Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Day

Wednesday I drove the van to get tires. Slow day at work...I was able to research GPS units in the afternoon. Filled up with gas just before arriving home.

Thursday I got my crowd out the door just after 10 am, and we drove down to Macon. Dinner with my family, which went well. Only ate one plate, and one dessert. Left at 6 pm and gassed up there in Macon...$3.059. That night I finally watched some football: Texas vs A&M. Found an online deal on a GPS, so I didn't have to go out in the crowd to get one.

Friday night my nephew's team won their playoff game...a 21-20 thriller.

Saturday Will worked in the yard. I helped a little. A & M went with a crowd to ride horses and ATVs, eat hot dogs, and pan for gold. Others showed up to chat...right when the GA/GT game came on. Later we watched some of the VA/VT, NCST/MD, AL/Auburn, SC/Clemson games. There were few football outcomes this weekend that surprised me.

Later we went "geocaching"...using a GPS to track down a marker someone had placed in an interesting spot. We drove down an unused road to an old river bridge, than climbed down to the river to find the marker. When we climbed back I was leaning against the concrete railing, then discovered the rail was loose.

Finished "The Brethren" and started "Heaven is for Real"...Ceil read it on the drive to Macon.

Saw gas for $2.999. C, W, and M went to Passion, then to see MC and her brother sing at the Atlanta History Center. They ate at Chipotle. Anna stayed home to study. I raked leaves, cleaned the kitchen, and filled up the van.

Top Four MLB Games

Sunday night the MLB Network was counting down the Top 20 Most Exciting Games of the past 50 years.

Number Four was Sid Bream's slide. Costas and Verducci watched and discussed the game with Bream, Lemke, and Van Slyke. Bream didn't say too much until then end, but was thankful the slide has opened doors to speak about God. Lemke and Van Slyke talked a lot. Andy said he motioned for Bonds to move in, but Bonds gave him the finger. As it turned out it wouldn’t have helped, since Cabrera hit the ball to Bond’s left.

Number Three was Bill Buckner's error. He's kept a low profile over the years, so I was surprised he was on the two-hour show. He made several comments as they reviewed the entire game, but seemed to grow quiet as the fateful moment approached. Seated next to him, Mookie discussed his at-bat, fouling off five pitches. Costas shared his viewpoint, waiting in the Boston locker room to interview the victors. When the Mets tied the game on a wild pitch, everyone cleared out of the Boston locker room. Buckner shared what happened, and what went through his mind. Walking off the field, he looked forward to playing in the upcoming Game Seven. Mookie shared how the play had brought him together with Buckner, and how both were strong in the Lord and family.

Number Two was the Morris/Smoltz scoreless Game Seven duel in 1991. Both pitchers had a lot to say. Costas and Morris kept talking about the great Series Lemke had.

Number One was Fisk's HR off the Pesky Pole. Bench and Fred Lynn were the guests, but I changed the channel.

December Reading List

Heaven is for Real: a Little Boy’s Astounding Story of his Trip to Heaven and Back”, by Todd Burpo. New York Times bestseller. Ceil read it on the trip to Macon, and perhaps Anna can read it as well.

“The Last Juror”, by John Grisham

Peaks and Valleys: Making Good and Bad Times Work for You – at Work and in Life”, by Spencer Johnson, author of “Who Moved my Cheese”.

“The Last Patriot” by Brad Thor. Compared by some to The da Vinci Code, the thriller involves radical Islam, Mohammad, Thomas Jefferson, and present-day character Scott Harvath, a counter-terrorism expert. I read at least one of his earlier books: “State of the Union.”

"American Steel: Hot Metal Men and the Resurrection of the Rust Belt”, by Richard Preston. The story of the startup of Nucor Crawfordsville, where Dic Dac and his buddy Mark Millett played major roles. Millett was recently CEO of Steel Dynamics, where he and Dic work.

I’m thinking about adding a “BOOKS” tab at the top of my blog, to show the books I’ve read AND want to read. That way I’ll have a handy reference point, where I can quickly looks up books on my list.

Dic Dac’s son Chase has changed his major to Philosophy and Religion, and these days is eagerly devouring books. I need to come up with a reading list for him, and perhaps take him some books at Christmas. This week I’ll mail him a copy of Andy’s little book (Since Nobody’s Perfect) How GOOD is Good Enough?”

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Malcolm Mackey

One of the better Georgia Tech SI covers. Malcolm Mackey looks quite nimble, considering he was actually more of immobile widebody.

He's rockin some classic kicks, Nike Hauraches.

Someone is trying to sell this issue on eBay for twelve bucks. Perhaps I should do the same.

SC 2A Northern Championship Game

Driving to the game through the dark countryside, the only glow in the distance are the light stancions of the field. Soon we join a line of headlights queing into the parking lot. It’s a scene reminiscent of the final scene of Field of Dreams.

7:24 pm: After warmups, the Central of Pageland Eagles retreat to the fieldhouse. After an opening prayer, the twenty-one member marching band plays the national anthem. Students meander out onto the field to form a tunnel for the team to run through. Anna and Matthew join Jordan, Catherine, and Victoria out on the field.

The loudspeaker promises "the most exciting entrance in high school football." Single-file, the players methodically touch the eagle statue, then slowly WALK down the hill, then stop to assemble behind the goalpost. Once together, they finally charge out onto the field.

Ben, suffering from back spasms, will get the most playing time all year. Perhaps this is why I see no practice punts in warmups. He’s on his grandfather’s painkillers.

Sponsors signs attached to the chain-link fence surrounding the field include Kellys Custom Embroidery, Rusty's Tucker Lumber, and Acts 2:38. Five or six signs commemorate desceased players and coaches.

