Thursday, February 28, 2013


Monday night the phone rang during dinner. I walked into the dark living room to talk. It was just the cable company. I was going to plop down into the large chair. I thought I felt it, and thought I was plopping down over the cushioned armrest into the chair. Instead I fell over the side of the chair and free-fell 2-3 feet onto the ground. My back landed on a little dumbbell, and it about knocked the wind out of me. Amazingly, I survived the fall without much pain.

Wednesday morning after my shower I was putting on my socks, and I felt something in my lower back. Hurt a little, and I walked down the steps slowly. Drove the 40 minutes to work. When I got out of my car I could hardly walk. Had to stop halfway across the lot because of the pain. Took the elevator instead of the steps. Sat at my desk for a couple of hours, then walked to the break room. On the way back I almost collapsed in pain. I needed to sneeze, and that hurt. When I went to stand up, my back started hurting just because it knew I was about to stand up. The drivers side door lock is broken on my car. I was finally going to call a locksmith today, but didn’t want to have to walk out to the parking lot again.

Wednesday afternoon Anna texted that she needed me to pick her up on my way home from work. Had I been going to the game I still would’ve made it down to Buckhead by seven, but it would’ve been a lot more driving. Still hate that missed going to the GT win over Maryland. Had I gone I would’ve slowed everyone down…the walk would’ve been a killer. Since I picked up Anna, we made two stops on the way home. She ran into the library to pick up two books I had reserved.

At home Wednesday night I tried sitting on the sofa (on the heating pad). Later I lay down on the sofa before dinner (burgers, fries, and salad). Since they were watching American Idol and the season premier of Psych, I took my electric blanket upstairs and read on the bed. My phone was charging, so I didn’t even get on the internet. Changing positions was painful, but early this morning when I’d wake up in the middle of the night, moving around wasn’t as bad.

Thursday morning was only marginally less painful than Wednesday. With it being the last day of the month, I needed to come to work. On the drive in to work Thursday morning I was thinking how people say the aches and pains will come on more and more now that I’m old. My left shoulder has been bothering me lately, probably from the weights I’ve been lifting. My knees and hips haven’t been bothering me too much since I stepped up my running this past fall. Sometimes I worry about my hips wearing out, but right now they’re ok. 

Since I hit 50 a few years ago, losing weight has been that much harder. The fad diet here at work is the GM Diet…you should look it up on the internet. I haven’t done it (yet). One day all you eat is fruit. Next day only vegetables. One day only bananas and milk. One day soup. One day meat. Average weight loss in the week of the diet is 15 pounds. Supposed to clean you out, kick start a normal diet. GM would make their executives go on the diet one week per year.

My lower back seems to go out like this about once a year. It had been almost two years since the last time it went out. I’ve been trying to add more sit-ups (crunches, really) into my workout routine this year, though I hadn’t exercised since last week. People seem to think it’s a muscle and not really my back. Working today and tomorrow will be rough, then I can rest up all weekend. Next week hopefully I’ll be somewhat back to normal. That’s the plan, anyway.  

“The Boy That Returned From Heaven” is a good book, a little different than “Heaven is for Real”. I’ll finish the book in a few more days. Yesterday I check out “The Big Miss” – Hank Haney’s book about coaching Tiger Woods. Also The Pillars of the Earth #1 – on 32 CD’s…41 hours. I’m not a huge middle earth kind of guy, so we’ll see how it goes.       

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Books

Monday I checked out the book “The Boy Who Went to Heaven”, about a 6 year old in a coma for 2 months. He was in heaven the whole time. Jesus told him from the start that he would be healed and sent back. Different book than Heaven is for Real, though similar. Since I had my book, Ceil watched the movie The Proposal, with Sandra Bulloch. I recently learned that Bulloch originally turned down the “Blindside” role two times because she didn’t want to portray a Christian. Not sure what happened, but since the movie was so successful Bulloch has contributed to the charity run by the family portrayed in the movie. The Christian charity helps poor children. Also helped Anna with her school poster project.

My Wakefield book also arrived Monday. Phil Niekro wrote the introduction, and on the back cover there were nice tributes from Steven King, Carlton Fisk, Peter Gammons, and Bud Selig. You know that Fisk doesn’t gush about just everyone. When Wakefield set his juco HR record, the other big star in Florida that year was Tito Martinez. Finding Nemo is a good movie. SPdL would have those Family Fun Nights in the Fellowship Hall. I was still in college, but several of us students would come.

Friday night I picked up Matthew from his friend Daniel’s house. When I arrived at nine they had just started playing a game, so Daniel’s mom and I played the game with them, for over an hour. Saturday I did laundry. That night Matthew wanted to watch a movie (National Treasure, Book of Secrets), but it didn’t start until 11:15 pm. I wound up working on the computer until the movie went off at 2 am. That’s when I typed up that essay on Underground Church. You got it, didn’t you?

Sunday I watched a few innings of the Yankee/BlueJays game, and saw Granderson get hit and leave the game. Later on the radio Jim Powell said Granderson would be out until May. Those pitches on the hands can be dangerous. Then the Yankee pitcher hit the Toronto leadoff hitter with his second pitch of the game. The YES Network announcers (including Ken Singleton) said it wasn’t intentional, but I’m not sure. I listened to a good deal of the Braves game on the radio, on the way down to Buckhead. After we dropped the kids off I took Ceil to Lenox, and I stayed in the car and listened to the game. Jim Powell was really having to drag info out of Dale Murphy. They were responding to tweets during the broadcast…just not mine. After Murphy told a Vic Correll story, Powell mentioned that Faux Frank Wren had played on Correll’s farm in his youth.

