Friday, October 31, 2014


What follows is the text delivered by Will on August 13, 2014 at the memorial service for his grandfather, Edwin Ernest Miller Jr., at Jefferson United Methodist Church:

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when you look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

This is a quote from the book Fahrenheit 451. The main character, Granger, is struggling against a cookie cutter society that is limiting creativity and imagination by forcing all books to be burned. As he is faced with this issue he remembers what his grandfather used to say, creating this distinction between a gardener and a lawn-cutter. The lawn-cutter’s purpose is merely to maintain. Granger even goes as far as to say that they may as well just not have been there at all. But the gardener works and leaves his touch forever.

This is a perfect picture of who Granddaddy was. Granddaddy was a gardener. While he literally liked to garden, he left his mark on so many areas of his life in the way that gardeners do. Whether you were his grandkid, a friend, or complete stranger, Granddaddy touched your life.

I shared a bond with Granddaddy that is unique among the grandkids, in that we both like to wake up early. When we were together we would wake up and share a cup of coffee and on a special occasion he would take me out to eat. The funny thing is that he has never met a stranger and without fail he would make a friend on our outings. It wasn’t hard for him because that was the nature of his heart. He made you feel loved regardless of who you are. He just had that touch.

As a friend, Granddaddy would make you feel loved by showing that he genuinely cared about you. This is the way that he would touch your life. This week I have been absolutely blown away by all of the love and support that the family has received. It has all been a result of what Granddaddy meant to so many people. After following him around through town over the years and talking with people these past couple of days, I’ve concluded that Granddaddy must have known everyone within a 30 mile radius by name. He just loved people.

As a grandkid, Granddaddy has been someone I have looked up to all of my life. Growing up being from Atlanta, literally every morning we could expect a phone call. We would pass the phone around just to talk to Granddaddy and tell him about our plans for the day and how we were doing. When I went to college and as technology advanced, I could expect a text message from him every day. They would be about this long because he texts one letter at a time. You know it took him forever to send. But he loved to do it because he loved me and cared about my life.

He would keep track of what I was doing each day and when my classes were. He knew when every test was and what I was doing each weekend. He would fill me in on what was going on around Jefferson and what doctor appointments he had that week. Every month when he got his Social Security check, the first thing he would do was sent twenty dollars to me and Ben. Every month he would say word for word “I wish I could send more but I hope it helps.” It was such simple things he did that made a world of difference in my life.

He cared so much for others and not himself. My last memories of him were from the beach four weeks ago. Granddaddy cooked breakfast for the entire family even though he could barely stand. He put others before himself because that is just the type of person he was. And these last couple of years his health declined his hope was fixed on the rock that is Christ.

I Corinthians 15:50-57 says: “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we all should be changed, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘ Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Granddaddy was a very good man but his goodness is not the reason that he is praising God in heaven as we speak. Granddaddy, because of sin, could not inherit the Kingdom of God. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 5:8  says “But God shows his love for us in that while we still sinners, Christ died for us.” It is because God saved him and his sins were paid for through the blood of Christ that changed him. It is because of that we can rejoice in his life and death because we know he is home.

The quote from Fahrenheit 451 describes a man whose touch lasts forever. My life has been forever changed thanks to my Granddaddy. And like the gardener, while he is gone in the body, his touch will be around forever.

NOTE: The video of Will's eulogy can be seen here 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wanted: Bobbleheads

I don’t want every bobblehead ever created. I’m happy with my correct collection, but there are a few nice bobbleheads out there that would be nice to have.

Baltimore Oriole
Yogi Berra Yankees
Chopper Gwinnett
Fredbird Cardinals
Evan Gattis M Braves

Lou Gehrig Yankees
Red Grange Cubs
Georgia Bulldog
Hank the Dog Brewers
Tommy Hanson Gwinnett

Gil Hodges Mets
Kent Hrbek/Ron Gant Twins
Tim Hudson Athletics
Tim Hudson Pelicans
Bo Jackson

Derek Jeter Yankees
Laughing Indian Braves
Abe Lincoln Nationals
Greg Maddux 2002 Braves
Pete Maravich Hawks

Brian McCann Braves
Brian McCann Rome
Mr. Met
Rick Monday Dodgers (above-he rescued an American flag)
Phil Niekro Braves

Phillie Phanatic
Racing Sausages Brewers
Mariano Rivera Yankees
Jase Robertson
Miss Kaye Robertson

Phil Robertson
Uncle Si Robertson
Teddy Roosevelt Nationals
Rome Hot Dog Man
Nolan Ryan Mets

Nolan Ryan Astros
Gale Sayers Cubs
Andrelton Simmons Lynchburg
John Smoltz Braves
Star Wars collection

Joe Torre Dodgers
Joe Torre Yankees
Mike Trout Angels
Honus Wagner Pirates
Tim Wakefield Red Sox

Herschel Walker
George Washington Nationals
Zack Wheeler Fireman Mets
Don Zimmer old new Rays
Don Zimmer minor league

Don Zimmer Yankees

Any mascot bobblehead is usually a cute one to have.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10/26 Total QB Rating