7:38 pm: Central takes the opening kickoff and drives down the field for a touchdown.

7:43 pm: Columbia threatens with a long drive of thier own, but finally turn it over on downs.

7:44 pm: Central goes 3 and out. Ben’s first punt, his first boot in at least 30 minutes. The snap is high, throwing off Ben’s timing, and the punt only goes 25 yards. But Central quickly gets the ball back, on an interception.

7:50 pm: Ben enters the game on offense and on his first play catches a 12-15 yard pass on the right hashmark, right at the first down marker.

7:53 pm: Another high snap, but Ben’s second punt is better: 35 yards.

8:03 pm: Colo drives down to the 9 yard line, but the Eagles hold on fourth down.

8:08 pm: Colo holds, and Ben punts. It gets a Central bounce, and goes for 40 yards.

8:13 pm: Colo punts 45 yards into the end zone, for a touchback. Central runs right and fumbles. The Capitals scoop it up and run it in to tie the game at seven.

8:20 pm: After an incompletion, Central runs the same pass play again. This time it goes for a 20 yard TD. Players celebrate as they come off the field. Ben spots two teammates and signals them to join him in the air for a triple bump high five. The TD caps a 91 yard drive near the end of the first half. Eagles lead 14-7.

8:24 pm: I’m used to the more violent collisions of college and pro football games. There’s substantially less in Class 2 high school ball. On kickoffs opponents dance and push: few are sacrificing their bodies. Lots of arm tackling. Central's number 55 has a motor that runs hard. He goes both ways, and several times ALMOST chases down the Capitals athletic QB.

8:47 pm: Colo scores on a four play TD drive to tie the game at 14 all.

8:51 pm: Ben punts 39 yards, to the 31 yard line. This will be Ben’s best game punting, but right now Columbia has the momentum.

8:55 pm: Colombia cashes in with a 69 yard TD drive, scoring on a pass in the far right corner of the end zone. But the short kicker misses the PAT. Colo leads 20-14.

9:05 pm: Central answers with a 58 yard drive of thier own, finding paydirt on a 21-yard TD pass to a wide open receiver who had run a flag pattern. Ben had lined up on the same side of the field, and drew the coverage on a shorter route. With the score tied 20-20, Colo is called offsides on the critical PAT. The Eagles’ kicker had made the kick after the whistle, then makes it again after Central declines the penalty. Good guys lead: 21-20.

9:10 pm: Colo punts 44 yards. The third quarter ends with Central leading 21-20.

9:16 pm. Ben trots in with the play. Just as he arrives at the huddle he glances down. After relaying the play call, he steps back, bends down, and picks up his mouthpiece, that he had dropped. Later Central is flagged for delay of game penalty. Big?

9:20: Yes. Central turns it over on downs, with 8:50 remaining. Ben is outfitted with just about every accoutrement: helmet visor, Under Armor undershirt, sweatbands, gloves, a rarely used Under Armor hand warmer (worn backwards), and white tights.

9:27 pm: Central had the QB sacked, but gets called for a facemask penalty. A wide open Colombia receiver drops a bomb, thrown right into his hands. Colo punts 34 yards, to the 24 yard line.

Central reels off a big screen pass on first down. Another delay of game penalty stalls the drive. Ben punts 32 yards, down to the ten yard line.

As the clock runs down, Colombia drives down the field. Central is offsides, but sacks the QB on third and five. Time out with 40 seconds left. Fourth down: another sack, to clinch the game.

After the game, parents join the players on the field.

The 21-20 finish is a kicker's dream, or nightmare. The State newspaper features the game in its Saturday edition, playing off the PAT angle. The article quotes both head coaches on the subject, but Central's coach doesn't even mention his own kicker by least as far as the article goes. This may have been the reporter's error: the scoring recap incorrectly named Ben as the PAT kicker.

This wasn't the first time something like this ever happened: The Macon Telegraph often credited my holder Randy Griffin as the PAT kicker, instead of me.

Grant Field

This vintage postcard shows Grant Field before the west upper deck was added. Looks like the metal east upper deck is there.

Other things that have changed: To the right the Peters Park courts can be seen (replaced by a parking deck).

To the left, the Roosevelt House was yet to be built, across North Avenue.

1952 Georgia Tech Throwback Jersey

Here's a cool old Tech jersey, made by Stall & Dean a few years ago. I'd much rather have one of these than a current model. This, or a plain gold #19 Clint Castleberry jersey. Or an old Tech letter jacket.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Max Howell

Max Howell…now there is a name from the past. As I recall, all the other radio guys seemed to hold him in high regard.

Got to work late this morning, after stopping to at Claire's favorite place: Tire Deals. I had shopped around, and no one could beat the price. Everyone else loves to add all the extra fees that jack the price up even higher.

Lots of stories about the passing of Larry Munson. Interesting that he once played piano with the Tommy Dorsey band, backing up Sinatra. There's a good trivia question.

Not much to report with me. Had breaded and baked chicken Monday night, with scalloped potatoes. Had lots of leftovers to eat up before Thanksgiving: chili, burritos, bean soup. For lunch Tuesday I brought chili.

Early Friday morning I got a great deal on a GPS. We're taking our kids to all these new places, often in the dark and in the rain. Need new wipers as well.

Helped Will edit his paper Monday night. A and M watched High School Musical, since they're off from school.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Several years ago Tech was one of the first college teams to don throwback uniforms, trotting out this classic set from the 60's. Calvin Johnson was in the midst of a stellar college career. Good times.

These days Tech rightfully thinks uniforms should primary be pleasing to the players. They wear gold pants at home to please the alumni, and white pants and black trim on the road for the players.

