Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Braves in White Shoes

In a feature about MLB players wearing white shoes, today Uni Watch posted this photo of Ralph Garr, Hank Aaron, and Dusty Baker during spring training back in 1972 or 73. Love the numbers. Looks like manager Eddie Mathews between Hank and Dusty.

Still too busy to write anything of substance. Could be one of those years.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend in the Country

Thursday night A went out to eat and C went to a special service at Johnson Ferry with her friends. I worked late and stopped by two thrift stores and Wendys on the way home. Had to drive to Alpharetta to pick up M at 10 pm. At least it wasn't Cumming or Canton.

Computer problems are never ending. Desktop at home will run slow when 4 or 5 people are all using devices to slow down the internet. Work laptop was loading internet websites fine until where we log our work hours stopped working. Yesterday I called the help desk and got that fixed – but now no other website will load, not even Google.

Busy as all get out on Friday. No emergencies and just one short conference call but lots of regular work plus some projects. C had to take M to Grace Midtown so I drove down and met her at Jaliscos. Then I drove her down to get coffee on the Westside. Saw Bill Reed on Lindbergh when I was headed to Peachtree Battle. Gassed up my Civic on the way home.

Saturday morning it took forever but finally got C and A and M in the car. Took three hours for a normal 1-1/2 hour trip. Downtown Connector was jammed all the way back to Moores Mill. Signs said three lanes were blocked south of the city around Stockbridge and McDonough, so I took old 19/41 past the raceway. We stopped at Chickfila. Beautiful scenery but I missed a turn.

Ate supper at the famous Fresh Air BBQ, whose Jackson GA location has been voted best BBQ in the state for decades. Ceil got a half BBQ chicken and M got ribs. The rest of us got pork plates. Everything was good, but the vinegar based sauce wasn't my favorite. Great Brunswick Stew and the cole slaw was good. Great shaved ice for the drinks. Gassed up the CRV and left for home at 7 pm and didn't get home until after ten. Traffic ground to a halt just past the Griffin exit and crawled along at 5 MPH to the Locust Grove exit seven miles up the road. I cut over to 19/41 and didn't have a problem after that.

Cleaned upstairs and did laundry and dishes on Sunday. Picked up M at PCC. Sold three pairs of shoes, a pair of jeans, and a jean jacket on eBay. We had run off half a tank in the CRV so I filled it back up, then took Anna's Jeep to BP for gas and mailed off Will's rent check. He is having his Jeep towed to a garage today.

This morning's forecast called for rain, but I got in a 45 minute walk/run in the cool breeze. Went inside and then heard raindrops outside. I have three of my Final Four still active – missed on Virginia. Had 6 of the Elite Eight. Watched some of several games this weekend: KY/Notre Dame and Duke/Gonzaga.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

If the US Abandons Isreal

With all the trivial day to day problems we fret over, the majority completely overlook perhaps the most serious crisis our country is headed toward. Former political advisor / Middle East expert turned bestselling prophetic author Joel Rosenberg recently sent out the following email putting the situation into plain terms:

