several steps, and the shortstop made the easy tag.

He will be one of the few players with multiple gold stars on his shirt, earned by getting a hit and a putout/assist in the same game. Last night he did both in the first inning, before the game was suspended for lightning.

His hit drove in a run. He hit a ball the pitcher and first baseman went after, and he beat them to the bag. He ran to second on the throw home.

A few minutes earlier Will didn’t make solid contact, but still drove the ball…off the handle…all the way to the centerfielder, on a line. He pitched a scoreless second inning, not allowing any hard hit balls.

Other Stuff...
...Buck and Kincaid were great talking about the ESPN media bias…don’t know if you heard them. At some point I’ll write it down. I certainly envy the life Lang leads. His wife does look forward at when they have kids, and would like to be out of NYC by then.
...Can’t post to my Fox blog…may have to fire up my old desktop to see if I can log out from there or something.
...I was looking at the program from Claire’s wedding this morning, and just noticed that the cross was drawn by hand. All along I had thought it had been professionally done!
...Also just found out that Aaron Baddelely had led a sunrise service Sunday on the 18th green at Harbor Town, before going out and winning the tourney that afternoon. I didn’t know.
...In addition to all the stuff I knew I had to do before leaving next week, my boss is concerned about our large new account, and I’m having to review the work of the rest of the department…while the office manager is out on sick leave…AND another department has me helping them with a physical inventory.
...Sunday Miss Manners had an interesting article about blogging. I looked for it on the web, and this was the first place I found it…http://gawdessness.blogspot.com/2006/04/miss-manners-talks-about-blogging.html Here is a 2004 Miss Manners piece about blogging that I came across while searching for the other one.… http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58379-2004Jul17.html
...Hail was on the way over from Alabama. A co-worker got rear-ended on 20 on the way back.
...Several years ago this nice friend of Ceil’s (much less harmful that even me!) forwarded an email about Target. I sent her back a link to the about.com urban myths site, that said the claim was false. We didn’t get many more emails from her after that.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tech Football Fiasco

Tech plays four home games in 19 days, all in the heat of early September. To make it worse, only one of the games is against an attractive opponent. They were one of the first to sell out and make money more important than fans, students, or athletes. One of the games is Thursday night. That’s great for me watching at home, but there will be no attendance records set this year, by a long shot.

Sept 2 vs. Notre Dame…labor day weekend, but the Irish fans will come in droves.
Sept 9 vs. Samford
Sept 16 vs. Troy State
Sept 21 vs. Virginia…Thursday night

Prediction…after beating up little Samford and Troy State the players will have the big head, and with a short week to prepare, there’s no way Tech will beat Virginia on national TV.

The rest of the home schedule isn’t much better. The only game that’ll be a sure sellout is Miami, but to make sure more Tech fans show up than Miami fans, they made it the homecoming game.

Oct 7 Maryland
Oct 28 Miami…homecoming
Nov 18 Duke

Schedules are set years in advance, and tweaked from year to year. Perhaps Chan and the new AD will ramp things up a little, but it looks like another forgettable fall for GT football. Look for Calvin Johnson to go pro after all this.

Good thing baseball lasts until almost November!

Goings On...

Busy days, between running the van to the shop and hanging in my boss’s office, covering for a co-worker out on sick leave. For the next week I’ll be trying to get ahead at work and preparing for this Jekyll trip next Wednesday with Will’s science class.

Braves are coming close but falling short a lot, but still too early in the season to worry much. Lots of people on the Mets bandwagon.

Uneventful trip to SC…the kids swam Saturday. Ate on the way up Friday at the Beacon drive-in in Spartanburg, a place I had seen on the Turner South Blue Ribbon show. Father in law ate there 50 years ago. Now its run down a bit, not in the best part of town. There was a decent crowd there. Burgers were better than the Varsity, they had corn dogs, grilled chicken, BBQ, real pies. The rings and fries were awful. After we left we drove a mile and saw a sparkling drive in whose lot was filled with people in 60s and 70s restored cars, a place that looked a lot better.

See Glory Road? It’s at the Picture Show, but not the late movie. Would like to take the son.

See where there at Johnson Ferry and Upper Roswell, where the pine straw stand was, they’re putting a Trader Joe’s, a California discount gourmet grocer, similar to the Whole Foods market. Also a California Pizza.

