Saturday, February 28, 2015

Flight List

I’m not exactly a world traveler, but here’s a list of most of the places I have flown. With the exception of my honeymoon to Bermuda, I haven’t paid for a single airline ticket.

Atlanta to or from:
Bermuda (honeymoon)
Boston (vacation)
Charlotte (vacation)
Chicago
Columbia (honeymoon)
Dallas
Dayton
Greensboro
Houston Bush
Houston Hobby
Indianapolis
Jacksonville
Little Rock
Los Angeles (vacation)
Louisville
Memphis
Miami
Nashville
New York City (vacation)
Orlando
Phoenix (vacation)
Richmond
San Francisco (vacation)
Shreveport
Tampa
Tulsa

Charlotte to Little Rock
Charlotte to NYC (vacation)
Dallas to Chicago
Indianapolis to San Francisco (vacation)
Little Rock to Houston
Memphis to Ft Smith

Friday, February 27, 2015

Meet Eury

Evan Gattis takes outfield practice for the Houston Astros.

Somehow I got added to a Braves focus group for the next week or so. I'm supposed to give my opinions on concessions, atmosphere, etc. Last night was the first night and after answering a few questions I noticed one or two people dislike the stadium move and one or two approved of the move. I decided to state my strong opinion and take a stand. I'll let you know if I get any flack. Not sure if anyone can join - I had previously answered a survey that led to the email.

Tomorrow Ceil has a birthday luncheon with friends. She's been on the go with the Oklahoma trip then a trip to SC. Also a few doctor appointments. 

Melvin has a hurt toe. Simba an oblique. Any observations after the first full day of spring training? It's good to be back. Anything can happen in the next seven months.

ROB: Spring training will be interesting with all of the new faces.  I am most interested in seeing how Peterson, the IF acquired from the Padres and Almonte, the NYY OF do over the next few weeks.  It will also be interesting to see what happens with Hector Olivera, the 2B/3B due to come out of Cuba soon.  He is older (30), but they say he is ready to contribute in the majors now.  Atlanta seems to be in the mix.

The move to Cobb County will forever be a dividing line for people.  I can't read Rowland's Office anymore - those guys have just become completely miserable.

Eury Perez became an important name today.

ME: Hopefully he'll do so well that the next Wally Pipp will be named Melvin Upton Jr.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Reunion Redux

MONDAY: I wasn’t finished with the recap yet even though it was already over 1400 words, and it really didn’t have a good beginning yet. Every time I re-read it I found errors and things I had left out. Claire was one of the girls who passed by on the way to get coffee. She stopped and gave me a big hug. I haven’t put that in yet. Usually I can finish something like that in a day and post it on my blog that night. But at 5 pm Monday I knew it needed more work before I could publish it. I was moving paragraphs around and everything. Haven’t been able to work on it at all yet today (Tuesday).

I only put a few things I write on Facebook, like that list of places the choir has sung. The list was a hit but someone got a little too much in the spirit of it and wound up saying something inappropriate. I haven’t decided whether to publish the recap once I finish. Not exactly great literature compared to the works of Elizabeth Musser or Rob Suggs or Tony Korey. There are lots of people who I’ve just forgotten when they sang in the choir – if they were in choir when I was at Tech or if they had already gone off to college – people like Betsy Anderson Perkins and Louise Davie. I thought about trying to list everyone there but I didn’t know everyone’s name – like that lady with cancer.

The reunion couldn’t have been more fun for me. I got there right when it started and then was one of the last to leave. It was nice that most everyone remembered who I was. I never really got to hang around Elizabeth Musser or Steve Williams, but they welcomed me in as one of the gang. Those who grew up at SPdL spent years with the same classmates, and as a college student they spent much less time with guys like me. So it’s understandable who people were the happiest to see. I hadn’t hung out with my GT BSU pal Jim Johnson since his wedding 30 years ago, so it was good to be able to spend a lot of time with him. But there were lots of people I wanted to talk to but never got the chance (like Reid). Charles Qualls was in the Fellowship Hall but I missed him. Also Andrea Irwin and Victoria Taylor and others. Like me it seemed like Andy Collins loved being there but didn’t get the chance to talk to as many people as he would’ve liked. I know we could’ve talked more.  

Somewhere along the way I noticed that the Reed girls weren’t there. Many people were busy and some didn’t have the great choir experience that others had, which is understandable. Lee Starnes said he wasn’t coming but might meet people afterwards.    

REID: Sorry, sorry game by Tech. Couldn't make threes, or twos, or even ones when they needed them. Only three was a meaningless heave at the buzzer. And It turned out to be a home game for Louisville, as the crowd was predominately red, and out yelled Tech second half. It will be worse next week, as Carolina Blue shows up.

ME: Listened to a good chunk of the second half just as they were losing their big lead. Seemed predestined that GT would lose no matter how well they played. After supper (juicy baked chicken, baked potato slices, and salad) Anna and I drove our cars up to the gas station for a fill-up. Then I stopped by the post office and Kroger.

Got a new keyboard this morning to replace one I’d had for over six years. My old mouse was on its last legs, so this is good. But the keyboard is curved a little and the keys in the middle (especially G H B and N) are larger than the keys on the side.