Is a divorce coming between the President of the United States and the State of Israel? Once, it would have been almost preposterous even to ask such a question. Today, however, it feels like it's a matter of "when," not "if" Mr. Obama will formally abandon American support for the Jewish State. And the situation is rapidly going from bad to worse.
Readers of this blog may recall that I posted this column on January 14, 2015: "Will President Obama abandon or fully turn against Israel in last two years in office, amidst ISIS & Iran threats? Exclusive poll results." According an exclusive poll I commissioned late last year, a remarkable 47.4% of Americans fear the President will turn against Israel soon given that he won't ever face the voters again. I suspect the number would be much higher today
As I traveled through the U.S. in January and February on The Third Target book tour speaking to Christian audiences and meeting with Evangelical leaders, I found many who are becoming deeply concerned that an historic and disastrous break is coming. Speaking at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention recently, I raised this question: "What if America is not simply entering a season of strained relations with Israel, but we are heading towards total American abandonment of the Jewish State?" 
Consider just a handful of headlines published since I gave that speech:
For an American President, or Congress, or the American people to turn against Israel and the Jewish people would be more than bad policy or unfortunate politics. According to Bible prophecy, such moves would pose an existential threat to the future of the United States.
·        In Genesis 12:1-3, the Lord God vows that He will bless those who bless Israel and the Jewish people, and curse those who curse them.
·        In Joel 3:2, the Lord God warns that He will bring into judgment "all the nations" who "divide My land," the Land of Israel.
·        In Ezekiel 38-39, the Lord God warns that a group of nations led by Russia (Magog) and Iran (Persia) will form an alliance and attack Israel in the “last days,” andthat no nation will come to Israel’s defense -- indeed, Israel will be abandoned by all of its friends and allies when this terrible moment occurs.
·        What's more, in Revelation 16, the Lord God warns that all nations will not simply abandon Israel but will eventually actively turn violent towards Israel and attack Israel and the Jewish people in the End of Days (the Battle of Har Meggido, the Mountain of Meggido, also known as the Battle of Armageddon).
As noted at the NRB Convention, "the Bible teaches us that all nations will turn against Israel in the last days — and all nations will face judgment for it — but woe into us if it happens on our watch."
Have we come to that fateful moment? Not quite yet, but we are getting dangerously close. Even though 70% of Americans support Israel, we are watching the President:
·        negotiate an incredibly dangerous nuclear deal with Iran
·        refuse to share the precise details of this deal with Israel, America’s most faithful and trusted ally in the region
·        treat the Israeli Prime Minister nearly as persona non grata
·        send the VP and Secretary of State out of country to avoid seeing the Prime Minister
·        send his political strategists and operatives to defeat the Prime Minister and his party in Israel’s recent elections
·        seem to threaten revenge because the PM won reelection
·        threaten to abandon Israel at the UN and allow anti-Israel resolutions to pass without an American veto
·        threaten to force Israel to divide Jerusalem and roll back to her pre-1967 borders or face severe international consequences
This is the most dangerous moment in the 67-year history of the U.S.-Israel relationship. What do the next two years hold? I cannot say for sure. I'm praying for the President and his top advisors to back off, turn from this dangerous path and find common ground with Israel, despite policy and personality differences.
But this much I know: on top of all America’s national challenges and sins, including 58 million abortions, we dare not also abandon or turn against Israel and the Jewish people. If we do, we will seal our fate and face the judgment of God.

Friday, March 27, 2015

What I did Where

Why I have visited each state, and the approximate number of times visited. Some are harder to remember than others. Similar to a post from a few years ago when I listed many of the cities I had visited. Can you tell I look at a map all day?

ALABAMA: several trips: Montgomery as a kid, twice to Gulf Shores, Boaz and Lake Guntersville with Ceil, Huntsville baseball trip, Smith Lake, work trips to Birmingham, UAB visit, football games at Auburn and Legion Field. Golf in Birmingham.

ALASKA: never visited

ARIZONA: baseball fantasy camp in Mesa/Phoenix.

ARKANSAS: several work trips to Little Rock, Ft. Smith, and West Memphis. Golf in Little Rock.

CALIFORNIA: visited twice: LA trip with Ceil and San Francisco/Yosemite family vacation. Giants baseball game.   

COLORADO: two choir tours to Colorado Springs & Denver.

CONNECTICUT: never visited

DELAWARE: drove through on the way from NY to VA

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: visited twice. Nationals game at RFK.

FLORIDA: over a dozen trips for work and vacation, all over the state. Miami football game and Rays baseball games at Tropicana Field.

GEORGIA: Lived here all my life. Baseball games in Atlanta, Macon, Rome, and Gwinnett. Golf at many courses.  

HAWAII: never visited.