John Kincaid was asking Kasten and JS whether JF should be sent to the minors. Both said it was too early to panic, and even if they did, it wouldn't be a big deal. Many have struggled before, like Justice, Murphy…even Mantle and Mays. I don't think Mays or Andruw had to go back to the minors. I really enjoy hearing Kasten on with Buck and Kincaid. JS said he hadn't had a long conversation with Glavine yet, but both had returned cell calls to each other. JS thought that Glavine was ok after reading the entire chapter in context, but admitted he regretted not aged an additional qualifying sentence to introduce the chapter…how Glavine was such a competitor, etc.

Turned down dugout seats for last night, since Will had a game. A co-worker was taking a customer with the other two tickets. Another co-worker said he couldn't because he was taking his son to play golf. I asked why he didn't go to the game. So he did…without his son!

Worry About the Braves?

Lang may be letting those chilly outfield bleachers at Shea effect his brain. He may have worn his Braves cap too tight Monday night.

Everyone gets a pass in April, as far as I’m concerned. The Mets have spent money for the past several years and stumbled, though this could be the year they win the division. As usual, the press is on their bandwagon. Seems like Pedro always has the Braves number. They should win.

The Braves weren’t supposed to win the division the last two years. Last year they won even after scrapping two-thirds of their outfield, in addition to reworking their bullpen in midseason. They won even though many spent time on the shelf with injuries…Hampton, Smoltz, Hudson, Thompson, Ramirez, Furcal, Chipper, Francoeur, Perez, Reitsma, Boyer, Jordan, Mondesi, and others.

This year some people picked Atlanta because the Phillies, Nats, and Marlins are still down, but just as many picked the Mets. Everyone has to deal with injuries. The bug has already begun…Chipper will ache throughout the season, as will Horacio, Boyer, Kelly Johnson, and Renteria. There are plenty of other questions…will Smoltz’s arm hold up the entire year? Will Sosa repeat his 2005 year? Will there be a sophomore jinx? (I think not, particularly for Langerhans, Betimit, McCann, and Francoeur).

The offense has been doing fine so far. Francoeur is starting to come around. Betimit is no slouch, and hopefully this is the year LaRoche puts it all together. Andruw seems to be picking up where he left off last year (enough clichés yet?)…and the second home run he hit last night was on a tough pitch to hit…low.

Even with the trouble the starting pitching has had, they still have made most of the games close. At the end of the year hopefully we won’t be regretting that one or two hits didn’t fall in. Smoltz and Hudson should be ok, and Thompson and Davies have had good outings. I hear that if Sosa will just back off the heat just a little, that his stuff will still be good enough to win. The bullpen is better than last year and could improve, when Boyer comes back and Devine gets some experience. Ray is a nice addition, but no Mariano.

The Braves should be in the thick of things, which may be as good as we can hope for, given their salary structure, injury situation, and high-paid competition (the Mets and Cards). For the money, the Braves are one of the best teams in baseball. I can’t argue with the organizational philosophy. Spending money is always nice, but you can’t blame them for having a budget. No telling what a new owner will do, or who will replace Schuerholz and Cox when they retire. There’s a good chance things won’t get better. Is that what we should “worry” about?

American Idol Recap/Predictions

This week’s American Idol predictions/rankings…
1. Katharine is getting stronger…even Simon had positive things to say, which should garner her even more votes.
2. Paris was solid. I think her unique demographic will take her to the finals, and perhaps on to victory.
3. Chris still stands above the other guys, but I don’t think he has what it takes to quite go all the way. He'll finish a close second or third.
4. I love Taylor…he’s a quality product. He just doesn’t have the look that will get him the votes to go all the way.
5. Ace may be getting better, but he’s not good enough to make it to the finals.
6. America may love Kelly, and her looks and personality continues to carry her on and on. Last night’s flop may not be enough to cast her out, but she’ll hit the dreaded bottom three.
7. This may be the end of the road for Elliott. Too bad, because he sang very well last night. How can a guy change his look every week? Desperation? Not that I have anything to write home about.

I’m no Idol expert. I base my opinion on how I think those who vote will vote.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Will's April 13th Game

Will’s team won again last night 16-6.

They got a big lead, so Will only pitched one inning, getting them three up and three down, striking out two. The leadoff hitter grounded weakly to second. Will threw nine strikes and five balls.

He also handled all three grounders hit to him at short.

Will batted second. In the first inning he singled to left center. He could’ve had an RBI, but the coach played it safe and held the runner at third. Will stole second base, and both runners scored on a two out single. The Cougars went on to score five more runs in the inning.

In the second inning Will drove the ball to left field, but the outfielders were playing deep, and the ball was caught.