I'm sure the players would be much more excited by an outfit like this.

The Deer Hunter

Anna may go hunting with a friend, who’d already bagged a deer before becoming a teenager. Friday night we took Anna up to a sleepover off Old Milton. Stopped by JoAnn Fabrics and Publix on the way home. Read my book while M and C watched TV, then I flipped over to see the end of the Iowa State upset of OK State. Down the stretch the Iowa State QB fumbled, then threw an interception. But in OT the OSU QB threw a INT, and the defense gave up.

Saturday am I had to go pick Anna up. Swung by a couple of thrift stores on the way. I let Anna drive home from the Stinky Kroger. First she mistook the wiper control for the gear shift, which was funny. Then it took her a bit to stop stomping on the brakes. Later I cleaned house, and folded laundry while switching back & forth from the Tech game to the Georgia game. C and M went downtown, then to the Dekalb Farmers Market.

Later I saw the end of the Oregon / USC game. Can’t understand why these top teams don’t have better kickers…the Oregon kicker hadn’t made a field goal longer than 40 yards all year, then flubbed the 37 yard attempt to tie the game. The announcers had talked about how great the OSU kicker was, then he barely missed his game-winning attempt. Georgia’s kicker seems to be out of his slump.

Sunday morning I took Anna to NP, and worshipped in the 9 am. Later I cleaned some more, and watched several movies: Eagle Eye, Groundhog Day, Fever Pitch, and the latest Transformers episode. Also Taylor Swift on 60 Minutes, and a JFK Assassination program. Thought about stopping by for a visit at the Whitakers, but then I didn’t go down to PCC. Ceil did, and didn’t turn off the car all the way…she had to get someone to jump her off.

Will didn’t get in until 11:30 Sunday. He thought Belhaven was too small. Supposedly the baseball workout on Friday went ok…the coach said he would probably make the team were he to try out. Don’t know if they talked scholarship. If Will was interested, I will email the coach his 2012 schedule, and give him the contact info for a few of Will’s past coaches. Will dislikes catching, but it’s probably his best position.

Here all four of the sales managers are out this week. My boss is paying my department for any unused vacation days, so I’ll try and not take any more time off.

There’s a decent chance Ceil may go to Paris next April, with her aunt and mother. Will may have another tournament in Florida in May. He went alone last year, but perhaps I’ll go this year. Hopefully we’ll all get to go to Destin next summer as well. I’ve been working on a budget, and hopefully Ceil will be able to follow it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov 19 College Football Recap

The difference in the Tech / Duke game came down to the lack of irrefutable video evidence when Tech scored on the final play of the first half. Though ruled a touchdown, it sure looked like the knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line. After Duke scored to cut the lead to seven, my blood pressure rose when Johnson called a pass play on first down. Once again, the incompletion made it second and ten. Thankfully Roddy Jones and Tevin Washington broke off long runs.

Washington’s wobbly passes still scare me. He went 5-11 because the receivers were so wide open, dropped balls in their hands, or made sensational catches. This week’s announcer wasn’t impressed, either. The passing did open up the running game, but Duke’s defense just wasn’t that good. The Blue Devil passing game was spot on, though they couldn’t run much. With the second-string D-back (#27) injured, the third-stringer (#21) looked pretty good: he may be the best of the bunch.

Georgia will be able to pass as well as Duke, and run the ball much better…with or without Isaiah Crowell. If Tech falls behind, Johnson will surely pass…and things could get even worse for Tech. Georgia’s pass rush will leave little time for Washington, and the Dawgs’ pass coverage may be the best Tech has seen all year. Tech can’t afford to turn the ball over or commit multiple personal foul penalties, like they did against Duke.

When UGA fell behind 10-3 early to Kentucky, I knew the vultures would be out looking for Richt’s head, had they lost. ESPN got good play from his extended postgame kiss. This week’s GT/UGA game should be good. I still think Georgia wins…they’ve played the tougher schedule.

Turnovers killed Clemson again. Three straight first half TO’s put the Tigers in a hole, further firing up NC State. Clemson could never get the running game going, and QB Tajh Boyd seems to be slumping. South Carolina is back on a roll, and QB Connor Shaw has hit his stride. Virginia Tech is playing much better than when Clemson beat them back on October first. What should’ve been an undefeated season may end with four straight losses. Saturday Will might go to the Clemson game in Columbia.

Speaking of irrefutable evidence, ESPN stopped the video to show the Wolfpack tight end’s foot out-of-bounds AND the ball still having not crossed the pylon. The play was not overturned, though it hardly mattered: NC State would’ve had a first down on the one yard line.

Four of the top eight lost this weekend. At least one of the top three will lose this weekend. The next two Saturdays will be interesting, but its doubtful one challenger to LSU will stand out from the rest.

I was watching GameDay when Lee Corso let the F-word slip. I immediately wondered if I’d actually heard what I heard. Chris Fowler immediately responded by saying “What the hell!” and Kirk Herbstreet cracked up. Thankfully C and M didn’t hear it. Later I saw where former UGA kicker Rex Robinson had mentioned it on Facebook, and said Corso had quickly apologized. Wonder if he’ll get the boot at year end. David Pollock is waiting in the wings.

Earlier I changed the channel to watch the climatic Fenway Park scene from Fever Pitch, when Drew Barrymore makes her mad dash across the outfield grass, around Johnny Damon. Ceil demanded I turn back to GameDay to watch celebrity picker Carl Lewis.

Loved the Lions receiver’s touchdown celebration, recreating the flash mob dance from the AT&T train station commercial. Too bad the announcers had no clue, but ESPN did for the replay.