See where the Hawks wore throwbacks from the Motombo era? I happened to click on the AJC photos. Also learned that Al Horford is married to the former Miss Universe and was going through the photos, and after photo four or five I realized they weren’t wearing their normal unis.

Passion is baptizing on March 17, and Matthew says he is game. I texted Will about it, but he might rather to get baptized at his church in Athens.

Good Friday: for years and years we would always go to SC for Easter. The past two years Ceil has wanted to stay in town and go to Easter Sunday services at PCC (we’ve never gone to the PCC Good Friday concert at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Alpharetta, which is usually packed). Another factor: A couple of weeks ago Ceil’s mom fell, and had to go to the hospital for a day or two. This was the third time this has happened. C, A, & M went up for a few days last week. In the next week or two Ceil’s mom has to go back in the hospital for a procedure, to mend a hole in her heart.

This past Friday Ceil’s mom bought Will an old Jeep Grand Cherokee, similar to the one Will has been driving (owned by Ceil’s dad). We’ll have to go up to SC to swap the Jeeps, perhaps when Ceil’s mom has the surgery. Maybe Will can swap the Jeeps during his spring break. Since we’re making these SC trips in February and March, that might be another reason we say home at Easter. Then Ceil might go up to SC during spring break week.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Knuckler Part 3

As expected, David Greene and Josh Booty made it to the finals of The Knuckler. After hitting in the batting cages, the three QB's had a home run derby. The winner received a private lesson from Wakefield. After three warm-up pitches, they each got ten "outs"…anything other than a home run. Booty and Perrilloux each hit one dinger. Greene hit his first warm-up pitch out of the park, but none when it counted.

Old man Charlie Hough made an appearance, then hung around throughout the rest of the show. When Booty signed with the Marlins out of high school, he had met Hough. Charlie was probably a cheap guest, with probably lower travel expenses than a non-Floridian like Niekro. RA Dickey appeared via Skype.

Greene won the final challenge, giving up the fewest hits to Millar. Booty and Perrilloux were called in, and Wakefield gave Perrilloux the axe. Going into Thursday's finals, Booty is the odds on favorite to win.

Wednesday I worked late, then picked up a pizza at Kroger, something I shouldn't have done.

Saw a good movie Wednesday night: The Words. Interesting story, with a couple of mild twists at the end.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Underground Church

During lock-ins back in the 1980's the SPdL youth loved to play a late night hide & seek in the dark, called Underground Church. As a youth leader I didn't pay much attention to the rules. Not really my cup of tea. But the way SPdL was built, with all the various hallways and nooks and crannies, particularly in the "youth annex" section, lent itself perfectly to the game.

Most of the players are the hiders, supposedly persecuted Christians trying to congregate while avoiding the government guards. Back in the day the group would start off in the old church gym, then head off into the youth annex. Usually the children's building, sanctuary, and the fellowship hall building were off limits. The hiders would get a head start and go off into the youth annex and hide. The guards would then go into the youth annex and look for the hiding Christians. When they "captured" a Christian, the prisoners were led back to the "jail" in the gym. The entire time all the lights are kept turned off.

One of the guards was the undercover Christian guard, who would tell the hiders the secret location of the underground church. If the Christian guard was left alone guarding captured prisoners, he would let the prisoners go, usually one or two at a time, so the other guards wouldn't notice. The game would be played until all the Christians were caught, all the Christians congregated in the underground church, or the game had been going on for long enough.

As a youth leader, there are some disadvantages to playing Underground Church. Sometimes it may not be a good idea to let small groups of teenagers go off and hide in the dark. One time I was a guard and I captured a young man who had been sitting in a cut away section of the hall. I took him off to jail. Little did I know that he had been sitting there in the company of a teenage girl. I can't be sure, but I think this had to do with why the game was so popular with the kids.

NOTE: The young man I captured grew up to be a great Christian father and leader of men.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Money For Nothing

Late Thursday a focus group called, needing me at 6:30. After work I grabbed some Taco Bell, fought traffic, bought Matthew a Beatles shirt, and was still early for the focus group. The waiting room was packed. They called out the names of people…everyone but me. They were overbooked, so I got paid just for showing up! On the way home I bought some shorts and returned a book to the library.

Found out today that Ceil's mother is buying Will a used Jeep Grand Cherokee. Looks nicer than the similar model Ceil's dad owns, that Will has been driving. Will was excited.

Friday Matthew had his second guitar lesson.

Trivia With Team Bama

Late last August Will and his trivia friends Joel, Kevin, and Haley had gone off to school. The Bobbsey Twins Margaret and Emily were back at Thursday night Servant Leader meetings. Mothers Mary and Denise had taken jobs. No one to play trivia with. I decided to go anyway, and as usual was greeted by the always early Team Bama. When no one showed, they generously accepted me onto their team. Would I prove myself worthy?

The first three categories were Music, Merica, and Sports…the three M’s, I said.
1. What pop star titled a book “Black Bird Singing”? Sporty Stu knew: Paul McCartney. Five points.
2. What name was given to those who made illegal alcohol during Prohibition? Kristov, the cool young bartender at trendy Pure, knew that Bootleggers hid bottles in their boots. Three points.
3. How many years between each World Cup? We all knew: Four years / one point.
4. Who is the author of Winnie the Pooh? I knew the last name: Milne. One point.
5. What was Julie Andrews’ first film? It was either the Sound of Music (1965) or Mary Poppins (1964). We guessed wrong. Only the baristas got it right.
6. What is the Atomic Symbol for Iron? Old Cy answered first: Iron.
7. What is another name for the card game “21”? Cy and Stu knew immediately: Blackjack. So did every other team.
8. How old do you have to be to be a “Super-Centenarian”? Cy thought it was 101, but I felt sure it was 110. One point. We were one of three teams to get it right.
9. What is the name of the moon where the Navi live in the movie Avatar? Only Stu had seen the movie, but couldn’t remember. Only a few teams correctly answered Pandora.