IDAHO: never visited

ILLINOIS: Several trips. Springfield. Work and play in Chicago. Games at Wrigley Field and old Comminsky Park.

INDIANA: Visit Dic and Debbie in Ladoga and Butler. Carry Olympic torch in Gary. Visit Notre Dame campus in South Bend and Purdue University. College mission trip to Terre Haute. Work trip to Indianapolis.

IOWA: visit relatives as a teenager.

KANSAS: drove through state on choir tour.

KENTUCKY: sang in cave on choir tour (also in Lexington). Work trip to Owensboro. Flew into Louisville.

LOUISIANA: New Orleans for New Years. Auburn/Michigan Sugar Bowl. Shreveport work trip.

MAINE: visit L L Bean and Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park.

MARYLAND: two visits - Baltimore inner harbor and Fort McHenry, Orioles game at Camden Yards.

MASSACHUSETTS: Boston trip. Saw Red Sox at Fenway Park.

MICHIGAN – work trip to Detroit in 1996.

MINNESOTA: never visited

MISSISSIPPI: drove through several times, Hattiesburg road trip

MISSOURI: family trips to Maryville and Tarkio, Cardinals game at old Busch Memorial Stadium in 1968.

MONTANA: never visited

NEBRASKA: never visited. But Will played in a baseball tourney in Omaha.

NEVADA: never visited

NEW HAMPSHIRE: drove through to get to Maine

NEW JERSEY: drove through from NY to VA.

NEW MEXICO: never visited

NEW YORK: NYC twice, Cooperstown on a baseball trip, Elmira/Corning on a college mission trip, Niagara Falls and Rochester on choir tour. Mets game at old Shea Stadium.

NORTH CAROLINA: many times – Asheville, Ridgecrest, Goldsboro AFB, Charlotte for work and shopping and a Hornets game, Monroe to eat, Kitty Hawk in college, carried Olympic torch in Winston Salem and Hickory, Holden Beach to eat, golf in Calabash, fall leaves and snow in Murphy, Jackets/Heels in Keenan Stadium.

NORTH DAKOTA: never visited

OHIO: college road trip, work trip to Lima, visit Frank in Cincinnati.

OKLAHOMA: work trips to Tulsa.

OREGON: never visited

PENNSLYVANIA: drove through several times on the way to New York.

RHODE ISLAND: never visited

SOUTH CAROLINA: many times – golf in Jefferson, Mrytle Beach, Keyowah, and Clemson. Vacations in Hilton Head and Surfside, house shopping in Charleston, work in Huger, Greenville, Greenwood, and Sumter. Wedding night in Columbia, Rusty’s wedding in Abbeville, GBraves baseball in Greenville and Pelicans in Mrytle Beach, Tigers/Jackets in Memorial Stadium and Littlejohn.

SOUTH DAKOTA: never visited

TENNESSEE: several trips – baseball trips to Nashville and Chattanooga, college mission trip and ski trip to Gatlinburg, work trips to Chattanooga and Memphis, minor league games and concert in Chattanooga, Jackets/Vols at Neyland Stadium, golf in Nashville.

TEXAS: choir tour to Dallas and Amarillo, work trips to Dallas and Houston. Ballgames in Arlington and Houston. Golf in Dallas.  

UTAH: Ceil flew into Salt Lake on the way to Jackson Hole

VERMONT: never visited

VIRGINIA: several times to visit the Broadwells. Wedding in Richmond.

WASHINGTON: never visited

WEST VIRGINIA: ski trip in early 90’s. Drove through on the way to Cooperstown and perhaps choir tour.

WISCONSIN: never visited

WYOMING: Never visited. But Ceil flew to Jackson Hole in 2013.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Frank the Tank

Remember how college teams used to start their season by playing a game against a team called Marathon Oil? The father of Wisconsin all-American center Frank Kaminsky was a NAIA all-American in 76 and 77. Then he played for Marathon Oil until he was 40 years old. In 86 they beat 12th ranked Auburn.  His last game was a 1995 win over Bonzi Wells’ Ball State team.