Saturday morning I let Anna drive home from the Stinky Kroger. First she mistook the wiper control for the gear shift, which was funny. Then it took her a bit to stop stomping on the brakes. But eventually she made it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Paying Football Coaches

A college football head coach’s pay is determined by several factors: school, conference, past success, experience, ability, even looks. Coaches at some schools benefit from additional luxuries, like shoe contracts, TV shows, country club memberships, advertising revenue, deals on cars and houses, and the like.

Some coaches are overpaid because the school can. Others are underpaid due to various reasons: longevity at the school or school budget. In comparison, some coaches seem underpaid, due to more recent high dollar contracts.

Each school and coach is different, so I’ll reserve comment on the list below: SEC, ACC, and a few other coaches of note.







2,828,000…South Carolina…Spurrier

2,771,750…Ole Miss…Nutt

2,500,000…Mississippi State…Mullen



2,750,000…Florida State…Fisher

2,369,000…Georgia Tech…Johnson

2,328,000…Virginia Tech…Beamer

2,275,545…Wake Forest…Grobe


1,877,950…NC State…O’Brien




1,079,410…Boston College…Spaziani

0,500,000…North Carolina…Withers

1,700,000…South Florida…Skip Holtz

1,525,000…Boise State…Peterson

1,392,043…Central Florida…O’Leary

1,022,794…Penn State…Paterno

0,589,405…Middle Tennessee State…Stockstill

0,446,800…Alabama Birmingham…Callaway

0,405,905…Florida Atlantic…Schnellenberger


Vanderbilt and Miami were not listed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Student of the Semester

Will was named “Student of the Semester” for the Perimeter College Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Engineering. At a reception Tuesday he was given a certificate and a clock. Good thing he got a haircut last Saturday. Thursday he leaves for Mississippi.

Matthew’s first basketball practice Monday night couldn’t have gone better. On the way I joked his coach might be a Marine drill sergeant…and he was. An older guy, seemed nice, who had the boys working the whole time, with little standing around. As they all worked, he would pull one aside for focused instruction. I’m sure the boys slept well that night. Unfortunately, the six boys didn’t look that talented. We got the huge aircraft carrier, but only one athletic ballhandler. Hopefully the two no-shows are players, or they’re in for a long season.

Tuesday nights are always big study nights at the house (which means no TV). We ate tacos/burritos/taco salad. I ran Ceil up to El Porton to get salsa. Later I read my Grisham book, which is getting good.

Wednesday my crowd had their Thanksgiving luncheon in Alpharetta, but then hustled to get everyone picked up. Lately it’s been uneventful for me, but all day today has been crazy. Not just one hiccup, but a whole series of them. Haven’t gotten much normal work done.

Found out my longtime boss is retiring at year end. I’m sure he’s ready, he probably got pushed a little bit. Sad. His boss is “leaving the company” at year end. At least Angie is staying, in a reduced role.

Found out Claire goes to the same vet that we used to take Speedle.

Monday, November 14, 2011


When I arrived home Friday, C and M here just heading out to the grocery. Will left, to go to a play down at Georgia State with Joel. I couldn't find the remote, but the TV was on ESPN, so I watched all the leadup for the aircraft carrier game.

Saturday I cleaned up some, then took Will to the field for some BP. Pitched him two buckets of balls, then hit him two buckets of infield grounders, plus several to him in the outfield. Then I pitched him another bucket. Wore me out! When we got home Will cut the grass, mulching all the leaves. He raked and tilled Ceil's flowerbeds, then mixed in the leaf mulch. He also blew the driveway.

When Will finished the yard, he went for a run. In December there is a 4-H Club 2-1/2 mile run at Rock Eagle, and Will thinks he has a shot at winning the race. He was worn out after all that.

I folded laundry while watching the Clemson game. Ceil had taken Anna and Matthew down to Cleveland Avenue, where a group was working with the homeless. Then Ceil stopped at IKEA on the way home. Later I went down near Bolton Road to pick them up.

Had a small group "Thanksgiving" dinner. Big crowd…about 30, counting all the kids. The men watched the end of the Georgia game, and the first half of the Stanford loss to Oregon. Good that the Dawgs handled Auburn so easily. Sometimes those running plays take too long to develop, and the defense has time to fill all the holes. Plays like that you gotta hit the hole fast.

Sunday we headed down to PCC around 2:30 for youth. I dropped C at Lenox, and read my Grisham book while waiting for her. Went into church right when the Falcons overtime was starting. Joel sat with us during the service. Later Ceil cooked pancakes. M had to do math, so I read more went to bed.

The ISM is down at Tampa all this week…last week he and his boss were in Miami. Marty went to work for one of his customers, and Matt found a job real quick. I wonder if Ginny had retired…her sales numbers dropped from Aug-Sept-Oct. The Ogre went up there twice last week. Gabe is staying to work outside sales under the OSM. All the contract business switched down here to our contract group. Soon it may just be me and Dialysis. We call Matt the "new Randy", since he does all the pricing with Debbie, and works with all the fabricators on new parts and costing. The quality lady, is quitting. She lives south of the airport, and the drive is killing her. Teflon is back from China, and is now the warehouse manager. Big Joe switched from shipping to second shift manager. You'll have to see what we've done to the new building, across from our little old office…and the 48 people crammed in to the sales offices here.

My "young" Matthew played baseball this fall, and all his teammates called him Cosmo again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chipotle-ed Out

Busy day. A couple of rejections and a maintenance issue. Plenty to do.

Boss is up in Chattanooga for the second day this week. Young Thomas is off today and tomorrow…I may have told you he’s quitting before year end, which means more work for me until we get someone trained. That’s why I haven’t had any of the Chattanooga work dumped on me.