At halftime, our 31 points were one more than the Floppy Fishes, and four more than team I Don’t Know. The halftime question was to name the state the following cities are the capital of…Dover Delaware, Jefferson City Missouri, Helena Montana, Raleigh North Carolina, and Harrisburg Pennsylvania. We got them all right.

10. What was the name of the ABC Family Network before Disney bought it? I heard someone shout the answer: Fox Family. We should’ve wagered more than two points, but in the end it didn’t matter.
11. What thousand year old legend did Irish poet Chamis Heney turn into a bestseller in 2000? Even the venerable Cy didn’t know. A few teams did: Beowulf.
12. What does PDF stand for? Portable Document Format. No one got it right.
13. What do noodlers catch with their bare hands? Kristov knew: Catfish.
14. How many lines are in a sonnet? Doug said sixteen. It was fourteen.
15. What color light is given off when a neon gas glows? Cy said blue. Kristov said orange. Xanna said red. No one got it right. Our fourth miss in the last five questions. We needed to finish strong, and we did.
16. What nation is home to more than one-quarter of all the world’s primate species? We went with Cy’s answer: Brazil. Stu had us wager only two, and cursed when we got it right.
17. What sixty year old folk icon said the following about the American music scene in 2001:”The radio makes hideous sounds”? Cy knew: Bob Dylan. But we only wagered four points.
18. What 1992 movie put Queen’s 1976 hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” back on the charts? Kristov knew immediately: Wayne’s World.

Our late surge kept us on the lead, still just one point over the Fishes’ 50 points. IDK was third with 43.

FINAL: Name the five most valuable companies worldwide. We answered Coke, Wal-Mart, Exxon, and…
Apple: $183 billion (#3 on our list)
IBM: $116 billion
Google: $108 billion
McDonalds: $95 billion
Microsoft: $77 billion (#5 on our list)

Unfortunately, the Fishes answered four correctly, and beat us 62 – 57.

The musical theme for the evening was the 90’s, and included Dave Matthews, Hootie & the Blowfish, the Fresh Prince, Brittany Spears, Can’t Touch This, and Celine Dion’s love theme from the movie Titanic. My notes say we got up and sang the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It My Way”, but I must’ve erased that from my memory. I contributed, but did not return to trivia until December.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whole Hogge

My nephews and nieces in SC have a young worship leader friend who hangs around them. Billy is a fascinating fellow to follow on social media, with daily adventures are more varied than any on reality TV. Supposedly he works at his parent’s company during the week and leads worship at various churches on Sunday, but every day finds him making a major purchase or flying his plane somewhere across the country. He needs his own personal photojournalist to follow him around, though he does a fine job chronicling his adventures on his own, mostly on Instagram.

Billy is generous to a fault. He rarely sees Matthew, but for Christmas he gave Matthew a Lego Bible…a perfect gift for my 14 year old. He offered to give Anna his old iPhone4, since he had moved on to a Five. Last summer at the beach he walked down to the amusement park with Anna and her cousins, and ran into a friend from Charlotte. Billy is the type who rarely bought a textbook in college, getting by instead with his relationships with professors and classmates. He moved into his new house, installed a hot tub and pinball machine, and convinced Anna’s cousins to be his maids. Last fall Billy attended the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, flew to Milwaukee on business, flew my nephews and nieces back and forth to Clemson, let Anna co-pilot his plane, and cheered for the Gamecocks in their game against Clemson.

For a worship leader, I have no idea why he conforms to the pagan world, calling Christmas trees a “holiday trees” and the like. Perhaps I was comparatively busy after I got out of school, but it seems like Billy is always on the go. Here’s what Twitter says he did so far in 2013:

20. iPhone trouble, review job applications
19  Moes with my kids (& others)
18. Shattered iPad and iPhone
17. Lead worship in Spartanburg
16. Play in snow, travel across state, dinner with friends.
15  Drive his vintage Nova, eat Mexican, movie
14. Work on plane.
13. Modern Family, bust iPhone
12. Rave about Obama’s State of the Union.
11. Listen to Eminem, tail spins in plane, watch The Bachelor.
10. Burlington NC, Relevant Church, plane breaks down, Smash Burger
9. Cook gourmet dinner
6. Wingate date auction
5. Watch Anaconda, the movie
4  Win Super Bowl pools
3. Host Super Bowl party
2. Dance party
1. Dish receiver breaks, has new one installed.
31. Charlotte comedy club: Rob Schneider
30. Receive GoPro camera for birthday
29. Line up Super Bowl office pools
28. High school basketball game
27. Watch X Games
26. Watch WWE
25. Visit rednecks.
24. Watch Modern Family
23. Fly to wrong city
22  New Mini-Fridge looks like amplifier
21. Featured in the Pageland newspaper, watch Inauguration
20. Rubik’s Cube, rowdy weekend, grill out
19. Fly friends to Myrtle Beach
18. NYC: Central Park bike ride, Spiderman on Broadway
17. New rims for pickup, hit one million on pinball machine
16. History Channel, evening flight, meet with county commissioner
15. Fly
14. Play chess
13. Church in Hilton Head, climb rock wall, eat seafood
12. Test drive new Camaro
11. Take airplane to work
10. Take new guitar to work
9. Colbert Report
8. Take down “holiday tree” and lights
7. Watch Les Mis
6. Antelope for dinner with Ed
5. Pinball
4. Buffalo Wild Wings
3. FBC Indian Trail, hang out with my teenage nieces
2. Hot tub, bowl games
1. Fly to Myrtle Beach for dinner.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Baseball Roundup

Update of some of Will’s baseball teammates:

After one semester at UAB, Perry transferred to Covenant College, where he is the teammate of Braeden, Will’s other teammate. Perry has started all five games at third base and has one of the team’s two home runs (and the only triple). He has one of the lower batting averages (.263) and has made 3 errors (third base is tough).