Will led off the fourth inning, facing a new pitcher. The first three pitches were balls, then Will took a strike, but the next pitch was in the dirt for ball four. Again Will stole second. Malcolm hit a grounder to the shortstop. As Will started to third, he purposely positioned himself between the ball and the shortstop, shielding the ball from the shortstop’s vision. The ball went through into left field, and Will scored from second on the play.

The game started at six. Matthew had a 5:00 practice across the parking lot. The big thrill for him was after practice riding the short distance to Will’s field in his coach’s yellow Jeep, standing up.

Other Cougars news…
Jared’s dad said the tornado hit the back of their church property, bounced over the church, and hit the front of the property…knocking down over 30 trees. The building wasn’t damaged. An amazing thing was that last week roofers were scheduled to put on a new roof, but they were delayed until this week.

Malcolm pitched three innings and only gave up two hits, walked none, and struck out five. He threw only 12 balls and 37 strikes. He did so good the first two innings the coach let him pitch a third inning. He only got to three balls on one batter…kind of like Andrew Evans used to do. Malcolm was also tearing around the bases, scoring from first base.

Corey hustles more than anyone, and had putouts playing first, second, and left field.

Those Braves throwbacks from the game last night are something to motivate me to learn to download pictures to the blog. They were about as good as it gets…baggy pants, the off white tint, striped socks, no names, baggy shirts. Why they wore those new 2005 caps I’ll never know. I was hoping there would be a miraculous comeback, so they'd want to keep wearing them. I’ll write GM JS suggesting these be made the permanent uni, if the string of division titles ever ends.

Heard JF interviewed on 680 that originally aired in the AM. Then on FSN he gave the same answers that afternoon. Says “to be honest” too much. Kincaid wondered if he shouldn't be sent to the minors, and just hours afterwards he homers twice. Good call.

Hopefully we’ll get a Dell in the next week or so. Tonight I’m slammed…perhaps I can do some research in SC, but we’ll be busy there as well. Like you said, Apples are expensive, especially as much as we use a PC. Ceil’s got that graphics background, they all love Macs. Didn’t Bryan get an Apple laptop? Seems like you see lots of them at NP…kinda like a status symbol, that we can’t afford.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Loved the throwbacks the Braves wore last night. The striped socks, the baggy jerseys and pants. But why did they wear the alternate caps, created just last year?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Letter to Mom

Wrote this a couple of weeks ago after my sister brought it to a boil, and involved me. I'm posting it now because it's something I need to deal with every day...

I shouldn’t put this in writing, because it is never understood the way the writer wants it to be understood. But I never feel like I ever get my point completely across in any conversation, not particularly with you, but anyone…my boss, someone I’m trying to teach something to, etc.

People hear a little and think they have understood the point that is trying to be made, and they quit listening. I'm as guity as anyone.

I’m not sure Nita bringing this up is the best thing. She may be right, but being right isn’t always the best thing. She is most certainly bringing it up because she loves you and our entire family. She has to be strong just to bring it up…she is a much stronger person than me. To let it go is being weak, and it is weak to argue back. So I suppose I have to mail this to be strong and not weak!

Like I had said, I have the same problem. I try to be helpful, but I come across as being mad and mean…because of my tone of voice. Instead of helping and building up, I hurt and tear down instead. I did ok today, because I’ve been here at work all day. Yesterday was a different story.

It’s not that some people don’t want “helpful advice”. But no one enjoys someone speaking to them in a loud, demanding voice.

I've learned in the past couple of years that much more important than the quality of the gravy is the quality of the relationship you have with the person who is making the gravy.

I can get so frustrated with Will when he is helping me, and I “instruct” him in a loud and negative voice. Why would he want to hang around me to learn and finish the job? There is nothing wrong with him, only with me.

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. No one wants to drink vinegar.

Oh, that you would bless me indeed, & enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me,& that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain! I Chronicles 4:10

Long Intro for a Cool Video

There are no computer graphics or digital tricks in the film. Everything really happened in real time exactly as you see it. The film took 606 takes. On the first 605 takes, something, usually very minor, didn't work.They would then have to set the whole thing up again.

The crew spent weeks shooting night and day. The film cost six million dollars and took three months to complete, including full engineering of the sequence. In addition, it's two minutes long, so every time Honda airs the film on British television, they shell out a bunch of dough.

It is fast becoming the most downloaded advertisement in internet history. Honda executives figure the ad will soon pay for itself simply in "free viewings." When the ad was pitched to senior executives, they signed off on it immediately without hesitation - including the costs. There are only six hand-made Honda Accords in the world. To the horror of Honda engineers, the filmmakers disassembled two of them to make the film.