1. 90.8 Blake Sims, Alabama
2. 89.4 Marcus Mariota, Oregon
3 & 5 are injured: Clemson’s Watson & BYU’s Hill
4. 86.8 Nick Marshall, Auburn
6. 83.5 Drew Hare, Northern Illinois  
7. 83.2 Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
8. 82.3 Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
9. 81.6 Kenny Hill, Texas A&M
10. 81.6 Cody Kessler, Southern Cal
11. 81.4 Connor Cook, Michigan State
12. 81.4 Jameis Winston, Florida State
14. 79.9 Trevor Knight, Oklahoma
19. 77.3 Tyler Murphy, Boston College
20. 76.4 Dylan Thompson, South Carolina
22. 75.4 Everett Golson, Notre Dame
24. 74.9 Marquise Williams, North Carolina
26. 74.4 Hutson Mason, Georgia
27. 73.9 Brett Hundley, UCLA (above)
30. 73.0 Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati. Blair’s nephew.
32. 71.3 Trevone Boykin, Texas Christian
36. 68.1 Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
38. 67.8 Jacoby Brissett, NC State
41. 66.3 Brad Kaaya, Miami
45. 64.9 Bryce Petty, Baylor. Heisman candidate?
47. 63.5 Matt Johns, Virginia (Tech's opponent)
48. 63.4 Patrick Towles, Kentucky
51. 62.1 Nick Arbuckle, Georgia State
54. 60.2 Anthony Boone, Duke. Low rank to prove fatal?
60. 57.1 Justin Worley, Tennessee
61. 56.8 Will Gardner, Louisville
75. 53.0 Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh
81. 50.8 Anthony Jennings, LSU
84. 49.3 Michael Brewer, Virginia Tech
85. 49.1 Devin Gardner, Michigan. Rank almost matches his number.
89. 48.0 Cole Stoudt, Clemson. Painful to watch.
92. 47.4 CJ Brown, Maryland
101. 42.1 Colin Reardon, Kentucky
102. 41.9 Jeff Driskel, Florida. Lost job as starter.
107. 40.3 Christian Hackenburg, Penn State
110. 37.9 Maty Mauk, Missouri
125. John Wolford, Wake Forest. Out of 129 ranked QB’s.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's Going On

Getting ready for Halloween? Ceil asked what I was wearing when we go to Chipotle Friday for three dollar burritos. She’ll probably wear a Braves jersey again. Matthew has a new tuxedo-like morph suit he can wear. I recently bought a gold Captain Kirk shirt that I can’t wait to wear. Might even wear it to work. Something Sheldon would do.

Last Friday night Matthew didn’t need to be down at Passion until 9:30 and Ceil didn’t need to help arrange flowers for a Saturday wedding, so we tried out the new Moxie Burger across from the Roswell Square. As I said, larger and nicer, with a large deck with a great view. I added the “sweet chili” which was actually spicy. M usually eats plain burgers, but this time he added bacon and cheese. C enjoyed her chicken sandwich. We split an order of fries.

Drove down to IKEA and then up Peachtree. Saw the Shake Shack and that new shopping center. After dropping off M we stopped by Barnes & Noble to browse. Anna spent the night at Brittany’s.

Saturday morning I cleaned upstairs until 11:30. Ceil went to help her friend arrange flowers for two weddings at Piedmont Park. The downstairs wedding spent $2,000.00 on flowers. The upstairs wedding spent $9,000.00. Later I told Anna not to get any ideas, but Ceil said her friend Molly said she’d arrange flowers for Anna’s wedding (whenever that will be).

Went to Tire Deals Saturday afternoon, for four new tires for the Civic. While I was still out I realized they hadn’t given me a receipt, so I went back. It’s only the little hand-written receipt, but one time I was there and another customer was having a problem. The Tire Deals guy was wanted to see the bill of sale for the tire. He hand writes each sales in his spiral notebook, but you’d have to remember the exact day you bought them. The CRV needs one new tire. Don’t know why I didn’t buy two a few months ago.

Then I had the oil changed at the carwash. Also had the steering fluid topped off, which seemed to cure the noise the car was making. The check engine light turned off, and it runs great again. For years I’ve gotten my oil changes and emissions tests at the Mr. Clean carwash in East Cobb. Comes with a free wash – inside and out. They do a good job, and aren’t too bad at trying to sell you extra stuff you don’t need. Pretty fast. There’s a Fairway Carwash up Peachtree Industrial near work that I can use at lunch, but I like the Mr. Clean crew better. I tried out the new Mr. Clean in east Roswell, but they were disorganized and charged more. Honda says to change the oil every 10000 miles, but I try to change it a little more often. Those oil change places want your money every 3000 miles.

After that it was time to drive downtown to pick up Matthew. We stopped by Taco Bell on the way home. Watched the rest of the Tech game, then Clemson game (and others).

When I woke up Sunday morning my hip was hurting – bad. Hadn’t done too much Saturday. I was sneezing late Saturday night, which might’ve pulled a muscle. Limped downstairs and watched the second half of the Falcons game. Did some cleaning but tried to rest the hip. Had a restless night trying to sleep. Finally took some drugs at 4 am and found comfort in Matthew’s not so high / not too low single bed (he likes to sleep on the couch downstairs). This morning I had a hard time climbing into my little Civic, so I drove the taller CRV to work instead.
My hip felt ok all day Monday, thanks to drugs. But it killed me when I got in my car to go home. Stopped by the post office and a thrift store. Ceil fixed grits and eggs and bacon for supper. She watched the Voice, which featured Taylor Swift. 

Then I flipped over to the Cowboys/Redskins game. I was rooting for the Redskins. Nice that Colt McCoy is doing well. Watched some of the second half, but went to bed at 11 pm. Hated to see Tony Romo go down. Chuck and Chernoff were talking about how quarterback years fly by. Romo doesn’t have many productive years remaining. The clock is ticking on Matt Ryan as well.