TUESDAY: Nothing big to report. Worked til 6 and drove home. Ceil cooked burrito fixins and I fixed a salad with lettuce, black beans, and chicken. Ceil went over to meet with her friends. I worked on the choir recap a little yesterday afternoon but I still have more to do. Now the wedding might be in January because Will would start medical school in May. So I started my workout program last night. I have zero energy but perhaps working out will help.

WEDNESDAY: I knew I would be leaving early so I really tried to get as much work done as possible. We had a super hot emergency and we didn’t know whether the snow would impact it or not. Set everything up and left work at 145. Got home and made several phones calls and emails on into the evening. The shipment time kept getting pushed back then up, and I had to communicate every change.

Ceil cooked pot roast for me and her. M and A managed to get snowed in at friend's houses. Anna was with Caroline Hargraeves. Ceil had taken a nap earlier and we watched a few sitcoms. I finally posted that choir recap very late. I kept adding and adding and finally just wanted to be finished. I did add a few good jokes. Got a pretty decent response. Went to bed but kept checking my phone whenever I woke up. At 3 am I had to send emails and text messages. Started work from home at 7 am and was on the phone all the way to work. Another emergency today. Tomorrow is month end so perhaps we’ll make it.

You need to get on Drew Kelly for not liking The Sound of Music. A classic. He should’ve kept that to himself.

Three Greg Maddux bobbleheads are being given away this summer (and four of Smoltz). This makes a total of at least seven Maddux bobbleheads in play. I have three and should get at least two more – maybe three.

Braves 2002 (rare)
Toros (got)
Braves HOF 2014 (got)
Cubs 2014 (got)
Gwinnett 2015 (will get)
Rome HOF 2015 (will get)
Pearl 2015 (trade for?)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chapel Choir Reunion

Having missed the most recent Chapel Choir Reunion while chaperoning my son's school trip, I was so glad I was able to make this one. I was sure to arrive early to make the most of the day. 

As the Fellowship Hall slowly filled people would break away from previous conversations and walk toward me - only to explain they were headed for the coffee or tea. Julie Breshears and Heather Swilley share my stomping grounds, though we've never crossed paths. We often see Kelly Clark around East Cobb, and I've sighted Clark Davie and Scott and Robin Condra on my infrequent visits to Johnson Ferry Baptist over the years. Back in 1980 Claire Whitaker adopted me as her big brother, and all these years later I'm still looking for ways to make her mad at me. 

Augusta residents Amy Herndon and Pat Poythress were hilarious, finishing each other's sentences while recounting their classroom adventures and the winding route they'd taken to get here. I heard Pam wanted Pat to sneak out, change clothes, and reappear with a Pamela Griffin nametag. Would've fooled me. Though he couldn't stay, it was nice to chat with fellow Tech grad Ken Crowe. Only McKay showed mercy for my aching shoulder. 

You could tell that Steve Williams had a great time. Back in the day we had few opportunities to spend time together. I had wanted to ask him about his family but never got the chance. There were so many people I had wanted to talk longer to, but there was so little time. I completely missed catching up with several people, like Andrea Irwin and Victoria Taylor. In addition to the people in the choir with me and the kids who sang when Ceil and I served in the youth were all the people who were away at college when I was at Tech. Over the years I have forgotten exactly where everyone fits in. Some I was able to hang with some after college: Jere, Bill and Lynn Teem, Mary Jane, and others. Andy Collins had been a wild and crazy Tech guy before I came along. Julianne Acuff and Charles Baugh from my college department days. Louise thought I went to UGA, which I took as a compliment.

Was fortunate to have a seat saved for me at the old people's table with the Korey's and McKeithens (the Condras and Joy Callaway ate there as well). Margaret is such a fun person to chat with. She could tell I needed the cookie that Joy Callaway had brought to her. I was so glad Whitney joined us - she's so outgoing and fun. Whitney lowered the average age of our table by several decades. Tony Kory and Craig McKenzie had me on stitches. A few weeks ago when Tony was ribbing Ricky Glover on Facebook - as he had 30 years ago - I was moved to write a short tribute to Tony and the others who served for so long in the youth department: Carroll Glover, Waterbucket, Brooks and Sara, and Dolly. Later in the day Mr. Condra paid homage to them. Perhaps this week I will share my tribute on Facebook, though I'm sure I left out several others just as devoted.

The old Ker Thud gang was reunited: Kimberly, Catherine, Melissa, and Nancy. So thankful Kimberly dragged her husband along. Jim Johnson was my partner in crime at Georgia Tech, and it was great to relive those times with him. He has a better memory than me - there were so many stories he shared that I scarcely remembered. As I recall Jim came on the Chapel Choir scene for just a few years, then went off to the Air Force. So there were many at the reunion he didn't know very well. I'd introduce him as Mr. Kimberly Kitchens, which was a bad joke. I really had to watch Jim when he started telling stories about our adventures to people like Louise and Mary Jane.