Worked until 615 last night then turned left out of the parking lot onto PIB to head home. Called Ceil and learned I was supposed to pick up M at 630 – in the opposite direction from which I was headed. Traffic was light and I took a less-traveled back route and made it by 645 – twenty minutes before M was dropped off. Didn’t get home until 745. Ceil served Trader Joes angus beef burgers and salad at 810.

Arrived at work this morning at my usual time, about 710. Opened the back door to grab my briefcase and noticed M’s backpack. So I missed 1-1/2 hours of work fighting traffic back to his school in Alpharetta. When I try to tell M how much money I could have earned instead of correcting his mistake (money to pay for his tuition and food and concerts and other extravagances) he just thinks I’m more concerned about money than him. Then at a red light I see an email that he hadn’t finished a homework assignment and I get even more frustrated. Made it even harder to concentrate on the book on CD telling me what a nice guy JFK Jr was.   

My friend Lee works right next to the new ballpark. I had thought he worked across 285 near the Galleria (and he used to). He’s in the building where they take the time lapse pictures. When I talked to him about it he showed me the pictures he’s been taking out his window. They have been told that game day parking will impact their lot. Their lease is up next year but they’re thinking about signing a short lease to see what life next to the stadium would be like.

Christy, who graduated from high school with Will, has been a dancer her whole life. She danced in high school as well as college and spent one summer dancing in NYC.  She’s about to graduate from Samford and has accepted a job with Carnival Cruise Lines to dance on their cruise ships. May just be a good entry level dance job. Her mom may be taking more cruises in the future.

I remember going to Callaway Gardens as a kid in the 60’s, but I don’t know the exact day. Sometimes my dad would have business meeting there and we would get to stay in the cabins. Hang out on the beach, ride the little train, then put pennies and gravel rocks on the tracks for the train to run over. Never went to the FSU circus, but never wanted to. That chapel by the lake is a cool place. Later we took our kids to the butterfly center. Also visited FDR’s Little White House as a kid, with a walkway lined with a rock in the shape of every state.

Ceil, Will, and I got into the Peachtree Road Race. My 28th and Will’s 12th. Ceil’s second. Must still be popular because coworker Dennis had two entries rejected. Hard for me to run right now with my hurt should – hard to pump my arms. I need to get out there and walk. Will help keep my brain working better.  

After all those meetings Monday I worked until 6:30. Ceil cooked her great homemade pizza – which I didn’t need to eat. She watched The Voice. I went to bed at ten. Tuesday no one called in to our 11 am meeting. Kinda like that ESPN commercial with all the mascots and Scott Van Pelt tries to call in.

I've giving basketball sage Reid extra column inches during March Madness:

REID: Stuck in a small article in ajc says that Mark Price has been hired as head coach at the University of Charlotte. The purist I am, I turned on the Old Dominion/Murray St game. Was initially surprised that Old Dominion's Arena was filled and jumping. MS was 10 points behind with 2 min to go. They caught fire and got to within 3 in the last 10 sec. A guy threw up a heave from way back and it went in tio tie the game. The crowd became very quiet. OD threw the ball in after a time out, and the guy shot a prayer while running and jumping way behind the line, that somehow went in. The crowd erumped.  The bench came running out on court and mobbed the shooter knocking him to the floor while they all piled on. Coaches came running out to pull the players off the shooter. It was one of the best finishes I've ever seen.

ME: That’s good that Mark Price got the head coaching job.

Ceil recently went to Rays on the River. I’ve only been once, many years ago. At what used to be the Norcross Rail Station Restaurant one of their signature side dishes is macaroni and cheese with lobster baked in. When you order it (or order M&C without lobster) they bake it in the oven in a small dish and serve it scalding hot.