Everything you see in the film (aside from the walls, floor, ramp, and complete Honda Accord) is parts from those two cars. The voiceover is Garrison Keillor. When the ad was shown to Honda executives, they liked it and commented on how amazing computer graphics have gotten. They fell off their chairs when they found out it was for real.

About those funky windshield wipers. On the new Accords, the windshield wipers have water sensors and are designed to start doing their thing automatically as soon as they become wet. It looks a bit weird in the commercial. See for yourself.

Blogging Blues

I was thinking about mass emails Sunday while reading the AJC…the computer guy in the business section wrote about the same thing. His opinion was that you shouldn’t email anything that you wouldn’t pay postage for. I'm hopefully not at all like some people who forward messages constantly…I’m sure you know what I mean.

NovelChick's post is great. I agree completely, especially with the second part. I try and have the same attitude, as everyone certainly doesn’t need to be force fed my opinions. My boss certainly agrees. Under the same broad category as someone putting a W on the back of their SUV. I have been guilty lately of sending coworkers some jokes I’ve considered funny, to be a part of things a little.

My mindset on that entire Fox Sports blog “community” is that the demographic is much younger than me, perhaps twentysomethings & younger, with lots more time on their hands. It is neat how the whole thing is set up to have people respond to each other’s posts. I have some Mets and Cubs fans monitoring my posts. Like me, Ceil thought the “attack” was funny. Should I not be honored? The guy got carried away, so it’s hard to figure if it was real or fake. But coward was the word I thought of us as well, since most times you can see who’s making comments. I did tweak my reply a little Friday afternoon.

Any blogger is vulnerable based on what is posted. I’ve thought I should be more careful with names. I’ve been sending more of my stuff to my parents, since they’re not able to be in the middle of things. I know that’s putting me at risk for their editorial comments on how we run our lives. I was also thinking how if interests are filled in on Blogspot, then more readers might find it (not that they’re flocking to me!).

Yesterday I wrote a long recap of Lang’s sister’s wedding. The wedding was pretty entertaining. Lang’s parents liked it, though I included warts and all.

We didn’t have any storm damage.

Didn’t get to see much of the Braves this weekend. Yesterday I listened to a lot on the radio. The press is hopefully making a big deal about pitching, but it keeps coming up in my mind as well. Frenchy (I don’t love that name, instead I’ll call him JF) let another one sail…hopefully that’s not cause for concern. Looked like it would’ve been a close play.

Got an email from Hands on Atlanta asking for volunteers to sell the Jersey Off Our Backs raffle tickets Wednesday night at the Ted, from the time gates open through the 4th inning. I’d like the go to the game, but I’ll pass on the offer. It’s going to be a busy week, so I doubt we’ll go Wednesday.

Stormy Weather

The weekend started off great. When I got home from work Friday Will helped me pull out the summer clothes, and I found an Easter outfit for Matthew to wear to the wedding Saturday. Then Ceil and I made it out the door for dinner alone at El Porton, and also checked out TJMaxx and Borders. There I checked out Lang’s latest issue of Striker magazine. Inside there was a photo of Lang interviewing David Beckham. Later Lang told me since Beckham was so handsome, he got the photo editor to touch up his own picture a little.

Ceil stayed up late. I was checking Doppler radar, and she joined me when Harry Connick Jr. was talking to Letterman. My figuring was right…we were woken by emergency sirens at 3:45 am. All the stations were saying the brunt of the storm was passing several miles to the north, at 4:17am. When I retuned upstairs to report this to Ceil, it appeared there was a police car outside with its lights flashing. It turned out to be the lightning, just about a constant stream of flashing. Hardly any thunder. Later one TV station’s Lightning Tracker counter was increasing constantly, quickly passing the 900 mark.

To be safe I carried the kids downstairs to sleep on the sofas, but they woke up and watched TV with us. The wind blew and it rained, but there was little debris in our neighborhood. I had a 9 am meeting west of Crabapple, a hard hit area. I passed right by the destroyed carwash that made the Sunday AJC cover. On the way home a different way I found Mabry Road was still closed. Two old ranch houses on 92 had trees through the roof, and on Sandy Plains I saw Alan Daniels outside his church, Cobb Community, with pines down out front.

I was near the house of the friends whose dog we were sitting. Since there was so much debris there near Jefferson Township, I checked on their house. Both neighbors had trees down in their backyards. One hit the corner of the house next door, then demolished the deck. Most neighborhood roofs would need to be replaced, including our friend’s. Most of the young Bradford Pears in the neighborhood were damaged. By Sunday much of the mess had been cleaned up.