Enjoyed seeing so many people: Ben Craig. Ann Garrison. Mary Katherine. Kathryn. Ginny. Lisha. Jerome. Ester. Betsy. Sloane. Cathy Harris. Robin Brady. Many put up with me on social media: Mary Elizabeth. John Lewis. Jill. Audra and Holly. Debra Underwood. Tommy Statham. Missy. David Hall. No, not that David Hall, the other one. I told Hector that I still have the Cutco knife we bought from him over 25 years ago. Amanda Margeson must have sung in choirs after high school, based on her posture comment. Next time we're gonna make Ricky keep the kids so Rachel can sing!

So great to see how God was working in people's lives. Mandy is pregnant. Artist Nancy Shippen. Rob and Elizabeth and Tony have written books. Mark and Marnie serve at Peachtree Presbyterian, and Glenn at Emory. David Watterson. Staci Head. Many more lead music or teach. Some are grandparents, some have kids in college, and others have babies in diapers. 

Such great testimonies: Beverly Petty's was so heartfelt, as were Rob's and Elizabeth's and the others. I'd never pictured Bob and Myra Marsh at my age until Elizabeth mentioned it. Laurie Lanter's courage and faith is an example to us all.

When we started singing I would look around and tear up. The combination of memories - hearing the great old songs we used to sing combined with actually seeing so many dear friends around me was emotionally overwhelming. The only way I could sing was to look down at the music and concentrate on the notes. And I was not alone. All around I could see faces with expressions filled with joy. Now it's Wednesday and I think about something from Saturday and still get misty eyed. I was remiss to not secure a list of the songs we sang: Lead the Way, We Will Stand, Poor Man Lazarus, He is the Reason, Part the Waters, The Easter Song, He Came in Love, Trumpet of Jesus, Here Comes the Son, Hallelujah Amen. What did I leave out?

As always between songs Mr. C would remind and challenge us to continue in service and following after God, which I needed and appreciated. So great that God continues to do mighty things through John. Mr. Condra's humble yet bold service has always been an example to me. During the afternoon I was reminded of the last day of my last choir tour, when as Chapel Choir President I had the duty of giving a short speech thanking and honoring Mr. C. I remember putting my hand on his shoulder and saying "Mr. Condra..." then pausing and calling him by his first name for the first time ever. For the next several years I was able to benefit from John's leadership and example in the Adult Choir. Charles, Ron, Margaret, Jere, and Kelly all participated in Christmas pageants and Easter musicals like Living Pictures and Elijah.

Having sung so infrequently these past 25 years, I was thrilled to sit next to guys who knew how to sing: Scott and Jim. As several have noted, Tracy, Heather, Tripp, and Scott all nailed their solos. I know Tracy and Heather still sing, but I think Tripp and Scott said not so much. After Tripp's solo I told my fellow basses that I doubted the first guy to sing that spiritual was named Tripp. I was disappointed Susan Condra did not lead the choreography for Here Comes the Son and He Came in Love. Some of the younger girls still remembered.

So good to see all the parents and teachers as well. Frank and Babs Gudger, Craig and Kaye McKenzie, the Garrisons, Alex and Pam Mullen, Dolly Wiley, Danny and Arden Starnes. It was so fun to see the obvious excitement on Arden's face as she looked around. I hadn't seen Reid and Edie Whitaker in a couple of weeks. Staff members Dock & Melissa Hollingsworth and Charles Qualls showed their support. Jim Neyland looked great. Jimmy Light and Howard Eaton came late and left early, though both traveled great distances.

Great to chat with Ron Watts and Rob Suggs. Back in the 80's Rob and I worked side by side for several years and had a blast. I would fill him in on all the latest SPdL youth and singles gossip. Now that he and Gayle are back at SPdL he is returning the favor. As an editor of books Rob often gently corrects the frequent grammatical errors in my Facebook posts, which as a wannabe writer I actually appreciate. Saturday we discussed the merits of the English Comma and I shared with him my horror of spending my days with people who hold proper grammar and a nicely written email with little regard. Now wait, where was I? Oh yes, the reunion.

Many good friends were missed, most notably Don Head. Also his brother Steve and sister Debra. Mark Crumpler looked out of place without sidekicks Steve Suggs and Franc Neal, and their younger brothers Joe and Wesley. Pastor Rick Statham. Poor McKay was missing Julie, Miriam, Sherry, and Carey. Jeff Yearwood had a previous commitment, as did Fred O. I can go on and on. Should've invited Bruce Ambrose.

As usual everyone wanted to know where Ceil was. Last summer her daddy passed away, and Ceil took advantage of my son's winter break this week to spend several days with her mom in South Carolina. Ceil has much love for so many at SPdL but sometimes finds huge gatherings overwhelming - she fares much better in smaller settings. She's heard all my lame stories and jokes over and over so she let me have my fun without her.

So thankful to Gayle for organizing everything and having a lunch for me even though I failed to confirm one. Thanks to Kelly V for all she did. Deborah's flowers were lovely. She enjoyed pointing out my picture on the tables. The event was well documented by shutterbugs Jayne, Elizabeth, Ricky Richardson, and others. Thanks for sharing - hope you don't mind my swiping some for my own use.