Sports Illustrated did a top 25 NBA ugliest uniforms. I couldn’t believe the lime green Hawks unis topped the list. The Motumbo era unis with the Hawk flying at you were also near the top. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Giving Aid

REID: I have never understood why when a player gets injured during a game, it takes forever for anyone to come out to attend to the injured player. I'm watching Vanderbilt-Stanford, and a Stanford player runs into a Vanderbilt player, elbows him in the face which forces him to fall over backwards, hitting his head on the hardwood floor. He doesn't move. Team mates stand over him looking at him but not knowing what to do. Finally after at least 30 sec, a trainer comes out to attend to the stunned player. The coach finally comes out about 30 sec later.

I've seen this NUMEROUS times this and last week in all the games I've watched. And, even all games I've ever seen. One game I was watching at Tech recently, a player was floored in the backcourt and lay motionless while the action continued on the other end of the court. I'm sitting there thinking what can be more important than the well being of a motionless player laying on the floor unattended. I told E at the time, that one of the refs should have stopped the game.

Just don't understand.

ME: Perhaps it's because these days players are so dramatic and just lay on the floor after a fall for an extended time (to soak up attention?) before dragging themselves to their feet. Perhaps trainers and coaches have been fooled so many times that they wait to see if the player is actually hurt before leaving the sidelines. Plus they can't step on the court until play is stopped by an official without drawing a technical foul.

Think about it: if refs stopped play every time a player fell down and the game continued on the other end of the court then more players would fall down and fake injuries. It happened so much at the end of football games by players wanting to stop the clock that the rule was changed to charge the team a time out. Now any downed player forcing clock stoppage must come out of the game for one play.

I've seen Mark Richt go out on the field several times to check on a fallen player. The pictures of Todd Gurley laying on the field with a torn ACL all show Richt at his side.

I bet coaches discuss injuries in league meetings and are told what to do. Failure to follow the rules could result in penalties against the school.

Little league is fun because when a kid gets hit the mother runs out on the field before the play is over. Once Will slid into third and seemed hurt and Ceil ran across from the first base side to check on him.  Another time I arrived late and was told Will had hit an opposing player in the head with a pitch. Seeing that player still on the field looking fine, I laughed.

Another ho hum evening. Left work at 6 pm and stopped by the library, Kroger, and the bank. Anna and Matthew went to the coffee shop to study. Ceil ran errands. Watched HGTV's Fixer Upper. People buy a house for $260,000 then add another $200,000 in renovations.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Napier Funeral

Friday night: Worked til six and I guess I drove straight home. We went over to Lee & Nancy's house to eat PaPaJohns Pizza. Nancy had just returned from a Johnson Ferry BC mission trip to India. A missionary from New Zealand rescues women from prostitution and sets them up making bags and baskets, with full pay, benefits, and a retirement plan. Matthew went to hang out with his longtime friend Daniel but Anna went to a movie since Mary Lee wasn't there. 

Saturday morning Ceil, Anna, and I went down to SPdL for Jean Napier's funeral. Will was deep into wedding planning in Cartersville and couldn't make it. When I arrived I saw the signs for the Pictorial Directory but didn't see Edie. All the Normans were there except for Willis, who is all the way around the world in somewhere like Burma. Joel and Charles wore new matching suits that Becky had just bought them. Catherine had been in town all week, perhaps the longest she's been away from Memphis in years. Spencer had just gotten in last night from Colorado. I got to chat with David and his bride Beth, which was fun.

Sat in front of Jerry and Marcine Head. Lindsey Acuff brought his parents. Harry and Beth Hurt brought his mother. Steve Suggs and his sister-in-law Gayle brought Jim Senior. I hadn't seen Steve in years and hated that I wasn't able to speak with him. He did see me and gave me his signature nod. From what I hear Steve spends a lot of time caring for his father. Charles Quarles snuck in at the last moment as well. We also nodded hello, but I didn't get to speak to him either. The Wednesday night lady friend who plays the organ (not Joy Callaway) was there to play the piano.