Braeden has the team’s highest batting average (.571), going 4-7 (all singles). He has only started one game.   

Patrick is listed on the Shorter roster, but without a jersey number.

Holt enters UAB this fall on a baseball scholarship.

Monday morning I woke up with the pink eye. The eye drops I had at work were just the lubricate the eyes. On the way home I picked up some Visene at Kroger. Rented the latest Woody Allen movie. Didn’t feel that great, so I just laid around all evening. Kept falling asleep.

Got to work Tuesday morning and realized I’d left my glasses at home. I kept two backup pair in my car, but Ceil took my car. She keeps a pair of cheaters in the van, that got me through the day.

Ode to Uggla

What should fans expect from Dan Uggla? Every player experiences below average seasons, as well as season with above average numbers. The Braves traded for Uggla after he achieved career highs in average, OBP, and OPS. Few remember the years he hit .243 and .245 for the Marlins, or the 36 home runs he hit in 2012 for Atlanta. People forget Uggla was an all-star last season. He walked 94 times, a career high, and finished with the same on base percentage as leadoff hitter Michael Bourn. People complain about his strikeouts, but when Uggla played for the Marlins he struck out at the same rate.

Perhaps the AJC commenter was joking, but how could anyone think that Uggla working out with McCann during the off-season was anything but a good thing? McCann went to what, six straight all-star games, and usually wins the award for the best-hitting catcher. I knew Uggla had lost weight, but hadn’t realized he was doing baseball-specific workouts with McCann and Medlin. Uggla could be the key to the Braves’ season, even though his stats weren’t out of this world with the Marlins.



If Uggla bats .250 with 30 home runs, fans should be happy. He will average a strikeout per game, as he has throughout his career. It would be too much to ask for 30 home runs from both Uptons, Heyward, Freeman, McCann, and Uggla. If healthy, all should hit over twenty.

The Braves are built to hit home runs and strike out. Not my favorite style of baseball, but I won’t expect anything else. Barely past his rookie year, Simmons will both delight and struggle. Same with Johnson/Francisco. The meat of the order must produce for the Braves to keep pace with the Nationals, who also have a lot to prove.

Watching the Braves will be fun…and frustrating. I would much rather see the team shorten their swings and hit singles and doubles. Seems like that’s what the teams do that make deep runs in the playoffs: Giants, Cardinals, Nationals, Phillies, Yankees, Rays. That’s how Chipper retired with a career .303 average.

NOTES: What are the chances Gattis makes the team? Seems like he needs to play every day right now. If he was the fourth outfielder, Heyward would be the backup centerfielder. I suppose they could keep five outfielders, based on the makeup of the bench.

Not sure about the details, but yesterday Will’s friend Kevin’s dad was down at spring training…in the dugout with Chipper.

Monday, February 18, 2013

NFL Network's "Top Ten"?

The NFL Network has been running a series of Top Ten shows with very arbitrary rankings, seemingly designed more for television ratings than accuracy. The Packers/Bears rivalry was ranked behind the Browns/Bengals rivalry. While the ranking criteria is never discussed, many of the “experts” interviewed on the show express incredulity at the rankings.

The Top Ten Heisman Winners in the NFL really got my goat. Produced before the 2012 season, here’s how “The Network” ranked them:

10. Cam Newton: set numerous records as a rookie.
9. Marcus Allen (HOF): won Super Bowls, very productive career
8. Earl Campbell (HOF): short but fruitful career
7. Tim Tebow: led Broncos to playoffs as a rookie.
6. Tony Dorsett (HOF): retired second in career rushing yards
5. Charles Woodson: fruitful career, sure Hall of Famer, deserving choice
4. Paul Hornung (HOF): won championships. Ran, passed, blocked, received, kicked.
3. OJ Simpson (HOF): set the NFL single-season rushing record.
2. Roger Staubach (HOF): won championships.
1. Barry Sanders (HOF): the obvious choice.

Obviously, the two first-year players do not belong on the list. Too many other Heisman winners had far more productive careers. The NFL must feel bad about Earl Campbell becoming a cripple, the way they keep him in the spotlight. Though it’s hard to compare players from different eras with statistics, here’s how some Heisman winners did in the NFL.