Disclaimer: I write weird recaps like this not only to share with my email pal Reid and post to my blog so I can remember. Not just to post creepy stuff about other people on the world wide web. I'll be happy to take your name out if you'd like. Pardon my use of maiden names instead of taking the time to get all the married names straight. I considered trying to list everyone in attendance for fear of leaving someone out. I sometimes take notes at events I later want to chronicle and remember, but didn't this time. Comments and critiques are welcomed and appreciated.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meet Melvin

Poor Melvin Upton Junior. I can understand him wanting to do everything possible to reverse his now two year curse but he just doesn't seem to get that by being so public about so many superstitious changes it just brings all the more scrutiny and ridicule on himself. Better to lay low and not bring so much attention to himself. To his credit he has figured out how to report to Braves camp early with all the everyday players wanting to get a jump on spring training, unlike the first year when he was one of the last players to show up.

This past football season many players (like Todd Gurley) jumped on the bandwagon to add "JR" or "II" or "III" to their jerseys. Of course my favorite web site Uni Watch well documented the fad. I haven't been followly closely but it appears that Melvin may be the first MLB player to make the change solely for cosmetic purposes. And no one can fault a guy for wanting to honor his father or go by his given name – its common knowledge that BJ is just a nickname meaning Bossman Junior. No wonder Turner Field had UPTON #2 jerseys on sales last year.

Since these changes are so public you wonder if Upton has other public changes in store. It would be a great idea if he'd use his athletic ability to put the bat on the ball instead of being too selective at the plate. To stop arguing called strike calls with umpires. Melvin has built up an impressive resume of not being able to determine the difference between a ball and a strike. Drawing attention to his failures by arguing with the plate umpire just pours salt on the wound.

Perhaps Melvin shouldn't wear such flashy spikes. One more thing that makes him stand out when he should be keeping it on the down low. Of course I would love it if he would wear striped stirrups like he did in Tampa when his hitting dipped.

All this makes one wonder why others didn't follow Melvin's footsteps. He's not the first Junior to be known by a nickname. Larry Wayne Jones Junior had his share of struggles but never put JR on his jersey. Jones never wore flashy shoes, though he did wear stirrups to break out of a slump. Never stopped switch hitting. And even in the tough times Larry stuck with the name Chipper.

ROB: It is odd, but Upton is kind of an odd guy anyway. Remember when we had a pitcher in the late 70's named Eddie Solomon. One season he changed it to Buddy J Solomon.

I think Upton will have a bounce back year. First of all, as bad as his 2014 was, it was significantly better than his 2013. Between the combination of not playing next to his brother, working with Kevin Seitzer and playing for an under the radar team, I think Upton will come close to regaining his Tampa form. Imagine if Upton hits 20 HR's. All of a sudden, this club looks much different.

Did you see Heyward's quote about batting leadoff contributing to his decline in HR's. The numbers don't back up his assertion, but I do think it harmed his progress by moving him around so much. But I think his tinkering with his stance did more to rob his power than his mindset around batting leadoff.

ME: And we didn't even mention the whole eyeglasses thing. Upton is a little like an Otis Nixon who swings away instead of bunting and chopping at the ball. Constanza's hero must've been Otis.

Rowland's Office was always talking about Buddy Solomon.

The Cardinals will let Jason do what he does best and not expect him to do things he's not good at. But you are right – his own tinkering didn't help. Last year one of the Braves announcers kept mentioning it – Sutton I think. The Cardinals collectors are trying to get their hands on Heyward bobbleheads. I'm holding on to mine.

Tech's basketball coach drives me crazy. I heard Mark Bradley zinged him today after losing that lead last night.

Monday, February 23, 2015

GT Career Rushing Leaders

Georgia Tech’s official athletics website www.ramblingwreck.com only displays football statistics up to 2006. For an institution that prides itself on being at the forefront of all things technology this is shameful. Thankfully the College Football Reference website displays all the stats you’ll ever need. Recently one of those sports tabloid websites listed the top five rushers in Tech history. This made me want to do some research into the subject. The list left off recent transfers Anthony Allen and Tashard Choice as well as the mercurful PJ Daniels and Jonathan Dwyer (who left a year early for a tepid pro career).

.YDS.TD.PLAYER.YEARS
4066 45 Robert Lavette 81-84 (4)
3699 18 Jerry Mays 85-89 (4)
3517 22 Eddie Lee Ivery 75-78 (4) above
3365 28 Tashard Choice 05-07 (3)
3346 23 PJ Daniels 02-05 (4)
3226 35 Jonathan Dwyer 07-09 (3)
2806 35 Josh Nesbitt 07-10 QB (4)
2634 31 Joe Burns 98-01 (4)
2365 20 CJ Williams 94-96 (3)
2274 21 David Sims 1974-1976 (3)

2252 23 David Sims 2010-2013 (4)
2225 38 Tevin Washington 09-12 QB (4)
2033 17 Zack Laskey 11-14 (4)
2026 14 William Bell 89-93 (4)
1834 13 Anthony Allen 09-10 (2)
1846 14 Roddy Jones
1839 20 Orwin Smith
1794 22 Leon Hardeman 51-53 (3)
1777 11 Ronny Cone 79-83 (4)
1758 18 Joe Hamilton 96-99 QB (4)