Drove the larger CRV again Tuesday. Hip feels about the same, but I did sleep better, thanks to the drugs.

M used his birthday money to buy an electric guitar off Craig’s List. My small group friend Reid went with us to meet the seller. He owns several guitars, and is an Emmy-winning composer at Turner. It was that very day that Reid learned he was keeping his job. Matthew takes lessons from a guy with good credentials, who helped produce a song for a girl we know – that trended on iTunes. M is practicing more and more. He is singing in the choir at his school and seems to have a decent voice – he is a bass! Anna got an acoustic guitar for her birthday and taught herself to play. Every now and then she would emerge from her room and ask M a question about a particular cord or something. She practices a lot as well – behind the closed door of her room. Now Will is saying he wants to learn the guitar. The violin lessons he took for years do give him a head start.  

I went to one of Ceil’s high school reunions, and it was super boring. Also went to several of mine, but my best friends didn’t go. I knew most of the people in attendance, but it just wasn’t the same. It is interesting to see the people on FB, because that’s more like they actually are day to day. Most of my friends were in the marching band.

One good thing about collecting baseball cards is that 20 years later when those American League everyday non all-star players become Braves hitting coaches or minor league managers, you know all about their background. I haven’t watched any of the World Series – only GT, UGA, and Clemson.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Falcon Follies

The Falcons don't deserve my time, and usually don't get it. Anyone who has a problem with the Braves' new stadium needs to justify that much more expensive Falcons' monstrosity first. The Braves would still be downtown if the city hadn't rolled out the billion dollar red carpet for the losingest team in town. And while we're on that subject, traffic out at the 75/285 interchange was clear all weekend, but downtown was gridlocked. I doubt the big Georgia Southern / Georgia State game had too much to do with the bad traffic.
How did the Falcons blow a 21-0 lead in London? Let me count the ways. Take back any one of these plays and the Falcons win:
1. Third and 25, the Falcons defensive back lets receiver Golden Tate get behind him. Matt Stafford wings it 60 yards for the touch, moving him ahead of Bobby Layne for the team lead in touchdown passes. As Tate celebrated, Stafford sprints down the field to retrieve the ball.
2. Pressured, the normally ice-cool Matt Ryan inexplicably throws across his body into an area far from any Falcon receiver. There was a Lion defender in the area, who ran the ensuing interception back inside the ten yard line.
3. With the clock running down the Lions are able to stop the clock after every Falcons offensive play. The Falcons help by calling slow-developing running plays that are stuffed near the line of scrimmage. After all the Lions timeouts are burned, the Falcons help out by getting called for holding – an inexcusable offense.
4. On the next play the normally sure-handed Julio Jones drops an easy screen pass – once more stopping the clock. Even so, the Falcons punt is downed at the seven yard line.
5. On the Lions first play Stafford guns a thirty yard completion down the middle of the field.
6. As the Lions move closer to field goal range the Atlanta defense stuffs the running play, but the Falcons defensive lineman is called for inexplicably holding a Lions lineman - who was not even blocking that Falcon. WHY?

I was thinking Detroit might score too quick and leave time for the Falcons. With Matt Prater I knew 43 or 48 yards didn't matter – after he missed the first kick I knew he would adjust and make the second kick. When I heard the whistle as the kick sailed wide right, I thought the Falcons had called time out. Years ago Central Florida scored a TD as the clock ran out to tie their bowl game. Prater came in for the game winning extra point – and missed it. He's gotten better in the pros, who always liked his strong leg.

Fire the coach? It's not Mike Smith's fault. He just has bad players. Why is defensive coordinator Nolan a genius when on other teams but can't get the same results in Atlanta? The players. But Smith will probably be let go at some point.
Georgia Tech / Pitt: After the first five minutes the two teams played to a 28-28 tie. Would Tech have won without those five first-quarter gifts? As long as the Pitt starting QB was in the game, GT had a good chance. They rushed for over 430 yards, missing Chuck Oliver's prediction by a week. Tech should've scored at least nine more points. As usual, Butker missed a 37 yard field goal field goal at the end of the first half (Butker has made 58% of his field goals this year. Georgia's Marshall Morgan has made 80% of his). Instead of trying an earlier field goal, Tech was stopped on fourth down deep in Pitt territory.

Though backup fullback/halfback/quarterback Synjyn "The Engine" Days rushed for over one hundred yards, he was called for illegal motion on Tech's first offensive play of the game. Evidently the self-marketing major has a lot of time to sit around and think up nicknames for himself. On Tony Zenon's long touchdown run Days could have been called for a downfield block below the waist. Johnson finally pulled him from the game after a fourth quarter fumble. Third-stringer Matt Connors came in and bolted for twenty yards on his first carry, then reeled off another eight – hopefully earned more playing time in the next two games (that Zack Laskey will miss). For the year Connors 10.0 yard average per carry is third on the team. Among running backs, Days' average is second-to-last.

After scoring the fourth touchdown Tech was ahead of the pace when they beat Cumberland 222-0. In addition to the six lost fumbles, Pitt dropped at least three passes. And three reviewed calls went Tech's way, though all three could've gone the other way. Pitt did look good in their Marino-era script helmets.

I was glad to hear that those Ramblin Wreck Club members are actually interested in GT history. I always wanted to be in that club, but most the members were in fraternities and sororities. Nowadays they barely remember Bobby Cremins, much less Dwayne Morrison. Do you remember Jim Nolan? He was a principal down in Macon and went to our church. His crew cut made him look mean and scary to me as a kid.