I did leave at 4:15 Wednesday and worked out Will in the slight drizzle. My pitching was decent, and I quickly tossed him two bucketfuls. Then I hit him a bucketful of grounders as it grew dark. Next Thursday he’s going to work out for the Belmont College coaches in Jackson MS.

Then we all went down to eat at Nuevo Laredo Cantina. Didn’t get there until 7:30, so we were able to be seated immediately. M had a huge bean burrito. A and C had chalupas. Will and I had enchiladas. Today and tomorrow I’m eating the leftovers for lunch. Eating together as a family has been fun lately, everyone has been getting along well.

Nominated Will for the 680 Student of the Week Award again. This past week Anna’s BFF Brittany’s sister won the award. Her 100 words was heavy on academics and community service, so I wrote a new paragraph about Will. We’ll see.

Thursday I ate enough meatloaf and pizza, that I didn’t make any popcorn to eat during the Tech game. Ceil went to Chipotle with her friends. Fortunately for me, she says she’s about Chipotle’d out.

VT Too Much For GT

Down just a few points to a Top Ten team early in the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech abandoned the running game that had more than matched Virginia Tech the previous three quarters.

The number ten team should usually beat number 21, but Paul Johnson thinks he must fool the other team in order to win. Tech’s wide variety of running plays had the VT defense on its heels. There’s no reason why more of the same wouldn’t have resulted in another score. Washington was masterfully running the option, making perfect decisions whether to pitch or keep. Clearly, this is why he’s the starting QB…obviously it’s not because of his passing.

But on first down Johnson called a pass play. After the incompletion, Tech faced a second and ten. Simms up the middle for two or three…another play that had little success all season. Third and long: another incompletion. Then another poor punt, and VT was again in scoring position.

Because Johnson refuses to employ the shotgun formation in obvious passing situations (like late being behind late in the game), the VT defenders were able to rush the pocket as fast as the right-handed Washington was able to drop back looking left, then turning to his right to set up to throw. Even when Tevin was able to get off the pass, his receivers were just as likely to drop the ball as catch it. Stephen Hill was more concerned with getting interference called than catching one key pass, though the replay showed it was he who had pushed off. No mention of this by ESPN’s crack announcing team.

I was not in complete agreement with the announcers, particularly about Johnson’s decision to go for it on fourth down. Even figuring the number of possessions remaining, with the time remaining it was neither the time nor the field position to go for it. The head coach had lost confidence in his defense AND his punter. Neither should’ve come as a surprise: the Hokies had scored on four of their previous five possessions. The fourth down sneak by the lithe Washington came close, particularly when he stretched out the ball while turned skyward (again, a move that was missed by the three announcers, but not the replay officials).

But the momentum swung to the Hokies once and for all when linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu slugged VT QB Logan Thomas in the head. The whistle had already blown, and the Jackets had stopped the Hokies on third down. Instead of punting, Beamer’s bunch drove the length of the field to take the lead for good. By the time Thomas couldn’t be tackled on his twelve yard TD “sneak” up the middle, the Jacket defenders had it in their heads that they couldn’t tackle the super-sized QB.

After that touchdown, the Yellow Jacket defense was not a factor. Another reason the defense again faltered was due to their affinity to try strip the ball than actually tackle the ballcarrier. This led to additional chunks of yardage gained by the Hokies. I didn’t see number 28 tackle anyone all night.

Virginia Tech dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Though VT’s OL outweighed all but one of GT’s D-Line, the pot-bellied Jacket defenders could repeatedly be seen chugging after the play, with no hope of catching the ballcarrier.

Once more, Johnson blamed the team: "We just didn't make enough plays, we didn't get it done. Offense, defense, special teams – nobody got it done." I’m not sure what game he watched. Besides the numerous big plays by the running game in the first three quarters, over the same span the defense sacked Thomas several times, and threw all-ACC running back David Wilson for several big losses. Kicker Justin Moore was 2-2 on field goals, and the Hokies were unable to break off a big kick return. GT made plenty of plays…until the successful option attack was abandoned for useless pass plays.

Washington cannot be blamed for the fourth-quarter flop. Like Nesbitt before him, he obviously will never be a passer. Had Vad Lee played, with several games of experience under his belt, the Jackets might’ve won. Based on the way the season has played out, with Lee under center Georgia Tech very well may still be undefeated.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Paterno Saga

Little compassion in the press these days. Nice responses from Bill Curry and Vince Dooley. Took courage for Curry to call both Paterno and Sandusky friends.

Hard to believe that Dooley quit coaching at 56. These days that's young in life, but old in coaching. He's gotten to enjoy his twilight years, which is nice. Gardening and history were his interests. As AD he took UGA courses in both subjects.

Paterno has always been benevolent. He doesn't seem like Bear Bryant…nor does Bobby Bowden.

Went to Nuevo Laredo Cantina Wednesday night, down off Howell Mill.

I'm not a huge Stephen King fan (I've never read one of his books or seen any of his movies), but it sounds like his new book "11/22/63" is right up my alley. JFK assassination, time travel, and a little romance. "The Brethren" is the next Clancy book I'll read, about the three judges in jail.

Is there anyone one the Royals worth trading JJ and Prado for? I know they have prospects ready to hit the bigs, but why would they trade them for older players? It'll be interesting to see how Melky does for the Giants. He had a great year last year, but Braves fans will forever have a bad taste in their mouth for him.

This morning, for the first time ever, I wore unmatched shoes. They do look similar, and are both black, but they sure feel different. In the dark they looked like a match. No one noticed, without me saying something first.