1743 18 Lenny Snow 65-67 (3)
1601 05 Jimy Lincoln
1590 08 Cory Collier
1576 17 Malcolm King
1451 11 Reggie Ball QB
1446 06 Brent Cunningham 69-71
1431 19 Charles Wiley
1425 11 Greg Horne 71-73
1396 18 Synjin Days 11-14 (4)
1320 10 Justin Thomas 13-14 QB (2)

1287 05 Charlie Rogers
1191 11 Robert Godhigh 11-13 (3)
1162 03 Bucky Shamburger 75-78 (4)
1057 17 Vad Lee 12-13 QB (2)

There are other runners over the years with totals between Days and Lee. These leading rushers cover all the years between 1974 and 2014 – the past 41 seasons. I added some of the leading rushers going back from 1973 to 1954 (see below). Back in the day coaches like Bobby Dodd relied more on a stable of backs to share the load as opposed to just one bell cow.  

51-53 Leon Hardeman
53-56 George Volkert 990 8 (4)
57-59 Floyd Faucette 932 4 (3)
59-61 Billy Williamson 757 5 (3)
62-64 Johnny Gresham  
65-67 Lenny Snow
68-69 Kenny Bounds 343 3 (2)
69-71 Brent Cunningham
71-73 Greg Horne
74-76 David Sims
75-78 Eddie Lee Ivery
79-83 Ronny Cone
81-84 Robert Lavette
85-89 Jerry Mays
89-93 William Bell
94-96 CJ Williams
96-99 Joe Hamilton
98-01 Joe Burns
02-05 PJ Daniels
05-07 Tashard Choice
07-10 Josh Nesbitt
11-14 Zack Laskey

Justin Thomas could become Tech’s all-time leading rusher by staying healthy and averaging 106 yards rushing per game over the next two years. If Tech advances to the ACC Championship Game in 2015 and 2016 Thomas would only have to average 98 rushing yards per game to break the record. His yards per season number below is skewed because he only gained yards in limited playing time during his 2013 freshman season.

YARDS PER SEASON
1121 Tashard Choice (3)
1075 Jonathan Dwyer (3)
1017 Robert Lavette (4)
925 Jerry Mays (4)
917 Anthony Allen (2)
879 Eddie Lee Ivery (4)
837 PJ Daniels (4)
788 CJ Williams (3)
758 David Sims (3)
702 Josh Nesbitt QB (4)
660 Justin Thomas QB (2)
659 Joe Burns (4)
556 Tevin Washington QB (4)
508 Zack Laskey (4)
507 William Bell (4)
598 Leon Hardeman (3)
444 Ronny Cone (4)
440 Joe Hamilton QB (4)
349 Synjin Days (4)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chapel Choir Reunion Pictures


Pictures other people took at yesterday's Chapel Choir reunion. After lunch we reassembled in the choir room and Mr. Condra shared a few words before we sang. 

Jim Johnson was one of my few Tech buddies who attended. With his bride of 30 years, the former Kimberly Kitchens.
Elizabeth Goldsmith Musser, Rob Suggs, Louise Davie, me, Jere Goldsmith, Susan Condra Miller, and Bill Teem. We were standing around bemoaning the fact that Don Head was missing.


Ginny Greene and David McKeithen photobomb Heather Swilley Taylor's shot of Holly Mullen, Audra Mullen, Dorothy Traver, and Julie Breshears.
 Margaret Condra, Arden Starnes, and Edie Whitaker

Pregnant Mandy, Missy Simms, Claire Whitaker Johnson. I was fortunate to be surrounded by guys who could actually sing: Jim Johnson, Tripp Mullen, and Scott Condra.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Ramblin' Rhinos

I have seen and thumbed through that 100 Things a Tech Fan Should Know. Looks interesting but half the stuff is from the last 30 years, so half the stuff covers the first 60 years. I guess most people don’t care as much about ancient history as me. When I made the list of the top GT players by the number they wore I really had to dig to find some, especially form before 1960. Then when Grant Field celebrated its 100th anniversary I discovered more arcane info, but most of it happened after 1970.

Chappell Rhino played at Tech in 1950 and 1952. Rushed for a total of 143 yards and caught 3 passes for another 32 yards. Completed one pass in his career – it went for a touchdown. Randy Rhino (above) was an All-American defensive back/punt returner. I also liked his son Kelly as a punt returner. He never let a punt bounce past him and always ran north/south to gain yardage as opposed to the useless east/west. Usually I’m not a fan of slow, short white guys but Kelly Rhino was productive. My co-worker tells me that when he was at Tech his family would send their housekeeper to his dorm/apartment to clean and do laundry. It was supposedly a mess.

GT isn’t good at posting up to date career stats on the internet. As I’ve said before, considering the school is on the leading edge of technology and building space shuttles and such you’d think their own website would run faster and look better. UGA’s site is much nicer.  