Total Yards & Touchdowns
19679…105…Tim Brown (HOF). Not even mentioned.
18308…109…Barry Sanders (HOF). Played for bad teams
18168…84…Herschel Walker. Mentioned, along with the blockbuster trade.
17654…145…Marcus Allen (HOF). Made the list.
16293…91…Tony Dorsett (HOF). Made the list.
14368…76…OJ Simpson (HOF). Made the list.
12668…78…Eddie George. Near Hall of Famer. Mentioned.
12615…74…Ricky Williams. Played for bad teams. Mentioned.
12519…15…Desmond Howard…won a Super Bowl. Not mentioned.
10213…74…Earl Campbell (HOF). Made the list.
08049…49…Mike Garrett. Not mentioned.
07696…48…Reggie Bush. Not mentioned, but his trophy was revoked.
07544…54…George Rogers. Not mentioned.
07178…47…Billy Sims. Not mentioned.
05439…62…Paul Hornung (HOF). Also 66 field goals.
05311…34…Doak Walker (HOF). Not mentioned.
04876…44…Alan Ameche…won a championship. Mentioned.
04073…28…Ron Dayne. Not mentioned.
03134…18…Bo Jackson. Also a MLB all-star. Mentioned.

Passing Yards & TDs.
46233…275…Vinny Testaverde…1661 rushing yards & 15 TDs
25882…164…Jim Plunkett…1337 & 14. Won two Super Bowls.
22700…153…Roger Staubach…2264 & 20.
14715…86…Doug Flutie…1634 & 10. Didn’t mention 6 straight CFL MVPs

The Cowboys/Vikings trade was briefly mentioned: Herschel Walker for 5 players & 6 picks. Some continue to call it the greatest trade in NFL history. Walker did not fit into Minnesota’s offense and was unable to meet their fans’ unrealistic expectations. He moved on after three frustrating seasons. The Cowboys parlayed the trade into three number one picks, three number two picks, and two third round picks (and a dynasty in the late 80’s/early 90’s). Despite retiring with the second-most all purpose yards in NFL history, the three seasons Walker spent in the USFL continue to be held against him by Pro Football Hall of Fame voters (and the NFL Network). I was just happy Herschel was mentioned during the show.

As a kid I read Jerry Kramer’s “Instant Replay” book, and was a fan of those 60’s teams. I remember watched an old made for TV movie where Earnest Borgnine played Lombardi, and accounts of the first two Super Bowls, with receivers Max McGee and Boyd Dowler. And center Bill Curry, and George Plimpton’s book “One More July”. The Top Ten show interviewed Bart Starr, who talked about how Hornung could run, block, catch, pass, and kick. One young “expert” dismissed Hornung as being over-hyped because he went to Notre Dame, but he was one of the NFL’s brightest stars in the mid-60’s. Barry Sanders (or any other running back in NFL history) didn’t kick 66 field goals or throw 5 touchdown passes, like Hornung did.

The show mentioned Jim Brown and Dick Butkus came close to winning the Heisman. Also mentioned on the show: Carson Palmer, Sam Bradford, Ty Detmer, Andre Ware, Danny Wuerffle, and Steve Spurrier. Some were labeled NFL disappointments, but several highly productive Heisman winners weren’t even mentioned. Tim Brown  was elected to the Hall of Fame and gained more NFL yards than any other Heisman winner, but wasn’t mentioned on the show. As the Sports Illustrated writer said, the show was more interested in naming big names than ranking the best ten. You would think the NFL Network would want to educate their fans on the entire history of the league. But like everything else in our society these days, they showed off the most popular players instead.  
My Ten: Earl Campbell, Herschel Walker, Jim Plunkett, Charles Woodson, Paul Hornung, OJ Simpson, Tony Dorsett, Roger Staubach, Marcus Allen, and Barry Sanders.

Duck Dynasty

We are settling into the habit of watching Friday night Duck Dynasty marathons. Great show. I was also reading about the show on the internet. Ceil was worn out from a busy day. Also watched a little of the NBA celebrity game, but I missed the rising stars game. Will came home from Athens and took Anna and Matthew with him up to Cartersville, for the fund-raising talent show ran by Mary-Clayton’s family. Thomas’s group won, singing a One Direction song. Afterward they went out to eat at Chili’s, so they didn’t get home until almost 1 am.

Saturday morning Will took Matthew mountain-biking up in Woodstock. Will said they rode over four miles on a tough course. It was nice that they did something together, and that Matthew was able to do something active. I got busy washing/drying/folding/putting away the mountains of laundry that seemed to be lying around everywhere. Ceil went to Lowes to get much needed outdoor lights…the ones we have hadn’t been replaced since we moved in almost twenty years ago.

Later in the afternoon Will went over to the Normans for Joel’s birthday. Anna drove over to Brittany’s to eat dinner and watch a movie. Ceil took Matthew down to the Center Stage Theater on West Peachtree in Midtown for the Fiction Family concert. They had a great time. Ceil sat on the side, but near the stage. She bought Matthew a T-shirt and probably a CD. Afterward they helped a college girl get her car un-booted, so they didn’t get home until after Anna and I had gone to bed. I didn’t do much, just laundry, a little of the NBA Skills Challenge, and the movie “Knight and Day” (not bad).

Sunday Will went to the 11 am service, ate lunch with Joel, and studied at Land of a Thousand Hills. Later Anna drove down to Passion Youth and the 4 pm service, then went to dinner and a movie with BFF’s Brittany and Emily. Matthew was worn out from his big Saturday, so I stayed home with him while Ceil went to the 4 pm. Sunday night Will and I watched the all star game. I took Matthew to Wal-Mart.

Will spent the night and didn’t go back to Athens until this morning. Ceil’s mom has been in and out of the hospital. M and A are off school this week, so they left for SC this morning.

I’m not a Millar fan either…he seems even goofier on this show. I ordered the Wakefield book off Amazon. I’m particularly interested in his minor league experience, and his first few years with the Pirates. Will watched some of the Knuckler on Saturday as well, and enjoyed it.