Anna and Matthew’s old pals Lilly and Sam were visiting from Charlotte, on their way to Destin. This delayed Ceil’s shopping trip to get Will’s wedding attire, but we made it down to Buckhead on time. After the wedding we made a quick stop at Lenox. Feeling stuffy from wearing nice clothes for so long, when we got home I changed into shorts and sandals…and promptly got sick from the chilly evening.

Sunday I rushed home from church to watch the end of the Masters third round, did some raking, and took the kids to play. We had to leave the Masters when the final groups were finishing the front nine, but we had a nice dinner at Pappasitos. Perhaps tonight we’ll make progress on the unfinished winter/summer clothing changeover.

Both boys practice today, and has a game Thursday, the same time as Matthew’s practice.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Claire's Wedding

Claire’s wedding couldn’t have been more beautiful. There were several nice personal touches that made it extra special. When we arrived in the church vestibule we found Claire’s parents Reid and Edie, as well as Andrew’s parents, there greeting the guests, probably relieving some anxious moments waiting around for the service to start.

Anna said she didn’t want to be escorted down the aisle by an usher, but then readily took Lang’s arm. We wound up seated near the front on the brides’ side. Matthew made a list of the three weddings he’s attended, and watched attentively throughout the service.

Several unplanned things happened during the wedding that should only make the memories for both families only more special. During the violent thunderstorms early that morning I wondered if they might somehow impact the wedding, but the cloudy morning turned into a beautiful spring day. It made me think about what someone said at our wedding, how wedding day rain is a positive foreshadowing on the success of the marriage.

I noticed the lovely flower arrangements, a tall arrangement placed on the narrow rail in front of the choir loft. Just before the grandparents were seated, half of the flower arrangements fell forward onto the pulpit floor! The crowd looked around. I caught Danny Morris’s eye, and we were part of a small group who went to pick them up. At one point I found myself standing next to Pastor David Sapp, so I asked him if he was in charge of the flowers. It was evident the tall arrangements weren’t going to stand on the narrow ledge, so we placed them on the front row of chairs in the choir loft. I thought the finished product looked almost as good as they had before.

We had picked up most of the stray flowers, but there was still a little debris on the left side of the pulpit. Ceil whispered it might be pretty if they spread some flowers on the right side so it would match. Instead Gordy and Bobby, two long-time church custodians, came out and vacuumed everything clean. Someone make the appropriate comment that it was nice that they got to be included in the service. I thought we should applaud when they finished, but got distracted and didn’t see them quietly leave. After the service I saw Lang go out of his way to thank the men. Later I ran into them in the hallway and told them of my plan to applaud.

Lang escorted his grandmother down the aisle as the vacuuming was being finished, followed by his grandfather. As she turned to be seated Lang accidentally knocked off her corsage. Reid escorted Edie to her seat. Organist Arden Starnes, who later noted that she’s played for over six-hundred weddings, tolled the bells, then her husband Danny rang his handbell four times to signal the hour.

Smiling Audra Mullen was the first bridesmaid down the aisle, where she was escorted up the steps by the groomsman who had come down the other aisle. They took their position and smiled back at the congregation. But no one followed them, for a long couple of minutes. Arden quickly finished her prelude, and then Reverend John Condra finally came out from the side door, followed by Andrew and his brother, the best man. Only then did the rest of the wedding party enter. Later I told Audra she must’ve wanted to see Andrew come out up close!

Just before Reid escorted Claire down the aisle, Andrew broke ranks and walked over to the end of the aisle, where he could have a good view of his bride as she came in. In all the weddings I’ve attended at SPdL and other churches with two aisles, I had never seen this sweet effect. It was only when Claire came down the aisle did I start to get tears in my eyes. Reid did a fine job, and clearly spoke his line while giving the bride away. Andrew and Claire sweetly exchanged their vows, and John did a great job with the service. It’s always nice when a close friend officiates the ceremony.

The best man did a great job singing a Steven Curtis Chapman song that Ceil was familiar with, and Lang’s flawless guitar accompiament helped keep both the song and service simple and sweet. The congregation smiled when Edie made sure Reid was correctly on her left side as they exited up the aisle.

After the wedding and at the reception it was great to chat with familiar faces that we hadn’t seen in a while…the Denton Harris’, the Wisenbakers, the Mullens, Jennifer Girardeau, Bruce Ambrose, Sam Reynolds, the Reeds, the McNeils, Jerry & Marcine Head, the George Wrights, Becky Matheny, Ron & Judy Watts, Carroll Glover, Luther Bootle, Hal & Diane Choyce, Mary Ann & David Hall (and his fiancé!), and many more. Margaret Condra had an old photo of her & John with Edie & Claire, taken shortly after Claire had been born. Lang’s wife Isabel said the wedding party trolley ride to the reception down crowded Peachtree Street was great fun, with many cars honking their congratulations to the bride and groom.