How much of Duke’s win would you attribute to coaching? Duke’s players might be slightly better than the rest, but in basketball and football superior coaching can often allow inferior players to win. In baseball it’s called Moneyball. The St Louis Cardinals may not have the muderer’s row lineup the Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels have, but their manager does not ask any one player to do something he cannot do well. NIT shot clock shouldn’t be a problem and perhaps scoring will increase. Wouldn’t effect Georgia Tech.



Got a lot done Tuesday. Anna got her retainer at the orthodontist and Ceil spent several hours at the doctor’s office way down at Piedmont Hospital but has to go back. Another late dinner – a new lasagna type recipe. Anna was babysitting and Ceil was watching her new favorite Home Renovation show on HGTV. I went to bed early and slept too late – was 45 minutes “late” to work. Another slow Wednesday night. C and A went to art. C cooked her famous baked chicken burritos (as opposed to the more frequent build your own burrito off all the ingredients on the stove. Worked on the computer some but not too much. Finally packaged and shipped my eBay items. M hasn’t had school this week so C headed to SC today to see her mother.

Weekend plans: Leave work (Norcross) at 5 pm. Pick up M in Alpharetta or Cumming. Take him to Perimeter Mall then later pick him back up and return home to East Cobb. Saturday drive to Buckhead for reunion. Looking forward to the big SPdL chapel choir reunion. Kelly Curran is sick and can’t go. Afterwards return home then take M to Cumming for some sort of show at 8 pm. Then home to East Cobb. Sunday drive M to Buckhead for church. Unless it snows. Better gas up the old Civic.

NCAA bracket contest – I don’t remember what the stakes were last year. I take it that I lost.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Top Ten Places the SPdL Chapel Choir has sung "Hallelujah Amen"

10. Inside the Air Force Academy Chapel.
9. Deep inside Mammoth Cave.
8. On the steps of the United States Capitol building.
7. In Colorado Springs in line for supper at the Flying W Ranch.
6. Parking lot of a Monroe Louisiana Daily Queen.
5. While eating taco salad in the Fellowship Hall at FBC Amarillo Texas.
4. At a Denver hospital getting hepatitis shots for said taco salad.
3. In Dallas standing behind Charles "Too Tall" Vaughan - with a huge spider crawling all over his back.   
2. Driving through downtown Lexington Kentucky (sung by puppets sticking out of the top of the bus with the broken air conditioner - thanks to Dick and Bill Jarrell).
1. In the choir loft at good old Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Childhood Memories

When I was a kid in Macon I had a poster on the wall that all these years later I wish I still had. It was a United States map with players from every team marking each NFL city. The poster was colorful, with all the players depicted in uniform and the rest of the country outlined in rich hues of brown and green. I’ve searched on eBay and Google for this poster with no luck. It’s one thing from my childhood I wish I still had.   

This got me thinking of some of my other favorite possessions from my childhood and teen years. As a kid I don’t remember having a ton of favorite toys.

Matchbox cars from the toy store on Ingleside Ave
Hot Wheels cars, orange track, and supercharger.
GI Joe with Mercury Space capsule
Tudor NFL electric football game
Louisville Slugger bats from Braves bat day (one remains)
Programs & scorecards from Braves & Falcons
Baseball and football cards
Navy New York Giants double bar helmet
Blue Jox sneakers
Royal blue first basemen’s mitt
White #12 jersey with yellow numbers
Navy #42 jersey
Lanier #23 football jersey with green shoulders
Falcons red #1 jersey
Green & blue pants from 9th grade
Beige stack heels
Pro Keds. I had 3 suede pair: gold, red, & navy.
Orange windbreaker (still have?)
Orange & white floppy hat
Central #21 jersey with TV numbers (still have)
Central #21 jersey with C on sleeves (gave to Don Lott)
White Central #21 football jersey
Denver Broncos tube socks
Central letter jacket (still have)
Light blue leisure suit
Sports Illustrated magazines
Red 1966 Ford Country Sedan station wagon

In addition to things I also remember the places we went.

Climbing the big backyard tree
Floating toy boats in the concrete ditch
Franklyn getting stuck in the magnolia tree
Finding baby bunnies near the swingset
Jekyll Island vacation
Original south Macon McDonalds
Hit by a car walking home from school.
Nancy Hanks train ride to Forsyth
Ocmulgee Indian Mounds
Maggie Valley trip
Shakey’s Pizza
Ft Myers Beach vacation
Youth retreats to Rock Eagle
Missouri road trips
Museum of Arts & Sciences peacocks, planetarium, & caboose.
Falcons training camp at Furman University
Birthday party at Braves/Pirates game
Northminster trip to Busch Gardens
Northminster camp at A H Stephens State Park    
Northside Christian camp in Temple GA
McDonalds or Shoneys after football games

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Another Herschel Story

Recently stumbled across a Herschel Walker story I'd never heard before. Sportswriter Jeff Pearlman interviewed former Jets QB Ken O'Brien, who told this story about his days with the Eagles (link below):

KO: When I finally got to Philly, well, I wish I’d stayed in New York for 20 years. Going to Philly was a great life experience, because Philly was so different than anything I’d seen in the world of football before. It was just crazy. It was run by the prisoners a bit. Buddy Ryan had just left and he bent over backward to give the players all sorta of controls. Especially defensive players. Then Richie Kotite came in and he was there and he had all the holdovers from Buddy’s era, and there was just some crazy funny stuff, things that would never happen in the 10 years in New York. There were just some outstanding stories …

J.P.: Wait! How about an example?
K.O.: It was every day. Guys were on their own schedules, they showed up when they wanted to. There was a race one day … this is a great one. It was late in the year and Philly had an offense vs. defense type deal. That’s what Buddy had instilled—defense would win games, offense just couldn’t screw it up. That’s the short version of the impression I got when I talked with other guys. Because I never played for Buddy. And Zeke Bratkowski was the quarterback coach, and he had that job with the Jets. 