Nice that Uggla lost weight. Also nice that Freeman is feeling good. Interesting that they hang out together.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Knuckler: Episode 2

Watched episode two of The Knuckler. David Greene got plenty of air time, highlighting his college and pro career, and showing him at home playing with his kids. He wore an Atlanta Country Club golf shirt. Of the five quarterbacks, David seems to be the best speaker/communicator, even better than TV commentator Doug Flutie. Made me Google the firm he works for, located on Piedmont Road in Buckhead, north of Peachtree. I was concerned Greene would be voted off, especially when Perrilloux won the immunity challenge (catching the most Wakefield knuckleballs). Greene came in second.

There was also a long segment on Perrilloux's career, showing him working with kids in Anniston Alabama. The QB's (and co-host Kevin Millar) took turns trying to hit a 15 year-old girl's knuckleball. She had been taught the knuckler years ago by her travel ball coach, Joe Niekro, and had thrown two perfect games. Greene went first and did the best, fairing better than ex-Red Sox Millar. After that embarrassment, Perriloux stepped in against Flutie to see if he could hit any over the fence. Greene shagged, and ex-Marlin Booty commented how Perrilloux looked like he ought to be playing centerfield in the minors. Later Wakefield had the QB's go through fielding drills. Covering first and fielding bunts was easy (though Perrilloux threw wildly to first), but catching high popups was tougher.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia made an appearance, helping critique each QB's knuckler. As Wakefield's catcher with the Sox, Salty would often go out to the mound if he saw something amiss with Wakefield's delivery. Interesting to see how seriously Wakefield listened to what Salty had to say about each QB. All the QB's had nice, new, big baseball gloves…except Flutie, whose glove was old and worn. After he retired from football he joined a men's baseball league with his brothers. He had expected to play middle infield, but mentioned that anyone who could throw it across the plate had to pitch. He showed up at Dodgertown (where The Knuckler was filmed) in his black 1979 Pontiac Trans Am…just like the Smokey and the Bandit car.

Greene spoke to his wife before the elimination challenge. In the locker room Flutie mentioned that his wife was ready for him to come home. Booty said he was single, and was happy to be here. Perrilloux seems to "need" to win this contest more than the others. The QB's had 15 pitches to break six panes of glass, set in a strike zone frame. Perrilloux was immune, and only broke one pane. Booty broke four, then Greene busted three. Flutie's first four pitches went through the same square, low and away. He only broke one other pane, and thus was eliminated.

Episode three airs Wednesday night at ten.

Valentines: We had gone out twice this past weekend, so I wasn't planning to eat out. Around noon Ceil called while walking Barney in the park, wondering what I wanted for dinner. On the way home I picked up a dozen roses, and had one wrapped separately for Anna. I got Ceil her favorite candy bar and some ice cream, a large package of M&M's and brownie mix for Anna, and a bottle of Arnold Palmer tea for Matthew. Ceil baked me an apple pie.

I received a text from Moes about a special they were running, so I offered to take everyone there. Ceil had pizza on the brain, so Anna drove up to get the special at Dominos.

Potato salad is one of my weaknesses. I tried to look for the GT game on TV, but never found it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Knuckler

Enjoyed the new MLB Network show last night about the ex-QB's learning to throw the knuckleball, especially because ex-UGA QB David Greene is on the show. Greene didn't get much air time in the first episode. In fact, he was usually in the background. Perhaps the show was edited that way based on who gets voted off first.

The two with the worst knuckleballers, John David Booty and Ryan Perrilloux, got most of the air time. Doug Flutie got air time because he was the biggest star, and Josh Booty was shown because his brother was struggling. Hopefully Greene's career will be reviewed on a future episode and talk about how he won more games than any NCAA QB in history.

Tim Wakefield gets his day in the sun as the wise old knuckleballer. It would be nice if the story is told of how he was converted from an outfielder in the Pirates organization, then pitched an amazing number of innings in Pittsburgh's playoff runs in the early 90's.

RA Dickey made a cameo last night. It would be nice if Phil Niekro is able to make a cameo as well. Episode one will be shown at 9 pm and episode two airs at ten.

Earlier Wednesday evening SportsCenter promoted the show with a longer than usual segment on the knuckleball, highlighting the careers of Hoyt Wilhelm, Wilbur Wood, Niekro, Wakefield. and Dickey. Based on their above average success, the announcer wondered if the knuckleball needed to be outlawed, like the spitball.

No mention of Bob Uecker.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013: Day One

Mark Bowman said Justin Upton looked buff, that he had been hitting the weights this offseason. When Francoeur and Heyward bulked up, both had disappointing seasons. Should we be concerned? I just hope his thumb has healed.

According to Justin, brother BJ will be commuting to spring training every day from his home in Tampa. It's a long round trip, but I suppose it's not so bad in a fast ride. Perhaps he has a friend who can tag along for company.

The AJC posted photos of players arriving at the park. It appears they have to walk across the field from the parking lot to the clubhouse. Interesting that Kimbrel walked across the dew-covered field in his jeans and boots, while Beachy walked around the warning track so he wouldn't get his running shoes wet. That's something I would do.


I was going to run after work Friday, but there was only one car in the park’s parking lot. I didn’t want to risk another break in. Will had come home from Athens and got his hair cut. After he and Ceil took M and A down to the church for the weekend retreat, C and W went to Phipps to exchange a shirt, then made a few more stops on their shopping trip. At home I was starving, and ate a leftover quesadilla while I waited. Then we stopped by Old Navy, then ate at Moxie Burger. Even after 8 pm the place was packed. Ceil had a chicken sandwich, Will a burger with pimento cheese, and I had a burger with tomato and BBQ sauce. The fries we shared were good. I thought the onion rings were too skinny. Back home we watched Duck Dynasty.