Stanley Anderson Bowl

Ceil has been collecting this Stanley Anderson pottery / tableware for several years, and now she's pretty much got the complete set.

In Atlanta it is sold at the Signature Shop & Gallery, on Roswell Road near the Buckhead Triangle.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

It’s amazing the number of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that get sent. One year I took Will and a bunch of his classmates up to Lawrenceville to process boxes. Each box had to be inspected, taped shut, and put in a large shipping box (with other shoeboxes for the same age/same sex kid). I think last year North Point churches collected over ten thousand boxes.

Guy here at work has a 7 year-old son playing flag football. His team has another 7 year-old kid who kicks 20 yard regulation extra points…he is 3 out of 4 for the year. If they run in the PAT they get one point, but if they kick the point (no rush) they get two points. I told him Alabama might want that kicker.

Ceil (and Will) just got a new Cuisinart coffeemaker at Sears. When we got the kitchen appliances, Sears credited us enough “points” for a $30.00 credit off the coffeemaker. It matches the appliances, at least.

Louie’s preaching at PCC is good: worshipful and focused on God. To me, Andy’s preaching at NP is better: Biblical teaching with practical application. As much as the crowd responds and joins in the singing at NP, those attending PCC sing and participate much more. At some churches people stand for the singing and don’t even try to sing.

Went to the library Monday night. We ate roast beef and had Ceil’s birthday cake, and the kids played in the dark with glowsticks. Everyone had homework, so the TV wasn’t turned on.

Monday I finished both “The Appeal” and my Bill Curry book, so I started listening to Tom Clancy‘s “The Teeth of the Tiger.” Tuesday I’ll start on a Grisham book.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Kicker Costs Bama Title Shot

Watched the whole Bama/LSU game. They only showed that best replay angle the one time…from that angle it looked like the Bama guy was down. You’d think Bama would have a better kicker. That guy’s form on his approach looked poor, giving him little momentum. Then he had to swing his leg harder for the long ones. Flipped over to keep up with the Arkansas/SC score.

Forgot what happened on Friday night. I think C and A went shopping, and I stayed home. Saturday everyone (but me) went down to Garden Hills School to serve at their Fall Festival. Passion had over one hundred volunteers there. For several hours Will operated the rock climbing wall by himself.

Stayed home and cleaned up, then got ready for Ceil’s birthday: cake from Publix, flowers from Whole Foods, and ice cream from Kroger. Also stopped by a computer store grand opening. Watched some of the Georgia game, and cleaned up pretty good. C and A went shopping again, and Will went to Rock Eagle.

Sunday I took C and M to Trader Joes, Publix, Dick Blick, and the instant teller. Ate TJ’s pizza and the brownees Anna had made, then went down to Passion City Church. While the kids were at youth we went over to Lenox. Roads were blocked every which way, traffic was heavy, and Lenox was packed. So different from the old days. PCC wasn’t packed, for some reason.

Everyone had homework when we finally got home, so after pancakes & bacon I read my book and went to bed.

There was an old episode of Seinfeld where Jerry went to a bakery. He HAD to get a marble rye. He was in line when an old lady ahead of him got the last one. He followed her, offering her huge sums of money for the rye. She refused, and eventually he snatched it from her, and took off running.

It Only Hurts When I Laugh

Cracked up the entire office just now. After running downstairs to the mailroom, I returned to find my entire department in my boss’s office. The wasn’t too unusual, since we’ve been having frequent impromptu meetings regarding our Chattanooga consolidation. I poked my head in the door and quipped “So y’all throw a taco party, and I’m not invited?”

Wednesday we were sent invitations for a Thursday lunch meeting. Since such meetings aren’t rare, we thought little of it. Recently our company had given pink slips to several general managers of less profitable districts, particularly in the West, Midwest, and added authority for those branches to the more successful branches. In the meeting they announced that the Nashville and Chattanooga sales offices were being closed. Transactional customers calling in to place new orders were immediately switched to our young sales group.

Since the management of Chattanooga’s contract customers was also switching to Atlanta, this was “good news” for my group. We might even add a person or two. It does look like my young co-worker might be moving on in the next month or two: he’s building his own work-at-home empire. He will be missed. He has vowed to find and train a replacement for himself, so we’ll see how that goes.

My heart goes out to several longtime Chattanooga co-workers who lost their jobs. Many had been with the company for over thirty years. Back in 2001 I spent a month commuting to Chattanooga to train their office on the work order system. Office manager Dick had transferred from Charlotte over ten years ago. Two Ginny’s, Jane, Marty, Tom, Mary, and Patty are now gone. A good bunch. Interestingly, our GM used to be the boss in Chattanooga.

Additionally, the sluggish Florida branches are now under our GM’s authority. He is down there this week. Another friend was demoted, former Florida GM Nelson. His Miami warehouse was closed, leaving sales offices and warehouses in Tampa and Jacksonville, and smaller sales offices in Orlando and Miami. Though they’ve already cut sales, management, and admin way back, you wonder if more cuts are in the works. My former longtime boss is now the state’s office manager. Fortunately, he’s in a position where a layoff wouldn’t cripple him. Instead he could retire.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween: Morph-Suits

Ceil took pictures at Will’s game Saturday, at Chipotle, and before trick-or-treating, but I haven’t seen them yet. We started our initial small group not long after we moved to East Cobb in 1994. Three other families had baby boys just after Matthew was born, and they’ve pretty much gone trick-or-treating together every year.

This year they wore purple “morph-suits”…those plastic “blue man group” like bodysuits you see at football games. They looked great. Drank cider through the suits. Supposedly its big enough to fit me, though you’ll never see me in it. I’m sure Will will be wearing it soon enough.