Ashley had to dash home but returned in time for the service. Joel and Charles sang two songs and Ashley's youngest daughter delivered a wonderful memorial. Bob spoke from Psalms. Afterwards I made a point to tell David Norman's former Living Science teacher Kathy Arasmith (who sat in front of me with Michelle Pipe – they attend East Cobb Presbyterian with Becky) that Dr. Marsh was the preacher who preached "the Psalmist faced" sermon series. Several years ago Kathy had asked me the story behind my "The Psalmist faced…the school parent's meeting" comment.

Barbara Goldsmith was there with Myra. They both looked well. I spoke to Bob Marsh before the service but he was busy getting his thoughts together. Afterwards he mentioned that he was teaching a class at Peachtree Presbyterian, attended by Jim Phillips, Marby Rainer, and others. Seems like Peachtree Presbyterian has become something like what SPdL used to be. We spoke after the funeral. In the parking lot Bob called to me, wanted to check out the Family Life Center. We looked around while C and A wondered where I had disappeared to. As we were leaving the one thing Becky told us was how much she had appreciated Edie coming to the visitation.

Back home I cooked turkey bacon for sandwiches on the Panini press, then drove M to Alpharetta. Then I got the oil changed in Anna's Jeep and saw an old friend at the carwash for the second straight week. Anna met Will and MC for a bridemaid's dress fitting, then went over to Britany's for a girl's night sleepover. Ceil didn't want Mexican so we ate at Moxie Burger, then drove to Cumming to retrieve Matthew. On the way C got a call from Caroline McKeithen, so they got to catch up.

Sunday I cleaned upstairs and signed up for the Peachtree Road Race, then drove M down to PCC. Ceil cooked chicken soup and watched two cheesy movie on the Hallmark Channel. The leading actor in both movies both looked like Preston Toholsky.

After Sunday my NCAA record is 38-14 with 3 of my Final Four still in it – and 6 of my Elite Eight and 12 of my Sweet Sixteen. Missed on the losses of Virginia and Villanova and Kansas. See where GT basketball player Cox was signed by Indianapolis? Not the Pacers, but the Colts.

Too much work. Computer at home runs slower than at work. I try not to stay on the computer at home too much because it always takes me so long. Co-worker didn't show up today AND I just got hit with an all day emergency AND now we have a 10 am meeting AND an 11 am meeting, capped off with a two hour afternoon meeting. Perhaps the 11 am meeting can be cancelled on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ninth Grade

Ninth Grade science class L-R back row: the brainy Jimmy Worsham, always Friendly Bob Brewster (now a vet in Athens), yours truly (rocking a vintage orange Lanier football jersey with green shoulder yoke and stitched numbers), Steve Williamson in back, Chris Causey, hippie freak Dixie Walker, dark-haired wild woman Brenda Poole, Nina Ketner, and Estralita Williams. In front dark haired Julie Williamson, Renee, blonde Cindy (drove a VW Bug), and peace sign flashing Dallas Foster.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

States by Square Miles

Staring at a map of the USA one day I thought about how Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi, and decided to learn exactly how much bigger the Peach State is compared to her neighbors. Based on land area alone (subtracting areas cover by water) Georgia ranks twenty-first, larger than the nine smallest states combined.