Clemson / Syracuse: for a while I thought the game would be decided by penalty kicks. At one point the score was 9-6. QB Stoudt could not move the ball. Another bad snap sailed over his head. Since Kelly was kicked off the team in the spring, the Tigers must not have any other options at QB. Without a downfield passing attack, teams can stack the deck and stop Clemson's middling run game. Down on the goal line Clemson sticks to the shotgun, making it seasier for defenses to stop the slow-developing runs up the middle. The Tigers did not score until late, after the Orangemen had finally worn down. Without Deshaun Watson, Georgia Tech has a real chance of beating Clemson.

#4 Auburn / South Carolina: perhaps there's less to Auburn (and the entire SEC West) than everyone thinks. Perhaps Georgia has a decent shot at winning the Auburn game. On the last play of the game Auburn got away with fielding two players wearing the same number jersey (1). The Gamecocks should've been able to run another play.

#23 LSU / #2 Ole Miss: Tough to win in Baton Rouge, especially at night. Ole Miss didn't help themselves at the end of the game, letting the play clock run out before getting off a field goal. If everyone in the stands is thinking about the play clock, why can't the football players think about it? Not a mistake a top five team makes. Good to see Willie and Jase Robertson as the ESPN College Gameday guest pickers.

#5 Alabama / Tennessee: Tough to win in Knoxville, especially at night. No shame for Bama winning like they did. A good time for Tennessee to break out the all-orange uniform. There's a good chance the final four will only take one SEC team. If UGA beats Auburn, and Auburn beats Alabama, and Mississippi State beats Ole Miss and Georgia, then only one SEC teams gets picked. And that's a real possibility.

Auburn Alabama 2015 will be another down to the wire affair. For some reason I was thinking Auburn/SC was in the third quarter, so I watched the end of LSU/Ole Miss. Ceil wanted me to flip back to Auburn/SC (Clemson fans always gotta check out the Gamecocks). I turned back and the game was over. Louie Giglio led the Auburn team in prayer on the field before the game. After the game he consoled the SC QB, who is a Christian.

#14 Ohio State / unranked Penn State was the Saturday night nationally televised ABC game. Why? Three of the nation's top five teams were playing at the same time. Guess the network was looking for any non-SEC game with any kind of importance. Despite their records, Ohio State/Penn State draws a pretty large TV audience, which is television's top priority.

Michigan State / Michigan: Wolverines looked bad again. Devon Gardner throws another pick six. He needs to give Tom Harmon his retired number back. Don't they have any more quarterbacks up there?

Georgia Southern / Georgia State: the Eagles were looking to make an in-state statement, and did so convincingly. Over 600 yards rushing. Not quite a 222-0 statement, but still impressive.

Bengals / Ravens: Glad good guy QB Andy Dalton came out on top. Glad WR Steve Smith was rightly called for the blatant push off. No way the thug should've gotten away with that. There's a reason the Panthers let him go, and there was more to it than just dollars and cents.

Seahawks / Panthers: Russell Wilson made Cam Newton look ordinary. Perhaps Newton is ordinary. He was Sunday, based on his pedestrian stats. Look for the resurgent Saints to beat Carolina on Thursday night.

Bills / Jets: Vick needs to play. That starter needs to be benched for sure. Dimino said the Jets are so bad because they needed cornerbacks, but the GM didn't sign any during the past offseason. But cornerbacks don't throw interceptions.
See where speedy Buffalo rookie Sammy Watkins celebrated too early and got tackled from behind? He sure learned his lesson on his second TD. Sad that CJ Spiller is out for the year, and having such an injury-plagued pro career. At Clemson he looked like the next Marshall Faulk.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Uggla or Infante?

Should the Braves have never made the Uggla for Infante trade? When the trade was made the Braves had just been eliminated from the playoffs, after fielding a team in the NLDS that included starters Matt Diaz, Rick Ankiel, Brooks Conrad, and a crippled Troy Glaus at third base. Uggla had just won the Silver Slugger Award as the best-hitting second baseman. He received numerous MVP votes while playing on a team with a losing record. There was no indication that his numbers had peaked.

A comparison shows that between 2011 and 2014 Infante outperformed Uggla. In 135 fewer plate appearances between 2011 and 2013 Infante collected 121 more hits. Though Uggla hit 38 more home runs, Infante had only seven fewer extra-base hits. Though Infante’s batting average was a whopping 80 points higher than Uggla, Omar’s slugging and OPS were only slightly better. And due to his ability to work walks (he led the league in 2012), Uggla’s on base percentage actually bested Infante’s .322 to .320. Uggla drove in 62 more runs, but struck out 319 more times.

Defensively Uggla got the job done at second base, but little more. But like Martin Prado, Omar Infante (#4 below) could play all four infield positions, and fill in out in the outfield as well.
DU 140 22 1 36   82   62 156 233 311 453 764   672
DU 115 29 0 19   78   94 168 220 348 384 732   630
DU 080 10 3 22   55   77 171 179 309 362 671   537
DU 335 61 4 67 215 233 495 210 322 400 722 1839

OI  160 24  8   7   49  34  67  276 315 382 696  640
OI  152 30  7 12   53  21  65  274 300 419 719  588
OI  144 24  3 10   51  20  44  318 345 450 795  476
OI 456 78 18 29 153 75 176 289 320 413 736 1704

The Braves also included left-handed reliever Mike Dunn in the deal to get Uggla. Dunn proved to be a reliable reliever for the Marlins. This past June blogger Joe Lucia revisited the trade in detail, providing other factors to consider.