Will left for Athens at 7 am Saturday. Later he said his interview went well, to become a Resident Advisor in the dorms. If he doesn’t become an RA, he hopes to try out in April to be Hairy Dog. His friend Ben Hoffer had been Hairy, so that connection might help. If Plan A and Plan B don’t work, he may try out for the Club baseball team. He knows someone who plays.

Will is playing intramural basketball with the same guys he played football with, including David Rajecki. Said he’s been making his share of baskets. Will has to come home next weekend for an event in Cartersville.

Ceil and I enjoyed the beautiful day tooling around town. She browsed in her favorite quilt store, and I checked out Marshalls and McDonalds. Then we spent a long time in Kudzu, the Decatur antique store. Next we drove to a store on Howell Mill Road, then up Northside Parkway to an art show at the Trinity School.

We arrived at Nuevo Laredo Cantina just before 5 pm for an early dinner, just ahead of the evening rush. Ceil ordered her usual dish, and I ate a chicken burrito. Sunday I discovered we had just missed seeing old friends Wayne and Becky Smith. They had lunch at Nuevo Laredo with our other college roommate Don Sells, Wayne’s college friend Frank Campos, and their wives. The Smiths live in McDonough and the Sells live in Chattanooga. Wayne ran sound for Revelation and Don played guitar.

Anna sent out a few tweets and instagrams from the retreat. She sent one photo of her and Caroline Hargreaves. Will noted that both girls were wearing his long-sleeve T-shirts. Matthew’s team color was camo, so he got to wear the camo jacket we’d recently picked up at a thrift store,

Didn’t do much Sunday. Watched the Pebble Beach golf tournament, the Grammys, and the movie Valentines Day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Empty House?

A and M are going off on a Passion retreat. I had thought about Ceil and I should go to north Georgia or something…then Ceil said Will was coming home.

Last summer Will played softball down in Buckhead, with lots of guys his age. He and David Norman played on the same team that me and David Norman's dad played on in the 80's and 90's. Will also played a few games at Johnson Ferry, and I know old guys like me play there, and at Mt. Vernon Baptist across the river. I wasn't asked to play, but that got me thinking about playing again. My skill level has gone downhill, and my cannon arm is shot, but I'd like to think I'd be a better hitter after listening in on all the batting tips we've received over Will's baseball career.

We still need to get W and M baptized. M was all set to get baptized at NP, had written a good testimony and everything. Then he decided he wanted to get baptized at Passion. I need to get them on the list.

The "Once Upon a Secret" book written by Mimi Alford, who JFK had an affair with when she was a 19 year old White House intern, was interesting. Gave a different glimpse into JFK and that era. As a naïve, inexperienced college girl, she found it impossible to say no. Shortly before the assassination she got engaged to her first boyfriend. The last chapters of the book deal with the problems she had for the rest of her life, dealing with the affair.

"Drop Dead Healthy" was on Jeff Henderson's to-read list, so I added it to mine. Checked it out of the library not knowing it wasn't a serious health book, but a comedy book instead. I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

"The President's Club" is good, but deep. I've read about 20% of it. Eisenhower just got inaugurated.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Iconic NFL Helmets

A list of some of the most recognizable helmets for each NFL franchise. As you can tell, I am partial to helmets from the 60’s and 70’s.

BEARS: Dick Butkus’ bird cage, Gale Sayers’ white mask
BENGALS: Greg Cook’s “BENGALS” helmet, Chris Collinsworth’s striped helmet
BILLS: OJ Simpson’s double bar, Mark Kelso’s soft-shelled helmet
BRONCOS: brown bucking bronco helmet
BROWNS: Jim Brown’s double bar, Lou Groza’s bird cage
BUCCANEERS: Steve Young’s white helmet, Martin Gramatica’s copper helmet
CARDINALS: Jim Bakken’s single bar
CHARGERS: Lance Alworth’s single bar
CHIEFS: Willie Lanier’s soft shell, Otis Taylor’s double single-bar
COLTS: Tom Matte’s single bar, Bubba Smith’s bird cage
COWBOYS: Eddie LeBaron’s white helmet, Rafael Septien’s single bar
DOLPHINS: Bob Griese’s & Larry Csonka’s Dungard masked helmets, Garo Yepremian’s single bar
EAGLES: Norm Van Brocklin’s single bar, Chuck Bednarik’s bird cage
FALCONS: Billy Lothridge’s single bar, Ray Brown’s huge mask
49ERS: YA Tittle’s Lucite mask, John Brodie’s double bar
GIANTS: Sam Huff’s bird cage, Pete Gogalak’s single bar, Justin Tuck’s huge mask
JAGUARS: inaugural leaping jaguar helmet
JETS: Joe Namath’s bird cage, Don Maynard’s single bar
LIONS: Gail Cogdil’s single bar, Alex Karras’ bird cage
OILERS: George Blanda’s double-bar
PACKERS: Boyd Dowler’s single bar, Jerry Kramer’s bird cage
PANTHERS: John Kasay’s single bar, Reggie White’s bird cage
PATRIOTS: Gino Cappaletti’s single bar Pat Patriot helmet
RAIDERS: Fred Biletnikoff’s ancient helmet
RAMS: Elroy Hirsh’s leather helmet, Norm Van Brocklin’s single bar, Merlin Olsen’s bird cage
RAVENS: Ray Lewis 2013 Super Bowl helmet
REDSKINS: Sam Huff’s feather helmet, Bobby Mitchell’s spear helmet, Billy Kilmer’s single bar helmet
SAINTS: Tom Dempsey’s bird cage, Billy Kilmer’s single bar
SEAHAWKS: Jim Zorn’s Dungard mask
STEELERS: Terry Bradshaw’s first Super Bowl helmet with Dungard mask
TEXANS: Matt Schaub’s original cage
TITANS: Gary Anderson’s single bar
VIKINGS: Joe Kapp’s single bar, Jim Marshall’s bird cage, Alan Page’s Dungard mask