Monday evening we ate at Chipotle, because burritos were $2.00 if you wore a farm-related costume. Ceil and I were farmers, Will was a cow, and Matthew an eggplant. An older couple sat next to us, and they asked if we were going to Krispy Kreme to get a free doughnut (we weren’t). They went on to say they got deals 3-4 times a week, and started listed them off. I mentioned a few, but was still far from their level. I told them to get their baby grandchild enrolled in birthday clubs and kids clubs.

Paul, the last neighbor to have lived around us longer than us, closed on his house Monday. Nice, quiet, Christian guy, never married. Will eventually move back to Charleston to be near his aging mother. Gave us two rakes, a window unit air conditioner, and several other items.

No Gold Glove for FF or Francoeur. Is Votto that good of a fielder?

Busy day Tuesday. Plenty of customer stuff, and lots of other duties came up throughout the day. Worked til six, then had to stop by Kroger on the way home. Big announcement…our territory is expanding to include Tennessee.

Today is “Sportcoat Thursday” so I wore the red blazer Will lifted from Ceil’s father’s closet. It is a big hit. We have a lunch meeting (Jason’s Deli steak salad) then Mellow Mushroom for the after-work conference call. I had something come up, so it’s doubtful I’ll stick around.

Listen out on 680…Will is trying to become Chuck Oliver’s “student of the week” and I’m trying to win the trip to Braves fantasy camp.

Tech / Clemson: The Event

It was another beautiful night for football at Grant Field. Tech’s beloved bandbox of a stadium always looks great on televised night games, framed by Atlanta’s downtown skyscrapers. Homecoming added extra flair. Will and I found a parking place on the street not far from the Biltmore, where a wedding party posed for pictures. Too far from the Varsity, the Fifth Street Moe’s provided nourishment for Will, who had pitched six inning of one-hit baseball before raking leaves all afternoon.

We visited DJ, now a freshman pledge at the FIJI house. We swung by the BSU and saw Harriet (longtime BSU secretary), Warren (former neighbor/current campus minister), and Frank (my former SS teacher/Tech alumni). We made our way to our seats in the northern corner of the West Stands upper deck, which gave us a picture-perfect view of not only the field, but also downtown and midtown Atlanta. After watching warm-ups, we circled the stadium counterclockwise for a short visit with Rusty, Kelly, and Ben. They were in the exact opposite corner of the stadium, the southern end of the East Stands upper deck.

Made back to our seats just before the opening kickoff. But a nice-looking young Tech grad blocked our path, saying “We have this block of seats!” Knowing our tickets proved we were in the right spot, it took me a moment to gather my thoughts. “These are George and John’s tickets!” I exclaimed. It was just the right thing to say…these were friends of young Mr. Ewing and Hr. Hoffer. After that, we too were treated as family…even Will in his Clemson attire.

We had forgotten our great-looking, official team jackets. Will has a sweet orange Nike Clemson jacket, trimmed in purple. I have my navy Russell Athletics Paul Johnson model Tech jacket. Both left at home. I had other jackets in the car, and it never got too cold.

During pregame warm-ups I found it humorous that the Grant Field PA system was blaring not only the usual rap music, but also AC/DC’s classic rock hit “Highway to Hell.” Perhaps they were referring to Clemson’s journey down I-85. Despite the rap music and too-bright “BuzzVision” (obviously used during the game to distract opponents), the Grant Field game-day experience was better than usual. There was a Halloween theme to most of the music: “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “The Monster Mash” were my favorites. Students dressed in costumes: bananas, sombreros, and big cute boxes, to name a few.

Still, I continue to be amazed at the low level of Tech’s fan behavior. It’s just like the blog posters on A very engaging forty-something Tech grad spent the entire game berating nearby Clemson fans (who were to be commended for not retaliating). After Clemson only managed a first-quarter field goal, he spent the next two hours screaming “What happened to your 60 points a game offense?” I wanted to point out (a) that was just the last two games against UNC and Maryland, (b) Clemson scored more points against UNC and Maryland than Tech, (c) earlier in the season Tech was averaging 60 a game, but no more, and (d) Clemson still had plenty of time to put up boo-coos of points.

You would think the self-bestowed “better-educated” Tech fans would have a deeper understanding of the intricacies of football. In fact, the opposite is true. Whenever Clemson committed a penalty, dozens would scream “cheater!” Added to the end of the long-lasting “Go Jackets!” cheer was the cry “Go...Fight…Win…Get Naked!” The “Budweiser” song (actually, the bastardized version of Sonny & Cher tome “When You Say Love”) has been played at the end of the third quarter of Tech games for over 35 years. Even the non-cheering tweed-bedecked elitist West Stands alumni stand, bob, and scream its signature line at the top of their lungs. For these freedoms our soldiers fight.

Also for “these freedoms” the Tech Athletics department prints “The Gold Standard” on the FRONT of football tickets (and reads it while its displayed on BuzzVision: The Gold Standard is a campus-wide effort of the GTAA to raise awareness of sportsmanship at all GT athletic events by increasing positive Yellow Jacket support; creating a sense of pride at GT venues, events, and traditions; promoting appreciation for the spirit of competition and providing a safe, healthy and respectful game day environment for all. At this they’ve failed miserably, at least in my section.

BuzzVision (the Jumbotron): Gone, for the most part, is the incessant cartoon steam whistle, a great idea at first, but run into the ground when repeated for every first down. Besides the high intensity flashing lights, BuzzVision wasn’t much of a distraction. The graphics were ok, but far from revolutionary. Clemson’s all-orange uniforms showed up much redder on screen than the real versions on the field.