Infante’s salary was considerably less than Uggla’s massive extension. That money would’ve given the Braves the ability to be more aggressive signing other free agents. With more money to offer, the Braves could have possibly signed centerfielder Dernard Span before the Nationals gobbled him up – meaning the BJ Upton signing would never have happened. Frank Wren would still be the general manager of the Braves. Perhaps it is good the Braves did trade for Uggla. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

God vs. the Church

Started reading Diane Keaton's memoir about her mother "Then Again." I'm always interested in what celebrities have to say about God. Though she grew up attending a Free Methodist church with her family, early on in the book Keaton goes out of her way to flat out reject the God of the Bible. 

Keaton clearly understood that Jesus was crucified and was raised from the dead to save us from our sins, but she could not process certain negative aspects preached by the pastors in her church – how Christ's blood needed to be shed, etc. While reading this chapter of the book on CD, Keaton's tone changed from cheery and bright to grim and determined. Instead of working out these issues she closed them off and pushed God out her of life.

Church issues are interesting. Some rambling thoughts, to help clarify things in my own mind: SPdL is so unique since it is in Buckhead, as opposed to the suburbs or a less affluent intown area like Decatur. Johnson Ferry has all kinds of staff members – dozens. Money is less of an issue.

Smaller churches here in East Cobb may have similar problems as SPdL. Smaller churches have smaller staffs, so any staff turnover may be based on money issues, and hit home harder. My son may be seeing some of the same issues at the small church in Athens. The trendier churches only hire the young, trendy staff members that the kids love. These people rarely go to work at the more established churches, where growing membership and attracting young families is harder.

When a person stays in one place for a long time, like a church or a job, things change from the good old days. Staff members grow old and move on. Young church members graduate, go off to college, get jobs, and move away. Some want change, and sometimes people are hurt. Since humans are involved, is it really a surprise?

Kinda like the 'real world.' I've worked at the same place for 28 years. Done a great job, in my opinion. At some point I could be let go. I will be hurt and upset, but I shouldn't be surprised.

It is unfortunate when good church staff members are let go. New pastors want to bring in their own people. Or there's not enough money in the budget. Long time church members don't like the decision. What if the minister does a bad job? Was it God's will that they were hired, and therefore they shouldn't be fired? Or was it a bad hiring decision by a human being? Where do you draw the line? I ask because I do not know.

People equate bad things that happen in churches to God being unkind, evil, unloving, less than who He really is. Should God be blamed when fallible humans act supposedly in His name? Imperfect people (all of us) sometimes make imperfect decisions. We live in a fallen world.

My hope is people can keep their relationship with God separate from how they feel about what goes on in the church. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Par Three 16th

Played golf with Will last Saturday morning. Got to the course at sunrise and finished nine holes by 9:30 am. I played ok and Will played much better. We both hit two balls most of the time. I only hit one ball on 16 - good drive, a great chip, and good putt for a par. 

Had Bojangles biscuits Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday night Ceil cooked poppyseed chicken, a favorite of Anna's. Saturday night was Pizza Hut takeout. Sunday lunch outside at Moes. Lots of organizing Sunday evening.

Been working until 6 pm every afternoon. Wednesday night Anna went to art. Ceil cooked spaghetti. After supper I went to the library, the Dollar Tree, and Kroger down on Lower Roswell. They’re all next to each other so I park right in the middle and walk. At the library I checked out a Daniel Boone biography. Also a book about President McKinley and his assassin.

On the way home Thursday I picked up bobblehead number 110 – a Thrashers goalie. Burritos for supper. Ceil and Anna were watched the season finale of Project Runway, so I went upstairs and fell fast asleep.

This weekend M is participating in the Passion youth service weekend down in the inner city. He has homework to catch up on, but the break will be helpful. Saturday Ceil is helping a friend arrange flowers for a wedding. I’ll break out the winter clothes, do laundry, get the oil changed (and maybe some new tires), and watch football.       

Did you pick Tech to beat Pitt? Hopefully the GT offense can outscore the Panthers. I’m worried that the lack of Zach Laskey will enable Pitt to key on the outside. QB Thomas has proved he can run up the middle on QB draws, so hopefully that will keep the Pitt D honest. We’ll see if GT team spokesman/backup RB Synjyn Days can take advantage of his big opportunity to fill in for Laskey. Days appears to have all the tools: big, strong, fast – but has been outperformed the past four years by the skinny Laskey. Should be a close but winnable game.

My co-worker drove from Cumming to southeastern Missouri in 7 hours 10 minutes this past weekend, stopping twice for only 15 minutes at a time. It can take us almost seven hours to drive back from SC. The stopping can be fun, but towards the end of a trip I get ready to get out of the car.   

Speaking of long rides, the NBA TV Bus Tour show was great. Loved how some parts were in color and other parts in black & white. Ceil watched some as well. After it ended I left the TV on the NBA channel and washed the dishes during that discussion program. I went to bed, but Ceil was up late and said the bus trip show came on again - and she watched it again.