I became friends with Mark Bavaro and Herschel Walker—go down the list and there were a bunch of really good guys there. It was an opportunity to be with some quality guys. 

And one day at practice I was walking with Herschel, and we had a defensive back named Mark McMillian. He’s a little guy, probably one of the really fast corners in the league. And a bunch of guys were giving Herschel a hard time, and Herschel never said anything. And they were laughing at him, calling him an old man. Herschel and I were close to the same age, and he was so accomplished. They didn’t even know he’d won the Heisman Trophy. They had no idea all he’d accomplished. And Herschel didn’t say a word. 

It was snowing, we were practicing outside, and Mark challenged Herschel to a race. And I was taking bets, and I was putting everything on Herschel. I promoted him. And he gets out and they get on the field, and Richie Kotite and Bud Carson are holding some DO NOT CROSS tape. And they’ve got down jackets on, gloves, hats. It’s freezing out. And here comes McMillian, and he’s got his tights on. Everyone else is freezing, but Mark has the tights on. And Herschel doesn’t show up. He’s not there. He’s not coming out. And they’re all making fun. “Your buddy’s not coming out. Hahahaha.” And finally here comes Herschel, and he’s coming out like he’s going to practice, gear on—shoulder pads, pants, helmet. And they’re like, ‘He’s not gonna run!” Making fun. And he walks up to the line and says, “OK, you ready to go?” And they get down to race, and guys are lined up—offense on one side, defense on the other.
On your mark …
Get set …
Go …
And when they said “Go,” the look on the kid’s face after five yards was disbelief. Herschel comes up and he’s gone. And Mark knows at five yards he’s done. This speeding bullet goes by. And Herschel beats him, and Coach Kotite has the money in his hand, Herschel jogs by, grabs it, jogs into the locker room and practice is over. That was it. Everyone was laughing. It was the funniest thing you’d ever seen. The poor kid had no idea he was with a world-class sprinter.
- See more at: http://www.jeffpearlman.com/tag/herschel-walker/#sthash.sHSioRK7.dpuf 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fire and Ice

Another photo from the Friday night after-party.

Worked until almost 630 on Monday night. There were icicles on my car door. Thanks to Presidents Day the traffic was light – made great time on the way home. Ceil had gone to the Dekalb Farmers Market. She cooked stir fry chicken. Didn't do too much else.

Whenever I woke up Monday night I would check the temperature. At 3 am it was 36 degrees, so at 6 am I got up and came to work. I was getting emergency calls from work, which slowed down my trip in. Roads were most dry and very little traffic. Didn't see ice on the trees until I got to work. Several coworkers dragged in late. Some had no power and some had branches down. My boss is sick and this weekend he broke his hand. Our Richmond office was closed so I had to check on an order for one of their customers.

Today C had a doctors appointment and Anna had an orthodontists appointments today. I've spent most of the afternoon working on health insurance claims.

One of those sports websites listed their top five Tech running backs. It was obviously a kid in his 20's making the list. But actually Tech hasn't had very many great running backs.

5. 3699 28 Jerry Mays
4. 3517 22 Eddie Lee Ivery
3. 3226 36 Jonathan Dwyer
2. 0000 00 Clint Castleberry
1. 4066 46 Robert Lavette

Ivey was better than Dwyer and Lavette. Mays was like Robbie Godhigh – a small kid who got by on desire. There were a few other flash in the pans like Anthony Allen and Tony Perkins, who gained all those yards in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise. And that guy that played for the Cowboys that I never liked.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Miles and Miles

Another of Anna's senior pictures (photobombed by Matthew). I had a busy weekend playing dad.

Thursday: C and A left for OK. Drove M to CFA and school. Worked 845 – 1245. Bought two pair of white sneakers and a Mike Minor bobblehead. Picked up M at school and fed him Wendys for dinner. Cleaned shoes. W came home from Athens. Met him at the mechanic in Roswell, where I left the CRV for brakes.

Friday: alarm went off at 4 am to drive W to airport, then back OTP to office. Worked 625-1130. Our new GM Eric played football at FSU. I’ve always been on his good side after helping him out while he worked in Birmingham. Friday I was wearing my new white Puma sneakers, since I was only worked a half day. Eric came in to my boss’s office just as I was making introductions on our 11 am conference call. I acted like Eric was supposed to be there and introduced him as well. He said hello to the speakerphone, then commenced to tell me that he was going to the FSU/GT game Saturday. When he left I noticed he was wearing jeans and black Nikes. Rare when someone in his position wears sneakers.