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


Watched almost the entire second half. Tech kept it close the whole way. I dreaded the coming end of the game, hoping FSU wouldn't snatch the lead away at the end. I was nodding off a little every now and then. After Tech's final possession, I shook my head and wondered if I had just seen what I had seen. And then of course FSU makes their shot right at the buzzer. I guess you can say it was a good game, but I sure hate losing games like that.

I'm no expert, but Tech's number zero doesn't look like a basketball player to me. I've been thinking that all season. He did hit that clutch three (to tie the game?) but his form was poor, and the shot kinda banked in. He may be one of Tech's better players, but the way he handles the ball and plays defense just doesn't look normal. Bruce Dalrymple and Yvon Joseph looked more like ballers than this guy.

Dick Vitale was talking about former Duke star Greg Paulus being the video coordinator at Ohio State, I had recently read that in Sports Illustrated, in an article about their point guard. I'll have to send you a copy of the article.

By the time I got home last night I was wondering if I was getting sick. Ceil was gone with Matthew and Anna was gone to art, so I tried to take it easy. Around eight I noticed several weird emails from work, and realized there was probably a problem with the daily EZGo shipment. So from eight to nine I was on my laptop resolving that problem. After being down for almost two weeks changing computer systems, yesterday was filled with problems with the changeover. Later today I have a lunch meeting.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Reading List: January & February

The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity, by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. Droll history, starting with Herbert Hoover lending a hand to Harry Truman.

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, by Bill O’Reilly. Includes accounts of the final few Civil War battles, and hints of a conspiracy possibly involving Secretary of State Stanton.  

Abraham Lincoln: A Presidential Biography, by James McPherson. Good, but quite short.

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F Kennedy. The former first lady recorded an interview just months after her husband was assassinated, in an effort to preserve her husband’s legacy. The tapes were then sealed for fifty years, and have just recently been published. Her perspective was interesting, and did not always jive with other accounts that I read in other spaces. In the background the voices of young Caroline and John John can be heard, along with the rattling of ice and cigarettes being lit.

Once Upon a Secret: My Affair With President John F Kennedy and Its Aftermath, by Mimi Alford. Happy to keep her secret, Alford was sad to see it was revealed by others over forty years later. She tells her life story, including her years of coming to terms with the event that changed her life forever.

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, by AJ Jacobs. When I saw this book on Jeff Henderson’s reading list I thought it had to do with getting healthy. Turned out to be a humorous book.

Full Black, by Brad Thor.

Against All Enemies, by Tom Clancy. Decent Clancy, combining Islamic Jihadists with Mexican drug cartels.

Around New Years I discovered – a web site to organize reading lists. Much better than the Word document I was using.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Super Sunday

Anna wasn’t feeling well, so she stayed home from the Hurt’s Super Bowl party. Also absent were Bruce, Mary Hubert, Talaat Tadros and family, Bob and Myra, and young Jere Goldsmith’s family. College students Haley Hurt, Lila and Preston Toholsky, Will Murphy, Kevin Brock, Lydia Stephens, Rocky Butler’s kids, and the Norman boys weren’t there either…the only kids in attendance were Matthew, Margaret Hurt, Emily Hanson, and Marshal Toholsky, so no one went downstairs. Us people who went had a good time: Mark and Leah Stephens, Dan and Karen Toholsky, Rocky Butler and wife, Becky Norman, Jim Ewing, Jimmy Ewing and his pregnant bride, and Jim’s granddaughter Nora and her father Will.

As usual, with Hurts served catered BBQ pork, ribs, and chicken. People brought three kinds of dip, pigs-in-a-blanket, three salads, a casserole, green beans, corn, slaw, cupcakes, and brownies. Didn’t see much of the game or commercials. Karen mentioned with delight swapping Christmas letters. It reminded me that my letter to the Toholskys had been returned, and Dan gave me their new Woodstock address. Ceil and Matthew left at halftime, as did the Ewing clan. The rest of us left when the Superdome lights went out. It was the earliest end to the party in as long as I could remember.  

Earlier I finally read a good chunk of my new book, The Presidents Club. It’s about how ex-presidents relate with each other, and help the current President. Kinda droll but informative. Learned a lot about Hoover and Truman. Now I’m in the Eisenhower section.

Saturday morning I cleaned upstairs all morning. After it warmed up I took the van over to Tire Deals to get the new wheel I’d bought put on the car. Also had to buy two tires for the front. At least I won’t have to go out twice a week and fill the tire with air any more. On the way home I stopped by Publix, and filled up the tank with gas. Watched the Phoenix Open. Later I drove Ceil to Trader Joes to get wine for her chicken recipe. I’ll be eating those leftovers for lunch. After supper I paid bills, balanced the checkbook, and worked on my computer.

Tonight the MLB Network is showing “Eight Men Out”. Costas is interviewing the director and Jon Cusack, who played the third baseman on the Black Sox.

Busy…a co worker has been out all week with the flu!