Hanging out with Larry Bird and Phil Jackson was the best. And Gasol. John Wall. They all seemed like regular guys. Loved how Rick's role was to be the sleepy goofball. I'd seen photos of him with that hat on, but it was during the show that I thought he looked like Darth Vader in it. Makes me want to grow out my grey beard.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

10/19 Total QB Rating

 1. 89.2 Marcus Mariota, Oregon
2. 88.8 Deshaun Watson, Clemson (injured)
3. 87.2 Blake Sims, Alabama
4. 85.2 Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (above)
5. 85.0 Taysom Hill, BYU (injured)
6. 83.8 Connor Cook, Michigan State
7. 82.5 Kenny Hill, Texas A&M
8. 82.3 JT Barrett, Oklahoma State
9. 82.0 Nick Marshall, Auburn
10. 81.8 Clint Trickett, West Virginia
11. 81.2 Jameis Winston, FSU
14. 79.9 Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
20. 76.6 Tyler Murphy, Boston College
21. 76.5 Brett Huntley, UCLA
22. 75.5 Everett Golson, Notre Dame
23. 75.2 Marquise Williams, North Carolina
24. 74.7 Hutson Mason, UGA (was 55th 2 weeks ago)
29. 71.3 Dylan Thompson, South Carolina
30. 70.6 Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
40. 66.2 Brad Kaaya, Miami
44. 64.7 Bryce Petty, Baylor (Heisman candidate?)
46. 63.9 Matt Johns, Virginia
50. 61.9 Brandon Allen, Arkansas
52. 59.5 Nick Arbuckle, Georgia State
53. 59.2 Anthony Boone, Duke
54. 59.1 Terrel Hunt, Syracuse
56. 58.4 Patrick Towles, Kentucky
63. 56.2 Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh
64. 56.1 Devin Gardner, Michigan
65. 56.1 Justin Worley, Tennessee
66. 55.8 Will Gardner, Louisville
69. 55.2 Justin Holman, UCF winning despite low rank
74. 53.6 Tyrone Swoopes, Texas
78. 51.9 Michael Brewer, Virginia Tech
84. 49.3 Anthony Jennings, LSU looking for a replacement
86. 48.6 Cole Stoudt, Clemson (up from 104th)
94. 47.8 Kevin Hogan, Stanford. Bodes well for Oregon.
97. 44.7 Colin Reardon, Kentucky
103. 41.9 Jeff Driskel, Florida (bad offensive line?)
108. 38.8 Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
112. 35.2 Maty Mauk, Missouri
123. 23.4 John Wolford, Wake Forest. Bodes well for Clemson.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Football Talk

Matt Chernoff was saying on 680 that the main reason the 4 team playoff was devised was because people got mad the year two SEC teams played for the national championship, and that there was no way they were going to put two SEC schools in the 4 team playoff the first year. But if the committee decides, it seems like they can put in whoever they want. One of the selection criteria is being the conference champion. A team doesn’t have to win to be selected, but it helps. Deciding between all the SEC teams will be tough. Depending on how it goes the rest of the year, if the Egg Bowl winner beats UGA in the SEC championship game, perhaps the Iron Bowl winner will be the second SEC team in the final four.

Will Muschamp is a goner – it is only a matter of time. Chuck Oliver was talking about what a bad judge of talent Muschamp is. At the beginning of the year Muschamp was saying his team had improved, and it is obvious they have not. Some say the bad offensive line is to blame. Florida could have a hard time beating Vandy in Nashville.   

UGA could run the table. Auburn only won last year because the UGA DB’s went for an interception instead of knocking down the pass. This year UGA is better on defense, has the best running game in the nation, and the passing game is improving every week. Auburn isn’t as good as last year. UGA has a great shot at the SEC East championship even if they lose to Auburn. Tremendous outcry last night and today about the Little league World Series pitching star appearing in the Chevrolet advertisement during the World Series. She aspires to play basketball at UConn. What’s different about her and Todd Gurley? At this point UGA is just waiting on a ruling from the NCAA. It would be good to get Gurley back on the field for a game before Auburn comes to town.

FSU could win out as well. Beating Notre Dame was impressive. A SEC West team could beat them – or even UGA. But no competition in the ACC for FSU. No way the GT offense could outscore Winston and company. The other night I listened to the Paul Johnson radio call in show. Most of the callers were supportive and didn’t ask hard questions. Johnson seemed ready for harder calls. The UGA callers can hit Mark Richt pretty hard (but most of the comments/suggestions are ridiculous).

Chuck Oliver has his own syndicated radio show – the Southern Sports Report. Heard some of it last night. He said the show had a website, but I couldn’t find it. I did find the show’s Facebook page, which had been active at least a month. Only 8 people had liked the page – a tiny number. I felt bad, so I became the 9th.      

There used to be Leonards Losers, where Leonard picked which team would lose every week on the radio and also a flyer at barber shops, etc. I have a Prince of Tides video. Perhaps I will watch it this weekend. Years ago I like the Streisand/Ryan O’Neal movie Funny Girl. One of the first romantic comedies?

You’ll be happy to hear that I won two sweepstakes recently. (1) RainX was giving away a Jeep as the grand prize. I won a first prize – a RainX baseball cap. (2) Big Red had a $25000.00 sweepstakes giving away various prizes (including YETI coolers, which would be nice). Instead I won a transformer toy worth $45.00.