One more beef: The Ramblin’ Wreck Club. having the un-uniformed group help form the “T” for the band to run through sparks of elitism. They used to wear matching blazers and stand in the end zone. Now they bring their dates and carry their drinks onto the field, more interested in showing off than cheering the team. Why not just have the band form the “T”?

Clearly I am far from the target audience for major college football, much less pro football…dominions built on emotion. Coaches, athletic directors, general managers, and owners must think clearly. Apparently few others do: fans, players, agents, reporters, columnists, bloggers. I have too little time for greater analysis, but obviously my thinking is too much for most fans thoughtless devotion. Though it doesn’t rule me, I will continue to follow football.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Appeal

Currently listening to “The Appeal” on CD. Very good. The reader of all the Grisham books has a Southern accent, which makes it even better. Last week I finished the book on Herschel and his multiple personality disorder. Interesting, though many don’t believe in the disease.

Since I was already listening to one Grisham book during my daily commute, I didn’t want to confuse things by reading a different one at night. So I’m into “One More July”, which was George Plimpton’s conversation with Bill Curry en route to training camp, late in Curry’s career. Good stuff about the Packers, Lombardi, and Shula. It’s a tiny little paperback. If you want to read it next, you can.

Ate at Chipotle Monday night, Ceil’s current favorite Mexican place. Dress like something farm related, and burritos were two bucks. C made a leafy top to M’s purple costume, making him an eggplant. Will dressed as a cow, with a little stuffed pink pig on his stomach to be the udders, C and I were farmers…so I wore a Clemson cap!

Haskell may know who I am, though we’re not even friends on Facebook (I don’t think!). He was at the Tech BSU, but graduated before I got there. He went off to SWBTC, and pastored in Texas for years. Couple years ago he came back to Chattahoochee Baptist Church on Bolton Road. GOOD friends with Fred O Pitts…I think they attended Saturday’s Tech game together.

Tech / Clemson: The Game

In beating Clemson 31-17 last Saturday, Tech mostly did everything right, and Clemson did several things wrong. For a Tech fan, it was a great game.

After being unable to get the running game going the past two weeks, Paul Johnson called passes on two of the first three plays of the game. Both fell incomplete. Quarterback Tevin Washington threw eight passes in the first half, completing half one them. He hit Stephen Hill right in the hands on a deep route, but Hill dropped it, as he often does.

Both teams were able to move the ball. Tech’s option ran smoothly, with Washington finally able to make the outside pitch. This enabled him to sometimes fake the pitch and turn it up the field, or to make the pitch quicker or later than usual. The outside option and the quick pitch sweeps opened up the fullback dive. After taking and building the first half lead, Johnson quit passing and ran the clock with the running game. For the evening Tech won the time of possession battle: 39 minutes to Clemson’s 21 minutes. Clemson’s athletic defense was continually fooled.

The key play in the first half was Clemson’s fumble, deep in their own territory. A Tech player scooped it up and dashed to the end zone. The referees said the ball was dead, but were soon overturned by the replay. A nearby fan correctly remarked that had the original ruling been touchdown by Tech, it would not have been overruled. Tech scored, increasing their early lead.

At halftime the Tech players danced off the field like they had won the game. I knew Johnson wouldn’t rest on his laurels. In the past two games Clemson’s offense really didn’t get in gear until the second half. And sure enough, the Tigers opened the second half with a lightning-quick scoring drive, capped by a 48 yard touchdown pass to their freshman receiver Sammy Watkins. The game was far from over.

But Tech answered right back with a long touchdown drive of their own. Instead of passing, Washington fooled Clemson’s defense by starting back as if to pass, then charging through the line on a quarterback draw. Last year Josh Nesbitt ran the same play, but with brute force. Washington employed an evasive, jitterbug style, with great success.

By early in the fourth quarter Tech still has the momentum. After a Clemson punt Washington seemingly surprised Clemson, throwing his first pass since the first quarter. A receiver was open deep down the middle, but Tevin floated his pass too high and too short, allowing a Clemson defender just enough time to swoop in and intercept the pass. The orange-clad Clemson fans, filling a quarter of the seats in Bobby Dodd Stadium, went crazy.

Just that quick, the momentum swung Clemson’s way. There was plenty of time for them to make up the two-touchdown lead. But after the inevitable TV timeout, Watkins couldn’t find Boyd’s high floating pass. Instead of a Tiger touchdown, a Tech turnover. Clemson uncharacteristically turned the ball over four times (thrice in the second half). This, along with their defense’s inability to stop the option, sealed Clemson’s fate.

Season after season, Clemson gets off to a strong start. Most years they eventually get upset by an undermanned opponent, a case of young players thinking too highly of themselves. Not this year. Dabo had his Tigers ready, but they couldn’t execute. Clemson played without the services of their top running back, who had scorched the Jackets in last season’s game. Against Tech, the Tiger offense was out of synch most of the night. Boyd’s passes were often low, or otherwise off the mark.

Tech’s beleaguered defense rose up and played their best game of the season. Their job was made much easier by (a) Clemson’s aforementioned turnovers, (b) their offense’s massive time of possession advantage, and (c) improved special teams play. Despite one flubbed field goal, all-around special teams play was greatly improved. Punts averaged 44 yards (one went for over 50), and coverage of Clemson’s dangerous returners was decent.

As player-of-the-game Washington downed the ball to run out the clock, Yellow Jacket students swarmed out onto the field. Stadium workers surrounded, guarded, and slowly lowered the goalposts. By now most of the Clemson fans were long gone. Appeasing Will, we slipped out while those around us celebrated.