The reception was the nicest I had ever attended. It was in the 28th floor of the 999 Peachtree Building, which shares the corner of 10th & Peachtree with the Margaret Mitchell House, the Federal Reserve Bank, and Jocks & Jill’s. We all enjoyed the great view of the entire Atlanta area, including Downtown, Midtown, Georgia Tech, Buckhead, Decatur, the old Sears Building, Piedmont Park, Stone Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, and even other mountains we couldn’t name.

Danny Morris introduced the newlyweds as they entered. A string quartet played, and Claire and Andrew danced the first dance and cut the cake. We hadn’t been there long when Anna exclaimed “the photographers have already filled up two memory cards!” The food was great as well. I kept hearing guests pointing out special dishes others should try. The serving tables were even decorated with edible designer potato chips. Matthew gobbled up the cheese grits.

Around eight the newlyweds made their exit, showed outside by pink flower petals, which looked much nicer than rice or birdseed. The entire day couldn’t have turned out better!

Today Claire called from the airplane to tell us she almost missed the departure, because she was in the restroom throwing up. Welcome to Mexico!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hate Mail

Got a scaving reply to my Fox blog, a harmless post a couple of days ago about Bobby Dews (see it below). I considered it hilarious, and wrote a quick reply. I attached it below, or you can read the entire thing here

The guy was named chudsucks (does that have an added meaning I’m not wise to?). Normally you can link directly to the blog of the commenter, to see what they’re about, but you can’t with this guy (a coward?).

He writes...
Dude, your name is DMurphy. That's just like Dale Murphy. Obviously you're just a huge tool. Here are all the reasons why you're just an arm of the conspiracy:
1. You're an Atlanta fan. Atlanta has won 14 straight pennants because they're the center of the red-state South. Atlanta is thusly permitted to win baseball pennants each year in order to assure that the votes in the South stay Republican and keep Bush in the White House.
2. You're a "Braves" fan. How could it be anymore obvious? You're basically cheering for a team that has an oppressed minority as its mascot. The fact that you cheer for such a team is evidence that you're willing to exploit minorities for your own gain and that you are, therefore, a racist.
3. Your obsession with Bobby Dews indicates that you hate old people. Well, you know what, they hate you too. And they have more money than you.
4. I noticed you page background is white. Coincidence? I don't think so.
5. Baseball is just a game of the upper class when they're not too busy exploiting slave labor in 3rd world countries. You're crazy obsession with America's (read: The Imperialist Empire's) pasttime shows that you're nothing but an ehtnocentric BLEEP.
6. The Braves refused to give Shirley Lawson, a star catcher from the Westwood Jumbos softball team, a tryout. It's evidence that the Braves are a part of the male partriarchal conspiracy and that you merely reaffirm said oppression. Fight the power.

I replied...
Guilty on all counts!
I'm starting to have more in common with older people than the young, I hate to admit. Braves fans hated to see Julio Franco move on, as endearing a fellow and teammate he is. We knew this, but only now that he is playing in New York is the national (anti-Braves) media pick up on this. The Braves won 14 straight (I know, only one world championship), but almost every year the media picks someone else. (like the Mets or Phillies). Should I change my blog name away from DMurphy? It gets me readers, though I never thought I needed a shtick.