Ceil fixed hot dogs Tuesday night. Also baked beans, French fries, and cole slaw. M did a better job with his homework last night. At school he’s in the choir and on the yearbook staff. They meet during the day, so there’s no extra time commitment. C and A had their ears pierced yesterday. I had a headache yesterday afternoon, so I went to bed early. Busy at work – not much to report. Perfect dinner Monday night…grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and salad. Also pasta.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Characteristics of ADHD

Twenty-two things to remember about people with ADHD, from The full article is here: 

1. They have an active mind.
2. Listen but don’t absorb what’s being said.
3. Have difficulty staying on task.
4. Become anxious easily.
5. Cannot concentrate when emotional.
6. Concentrate too intensely.
7. Hard to stop a task when in the zone.
8. Unable to regulate their emotions.
9. Have verbal outbursts.
10. Have social anxiety.
11. Are deeply intuitive.
12. Think out of the box.
14. Impatient and fidgety.
15. Physically sensitive.
16. They are disorganized.
17. They need space to pace.
18. They avoid tasks.
19. Can’t remember simple tasks.
20. Many tasks going on at same time.
21. Passionate about all they do.
22. What happened to number 13? (old joke).

People with ADHD have trouble controlling their impulses. Have to work extra hard to complete a simple task. They are hard to love. Like walking through a minefield, you never know what to say – what word or phrase will set off an explosion of emotion. They are suffering – life is more difficult for them than the average person.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dawgs Win, Tech Loses

UGA's defense forced the Arkansas offense into mistake after mistake in the first half, allowing freshman sensation Nick Chubb and the offense to take a huge lead. Fumbles, interceptions, sacks, and timely penalties spelled doom for the Razorbacks, who were surely emotionally drained from last week's near miss against Alabama. Once again ESPN's Desmond Howard picked the Dawgs to lose (to a team with the longest current SEC losing streak).

The momentum seemingly shifted to Arkansas in the third quarter, but that might've been more a function of UGA's three 3 & out possessions. Chubb only ran the ball three times in the third quarter, and was stuffed each time. But Georgia rallied again in the fourth quarter, quickly striking for a score on a Mason to Conley touchdown and then running out the last five minutes on the clock with Chubb carrying the load. Georgia's win was the first this year by a SEC East team over one from the SEC West.

After winning two games convincingly with help from implosions from their opponents, at some point the Dawgs are eventually going to face an opponent that puts together four quarters of solid football. Florida will be fired up, but Kentucky and Auburn represent much more serious challenges. After Missouri dismantled the Gators, some wonder how long Will Muschamp will hold onto his job. Florida will continue to struggle as long as Jeff Driscol is their quarterback.

If the fans had their say, Richt would've been fired a long time ago. And Bobo. And Hutson Mason. 680's Chuck Oliver thinks Mason will be SEC MVP of the second half of the season.

The Yellow Jacket defense is terrible. TarHeel ballcarriers were dishing out the blows, knocking Tech defenders backwards. UNC scored on what, 7 of their last 9 possessions? The poor defensive performance overshadowed a great performance by the Jacket offense. That touchdown run by Smelter was the first Georgia Tech end around to go for a big gain in the past 30 years. Usually they get thrown for big losses. 

Shows you how bad North Carolina's defense is. Chuck Oliver predicted 400 yards rushing for Tech, and the Jackets came close – almost 370 yards on the ground. Oliver hadn't expected Tech to have such a big day throwing the ball. Had the first quarter fourth down touchdown not been called back for illegal motion, the Jackets would have won. 
Hopefully fullback Zack Laskey (shoulder) isn't hurt too bad (he will miss Saturday's game at Pitt). As well as QB Justin Thomas has been running the offense, Laskey's runs up the middle are a key component. Like Clemson and UGA, Georgia Tech faces tough games at Pitt and at home against Virginia.

The GT/UNC game is always a track meet. When Vad Lee had a career day two years ago as a redshirt freshman backup, we should've realized that it wasn't against a very good defense. Instead we thought Lee was going to lead Tech to the promised land.

One Tech fan thought GT lost because the coaches "went for the big play too early" and called the end around for the touchdown, as if the Jackets could've scored on any play they wanted. It was what, third and 20 from the Tech 35 when they called the play. Guess the fan though Smelter should've fallen down so GT could've run the clock down more before scoring.

Clemson: weak offense / strong defense. Georgia Tech: strong offense / weak defense. Should make for an interesting game – maybe Tech has a chance this year. Clemson has to rely on the defense to hold the score down in order to win. Tech has to score more points than their defense allows. I was watching the UGA/ARK game while the Clemson/Boston College game was on the other station. Clemson will continue to struggle until freshman Deshaun Watson returns. Next week at home against Syracuse and especially on the road at Wake Forest and Georgia Tech will be every bit as tough to win as Boston College was this past Saturday.

Not impressed by Boston College QB Tyler Murphy. Though athletic, he has trouble finding receivers and holds on to the ball too long, especially when the protection was good and he had plenty of time in the pocket. Made a dangerous through across his body while running to his right.

Will anyone beat FSU? Looks like Winston will continue to play, despite mounting evidence against him. Like Gurley, his best avenue may be to drop out of school and train for the NFL draft. I love how a line is forming to blast Winston: Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, and Bobby Bowden. I want to hear a reporter ask Winston who he will vote for in this year's Heisman race. On the field Jameis is still one of the best, but he lacks in all the other areas of the award. After a long day of football and deflated by the Tech loss, I couldn't get into the second half of the FSU / Notre Dame game. Sounds like I missed out.

After last week's great comeback, Baylor turned into a pumpkin Saturday. The loss all but ends the Heisman hopes of QB Bryce Petty, who was only ranked 24th in the nation this year anyway.
Alabama made a statement, beating poor A&M worse than any other team had. Everyone had said A&M's loss of Mansiel, lineman Matthews, and the tall wide receiver wasn't going to hurt them too much, but obviously they were wrong.

Loved Oregon's throwback uniforms.