On way home I picked up a form at doctor’s office, bought another pair of shoes and a football jersey to sell, and 13 Thrashers bobbleheads – only a dollar each! Plan on trading or selling ten and keep three. Got Moes for Matthew. Friday afternoon I had to make a bunch of work calls. I hear the all employee meeting I had missed wasn’t too pleasant. Also Friday afternoon a tree guy came to discuss cutting down a bunch of trees changing over the house. Later I paid $500.00 for the CRV and drove M through rush hour traffic to Douglasville. Left at 415 and didn’t get home until almost eight. Stopped by two more thrift stores on the way home but couldn’t bring myself to buy anything. Exhausted. Kept waiting for word from Oklahoma. MC’s rehearsal didn’t get over until almost 11 pm EST.

Saturday: Let at ten to pick up M. Got him Taco Bell and later drove him to Alpharetta to hang out with McKinnon. Then I took Will’s Jeep to Tire Deals for four new tires. $360.00 plus a tank of gas. Busy day – I was seventh in line and had to wait. Took an hour, which is still better than most tire places. Came home and crashed. Watched some of the NBA All-Star Saturday. Drove back to Alpharetta to pick up M at nine. When walking Barney he pulled the leash and my shoulder ached all the more.

Sunday: Cleaned upstairs then did laundry. Drove back to Alpharetta to give M and his friend a ride to church. Drove home, weaving around the trucks sanding the roads. Gassed up the Civic and drove down to the airport to pick up Will, then to Buckhead to pick up M. Northbound traffic on 400 was heavy to Alpharetta. Picked up CRV in Roswell. Gassed it up and got M dinner at Zaxbys. Folded clothes and cleaned the kitchen. Watched some of the All Star Game and the SNL special. Just when the house was starting to look clean Ceil and Anna arrived and dumped all their luggage. W fixed orange chicken for dinner. He thought the weekend went well. The only snag was after the proposal. His phone battery had died, and he had planned on saying “let’s call our parents” and then have Ceil and Regina come out from hiding – but it all worked out.

Monday: alarm went off at 4 am again, by mistake.

Finished the Kennedy brothers book. Now I’m finishing a Billy Crystal book I had started. Crystal stayed up half the night before Mickey Mantle’s funeral helping Bob Costas write the eulogy that Costas later delivered. Mantle was both Costas’ and Crystal’s hero. Billy didn’t have much good to say about Joe DiMaggio. The day Mantle’s monument was unveiled at Yankee Stadium Crystal spoke at the ceremony. At the last second announcer Bobby Murcer asked Billy to introduce Joe DiMaggio. Billy said “Ladies and gentlemen: Joe DiMaggio!” Joltin Joe came out but didn’t speak. Later he punched Billy in the stomach hard enough to take his breath away. Joe was mad that Billy hadn’t introduced him as the “greatest living ballplayer.” Crystal hadn’t known he was supposed to. Steinbrenner just laughed. DiMaggio hadn’t been too thrilled to attend the event in Mantle’s honor.

Also checked out a book about the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Braves: Gloom & Doom?

Busy busy busy but got caught up on email on Thursday. Took M to school then worked 845 to 1245. Picked up M at school and went home. Today woke up at 4 am and drove W to airport. Working 625 to 1130 today. My mom went to emergency room last night but was a false alarm.

CRV was in the shop for brakes. Saturday I put new tires on Will's Jeep. Both cars need gas. Might watch NBA ASG festivities if nothing else good is on. Pick up W at airport Sunday evening. I worked a half day on Friday. Super busy at work, given I took 2 half days.

Knowing C she'll want a 6. Anna upgraded by buying her friends' dad's old phone. She's good at stuff like that.

Bought 2 pair of white sneakers yesterday – one Puma and one Nike.

Braves: All those gloom and doom "fans" who say the offense was traded away don't mention how bad the offense was last year. No reason why it can't be better this year. Love how DOB puts them in their place. There are a few who have a positive attitude and defend the moves.

ROB: The popular talk is how bad the Braves will be.  I disagree.  I don't think they are a 90+ win division contender, but I also don't think they are a 60+ win team either.  Their starting pitching and bullpen will be too strong to be that bad.

The prevailing argument is that they took a bad offense and made it worse by subtracting 3 out of it's 4 best hitters.  But I think people are missing the fact that they are also subtracting other bad (sub 700 OPS) hitters in Uggla, LaStella, Doumit, Laird and Bonafacio.  We will also probably see fewer plate appearances by BJ and Chris Johnson.  The end result is that you will see more average players being put in situations where they are strongest in.  I will expand more over the next few weeks.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

She Said Yes!

Will and Mary-Clayton are engaged!
Will flew out to OKC early Friday and after waiting around all day surprised Mary-Clayton after her evening rehearsal, proposed at a university landmark that had been decorated by Ceil, Regina, and the two Annas.
The ladies had driven all day Thursday and stopped in Clarksville Arkansas for the night. They picked up Will at the airport Friday. After MC's 7 pm rehearsal began the ladies decorated the landmark with lights and candles, and the wait began. 
After what seemed like an eternity Will was able to pop the question about 11 pm EST.