Braves Ups & Downs

Listened yesterday as Sosa give up the six on the way home. When I got there I didn’t feel like watching the rest. That Ray fellow that struck out Bonds…Will also got his autograph on that ball. I had barely heard of him. He had pitched in the bigs before, and had been recovering from arm surgery, right? LaRoche looked awful. Jordan fell down a few times in the game Saturday, and couldn’t make the play in time on the line drive over his head in the 6-run inning (I never saw the play). Perhaps the case will build quickly for Jurries. Wednesday I stuck with the Braves until after they got the 8 – 3 lead. Am I the only one who thinks Betimit can hit? Hopefully Horacio and Chipper aren't hurt too bad…not a good way to start the season. Took a survey at the Braves game last Saturday. Today a guy called from the Braves, thanking me and wanting to know how I got my tickets. No hard sell, actually no sell at all (I told him I usually got tickets at the gate, since I decide which games to go to at the last minute…which is mostly true). Supposedly a friend of the Whitakers works for the Braves, and will be at the wedding Saturday. Reid said he would introduce me. Finally posted to my Fox blog for the first time in a while, just copying earlier emails. With this laptop I might get some original stuff written, but don't get your hopes up. It wasn’t a big deal back when Chipper was going to play LF as a rookie, that was where there was an opening. He hurt his knee tripping over first, and Klesko was moved from 1B to the open spot in LF (among others). Didn’t Chipper agree without protest to move to LF if/when Vinnie was signed? He made a nice play to end the opener. As we have discussed, it seems like his fielding has been better since his return to third. This year he seems to be hitting more for average, going the other way, etc. Someone (the AJC?) predicted he would lead the NL in RBIs. Get a Braves merchandise catalog in the mail, like I did? Frenchy and his roommate are on the cover. Matthew will be all over that, but Will took it first. TV: Had the Masters on last night. Wish I had watched LOST from the beginning. I feel like I’m up on 24 even though I missed the first few years, which I’m thinking about watching sometime, though I usually go for less violent fare. But we hardly ever watch TV, remember? A fellow at work likes the Howie Mandell game show, but I hardly have time for what I want to watch. West Wing is winding up…they’re electing either Alda or Smits, and the election will probably carry over for a week or two. I’d like to watch Geena Davis’ Commander in Chief, but I always seem to miss it. I’m over Survivor, and keep missing the Big Break. We all went to see Nanny McPhee last night. Not as painful as I had imagined. Nanny McPhee was that weird children’s movie, played by Emma Thompson, also starring Colin Firth. She adapted it from some children’s books…perhaps British. In the ads she was made up with warts and a huge nose. I want to try that new Tab energy drink.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Late Nights

Aaron played, and was productive, for such a long time. Jones started young and got a fast start, but he sure takes a lot more of a beating in the OF, much more so than Hank. Then Aaron switched to first.

Never thought about how Aaron started at 2B, then RF, then LF, then 1B, then DH. Dale Murphy went from C to 1B to CF (then LF or RF?). Rose went from 2B to 3B to 1B, and OF somewhere along the line. Didn’t Rose set the record for making the All-Star team at the most different positions?

Aaron played for the longest time in right, but I remember sitting in the LF bleachers, behind him, late in his career. Later on in the game they put in Sonny Jackson, and a fan who had come to see Aaron started to really ride Jackson, for no real reason. Then Jackson charged a base hit and threw home, but the throw hit the backstop in the air. The fan didn’t say anything, but as he walked back to his position, Sonny tipped his cap to the stands.

Jackson was mainly an infielder (SS). Now he’s still coaching with Dusty Baker, right?
Two other notable position changes, besides Ruth…Robin Yount (SS to CF) and Craig Biggio (C to 2B…to CF?). I also remember watching Ron Gant come up as a second-baseman.

Stayed up to the end of the Braves game too, after going to see ‘Fun With Dick and Jane’ at the theatre. After the movie I got gas, then took books back to the library, and when I got home at 11:45, everyone was just getting to bed. I sat there watching the game, not wanting to do the dishes as I had promised.

The rain was pounding down in LA, as Munson might say, at least for baseball. I carefully watched the HR replay to confirm it was Dews. Didn’t see Dews when I went to the game Saturday. Was about ready to turn if off when Betimit got on and Giles came up.

Most of the Dodgers were wearing the modern helmets…but I didn't notice any Braves wearing them.

Got a 9 am meeting Saturday, so I’ve gotta catch up on my sleep sometime, so I won’t fall asleep at the wedding. I’ll drink caffeine, but then I’ll have to go to the bathroom.

When I get mail from Reid, I always check and save any interesting stamps. He's been in a slump for a while, perhaps because the post office changed to .39 cent stamps.

From the March 15th weekend...After his game Will and I hit Publix, Kinko’s, and the post office to send in our applications for the Peachtree Road Race. We drove downtown, but with only the priciest tickets available for the Thrashers game, we decided not to go. Instead we ate at Checkers and hit a couple of used book stores, looking for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Sunday Will taught in Ceil’s four-year-old class while I was in the 8:30 service. We stopped by McDonalds on our way to the golf course. I had never been there before, but eventually I found it, right where it was supposed to be, just across 575 in Woodstock. It was a little nine hole par three course, with most holes around 100 yards.

We played it twice, doing ok. The greens were tiny, so we didn’t hit them very much. I did hit many tee shots to the fridge, just a foot or so off the green. Many of the greens were turtlebacks, so it was easy to chip from one side all the way across and off the other side...so I putted more than I chipped. We were tied going to the 18th hole, and I choked, so Will won.