Every time the Falcons lose everyone keeps asking "what's wrong with the Falcons?" You'd think people would stop being surprised. All the experts favored the Ravens to win, and they did. When will people learn? Hey – it's going to be like that the rest of the year. At least the Braves only had one bad year (winning just less than half their games).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Martha was OK, Too

Even before posting that recent introvert/extrovert article I'd been thinking about how my makeup has affected my life and relationships. The world greets extroverted people-persons (the Mary's) with open arms while paying scant attention to the introverted, task-oriented "Martha's." Most of the time I am quite all right with that. As a people pleaser I can sometimes be taken advantage of. Sometimes that's ok.

Some people would be surprised to learn that I am an introverted, task-oriented person. Being around people can be fun, but it wears me out and makes me long for time alone. Having a 40-60 minute commute helps. Convincing others to do the things I like to do and organizing the complicated logistics, particularly to my preferred arrive-early timetable, is usually too much trouble - so I often go places alone. How often am I doing things with others? People have commitments and problems of their own. It was so much of my busy friend Reid to volunteer to give up an evening at home with his family and stay out late to help Matthew and I look at a guitar in a dark, faraway Kroger parking lot. 

Ceil's father gave his children an amazing gift: he called them EVERY day. He didn't worry about long-distance charges. Though long in the tooth, he kept up with the technology needed to communicate with subsequent generations - first email and later text messaging (which are free). Mr. Miller also relentlessly kept in touch with friends and other relatives. He never judged or told people what they should do. In return Ceil and Rusty and the grandkids and nieces and nephews communicated back, visited, and came to family gatherings. Story after story was told at his funeral about how he kept in touch for all those years. Looking back, it is really quite amazing.

I am not like that. My first thought is that my kids wouldn't want me hounding them every day like that. Give them space. But I'm wrong. Deep down I'd hope they want to be loved and cared for, as bad as I am at showing it. By spending time pursuing other interests, I am robbing them of the strong father they so desperately need. I keep thinking that one day they'll figure out that I'm not that bad a guy, but if I'm not careful I will run out of time.

But being introverted makes it so much harder. I shouldn't use it as an excuse. When things don't work out the way I want I can get really down. Being turned down for vacation or not being invited to a golf tournament that I'd been promised an invite to. Policies change without notice, and people forget promises and what you tell them (and that's just today). Even praise for good work doesn't make me feel better. I often wonder why God made me this way, though I'm thankful he did.

With five family members going five different ways, with bills to pay while living paycheck to paycheck, with four cars to keep serviced, while living with people raised to look at things differently than me, all while working 13 hour days (plus the two hour commute), many important things mistakenly fall by the wayside - things that will inadvertently hurt loved ones, people who won't understand no matter how hard you explain. Others make unwise decisions. They could care less what I think is the best way, grow defensive when I try to help, and still wonder why I don't take action when their plan is failing. Lots of people are like that (including me). Some think others should be like them, but that's not the way God created people. All this can just shut me down further.

I should to be thankful for what God has blessed me with and not take it for granted. I need to continue to prove myself every dad, as a husband, as a father, as a son, as a friend, as an employee, as a co-worker. I so often fail, and often don't even try. I rationalize supposed reasons, and selfishly fail to give and serve like should. Sometimes while someone else is talking I find myself daydreaming or going on some other mental journey (at work more than at home). I need to gift others by listening to them, and not spend that time formulating my response (or relating a similar story about myself).

It would be great to come up with some awe-inspiring conclusion to all this, but right now I'm not sure what it is. As Forest Gump said after he ran across America, as his followers leaned in to hear something profound: "I'm gonna go home now."

The challenge is making the time count.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why Can't Tech Kick?

Had a chance to look at the top ten ACC field goal kickers, and the numbers prove my point: While most teams in a conference ranked below the SEC and PAC10 can recruit kickers who can make 85% of their field goals, Georgia Tech’s Harrison Butker has only connected on 57% of his placements.
100%: FSU, Duke, Pitts, UNC
92%: Virginia
78%: Louisville
67%: Clemson
64%: Virginia Tech
57%: Georgia Tech, NC State
Why can’t Tech sign an elite kicker? Poor recruiting? Are kickers deemed not important enough? There are several kicking camps and coaches in every state, including Georgia. Seems like it wouldn’t be too hard to track down an excellent kicker.
Same story in the SEC. Nine kickers have field goal percentages 67% or better, with a combined percentage of 77%.
Is it pride? The Bulldogs have a long tradition of great kickers: Bobby Etter (#11 above), Peter Rajecki, Allan Leavitt, Rex Robinson (above), Kevin Butler (below), John Kasey, Todd Peterson, Kanon Parkman, Hap Hines, Billy Bennett, Brandon Coutu, Blair Walsh, and Marshall Morgan are just some of the record-setting kickers the Dawgs have had over the past 60 years. Robinson coaches kickers from around the state in metro Atlanta. He didn’t coach Butker, and I doubt he’s steering kickers away from Tech.

I used to kick straight on. Still have my square toed shoe. Tech’s last toe kicker was the same year as me, and in some of my classes. He was accurate, but didn’t have much distance. Steve Crumley was UGA’s last toe kicker, and he came along in the 80’s after Kevin Butler and several other soccer style kickers.
Mark Mosely was the last toe kicker in the NFL, for the Redskins in the late 80’s. He was good, but the field goal percentages have steadily risen over the years in the NFL and college (except at GT) to the point where the NFL is considering making it harder on the kickers – moving extra points back 15 yards, narrowing the goal posts, etc.