Reid's cut out art he's been sending is being posted on our fridge. Anna tried her hand at cutting some the other day.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bobby Dews

Notice yesterday when Ryan Langerhans pulled his late inning home run into the Braves’ right field bullpen, the ball bounced once and then hit Bobby Dews, who was at his normal station, standing against the back wall? Nothing like a good Bobby Dews story to start the year.

No one can ruin your day without YOUR permission.
Most people will be as happy as they decide to be.
You will never "have it all together."
Life is a journey... not a destination.
The biggest lie: "When I get what I want I will be happy."
Life's precious moments have no value unless they are shared.
If you don't start, it's certain you won't arrive.
We often fear the thing we want the most.

Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you have to say. Best friends listen to what you don't say!

Look for opportunities...not guarantees.
Life is what's coming....not what was.
Success is getting up one more time.
I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.
Our eyes are placed in front because it is more important to look ahead than to look back.

Braves / White Sox Game

Switched the channel right when Webb was setting up to take that shot that went in.

Saturday morning at 10:30 traffic was at a standstill on 75 south near the 85 merge. I cut off my motor while we waited. Still got to Turner Field right at 11 am. With the day game after a night game, and with the early morning rain, there was no batting practice before the game. Matthew wanted to go 'spin the wheel' to win a prize, and after that I got my free Coke at the Budweiser Designated Driver Booth. That's where I saw John Parkes, and we chatted for a minute. I told him Reid had spoken of hanging out with him at the game night.

A few White Sox were throwing and stretching, but without much going on, Will wanted to go around near the Braves dugout. By the time we got there several pitchers were throwing. Matthew and I sat back several rows, Will edged his way into a spot on the front row. Tim Hudson finished up throwing with Cormier, and he flipped his ball to Will, before the fans gathered along the rail could holler. Minutes later Will got Hudson's and Cormier's autograph, and later added pitching coach Roger McDowell, Horacio Ramirez, Chris Reitsma, and Mike Remlinger.

For some reason both Matthew and Will wanted to sit in the upper deck. There we noticed the shift the Braves employed against the left-handed Jim Thome. SS Renteria was playing on the right-field side of second base, and Chipper was playing where the shortstop usually would. Thome's home run in the first off Sosa sailed into the left-center field stands, so he didn't quite pull the ball. He doubled to center his next time up, before striking out twice.

When the rookie Pope took Chipper's spot at 3rd, I noticed he played close to the bag. Then I figured out he had to stay close, because of the runner on second. Late in the game Thome came up with a runner on first and the full shift on. The runner stole second-base. With the 3rd-baseman over where the shortstop normally was, the runner was able to also steal third. Two stolen bases on one pitch!

When I got off 400 on the way home, I noticed my car was handling weirdly. Flat Tire! Lots of fun, thought it was nice to have Will there to help change it.

We are dog-sitting this week, a little miniature poodle. Saturday night we all lost a little sleep, which wasn't good since we were already losing an hour, and we were all getting to bed late. Last night it worked out better, but I think the little dog was worn out from lack of sleep, and all the walks it had taken.

Sunday Ceil, Anna, and Will left early for church...they had to be there by 8 am, and I didn't wake up until nine. I decided to let Matthew sleep, since he didn't sleep much through the night. He woke up at 10:45. I had most of the laundry done and the kitchen clean by the time they got home from Costco.

Saw a Kroger ad that you could buy the JS book for 40% off with a Kroger Plus card.

On my Fox blog, which I have ignored for a couple of weeks, I’m all over the comments settings. Haven’t had to mess with the settings here that much, since I haven't gotten many messages!

Got this email today: On Wednesday of this week,
at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning,
the time and date will be…
01:02:03 04/05/06.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Top Ten

Submitted by Letterman readers…

Top Ten Inaccuracies in ‘The Da Vinci Code’

10. Jesus didn't have disciples named Sneezy, Happy or Doc.
9. No descendent of Jesus ever drummed for Judas Priest.
8. The Chalice couldn't be Super-Sized for an additional 39 cents.
7. Jesus never claimed to be the Lord of the Dance.
6. DaVinci's secret code: Dial 10-10-987 for long distance calls.
5. Judas didn't die from eating Pop Rocks and drinking Coke.
4. The mysterious albino was actually Michael Jackson
3. Mary Magdalene did not invent the phrase, "That's hot"
2. At the last supper, Jesus never said, "Judas, you're fired!"
1. Birkenstocks sandals?