570640 Alaska
261231 Texas
155779 California
145545 Montana
121298 New Mexico

112594 Arizona
109781 Nevada
103641 Colorado
097093 Wyoming
095988 Oregon

82643 Idaho
82169 Utah
81758 Kansas
79626 Minnesota
76824 Nebraska

75811 South Dakota
69000 North Dakota
68741 Missouri
68594 Oklahoma
66455 Washington

57513 Georgia (21) 59425 total area (24)
56538 Michigan
55857 Iowa
55518 Illinois
54157 Wisconsin

53624 Florida (26) 65757 tot area (22)
52035 Arkansas
50645 Alabama (28) 52420 (30)
48617 North Carolina (29) 53819 (28)
47126 New York (30) 54554 (27)

46923 Mississippi (31) 48431 (32)
44742 Pennsylvania (32) 46054 (33)
43203 Louisiana
41234 Tennessee (34) 42144 (36)
40860 Ohio (35) 44825

39490 Virginia
39486 Kentucky
35826 Indiana
30842 Maine
30060 South Carolina (40)

24038 West Virginia
09707 Maryland
09216 Vermont
08952 New Hampshire
07800 Massachusetts

7354 New Jersey
6422 Hawaii
4842 Connecticut
1948 Delaware
1033 Rhode Island

0061 District of Columbia
3423 Puerto Rico
0182 Northern Mariana Islands
0134 US Virgin Islands
0076 American Samoa
0209 Guam
0016 minor outlying islands

Technically Florida has more total area than Georgia, including areas covered in water. Same with Michigan.

California’s San Bernardino County is the largest county in the US and is larger than the four smallest US states combined. The county stretches almost from the Pacific Ocean to Arizona and Las Vegas Nevada.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Jaguars Prevail

Did not watch the NCAA tournament Thursday night but made a point of checking the scores first thing Thursday. So far I am 14-6 with only two of my Sweet 16 gone, and my Elite Eight still intact. Two games were tough picks and I batted .500 – Cincinnati beat my pick Purdue but I picked NC State over LSU. Also missed on Hampton, Robert Morris, UCLA, and of course UAB and Georgia State. Those people boasting about picking the upsets never say how many they got wrong. Before the tourney the talk was how several 15 seeds have upset number two seeds, like Mercer’s 2014 upset of Duke. Didn’t happen yesterday.

REID: And its Roundball Day again !!! I got SO Worked up during that Ga State game. I was yelling and screaming. Hunter scored last 10 points. I don't think Harrow even played. Also thought NC had lost. They looked terrible. Harvard should have won. SMU got a tough 3pt goal tending call called on them at the end to lose it. Felt bad for Larry Brown. He deserved better. I got so worked up yesterday, I slept till 9:00 this morning.  

ME: Last year Ceil helped arrange flowers at a wedding out near the Blue Willow and got to eat there. I’ve driven past but never had the privilege. Was reading a list of top places to eat in Georgia and the Buckner’s family style buffet off 75 in Barnesville was on the list. Some of my parents’ friends drive up to eat there, but I wasn’t too impressed. Copeland’s in Kennesaw had good food – some dishes done Cajun style. There used to be an Alpharetta location, but Kennesaw is too far away and there are so many other good restaurants closer by. I would’ve stuck to meatloaf, salad and maybe soup, fried green tomatoes, mac and cheese, turnip greens, and probably other veggies. I don’t eat livers and I can’t eat fish, and after eating so much fried chicken in college I’m just not crazy about it any more – especially on the bone. If boneless I could handle it. The other day at Ruby Tuesday we both got the salad bar. I went first and left off all the fattening stuff. No cheese or croutons or potato salad. At the end my salad wasn’t that big, but my vendor’s plate was piled high. I finished first while he wasn’t halfway through, so I ‘d feel bad about going back for a second plate.

Like everyone, I have people that drive me crazy. I try not to be like that but sometimes it’s hard. Ceil was raised one way and I was raised different so sometimes we have the same issues. I have a written down budget device (excel spreadsheet on the computer).  I still try to use it but the past few years we’ve been spending so much that it gets away from me. I still try but it’s not the same. I’m trying to think ahead to Anna going off to college and Will’s rent and then his wedding and move and Matthew’s tuition and guitar lessons and keeping up four cars and the annual neighborhood fee and orthodontists and other medical expenses not to mention retirement. God always has and will provide, but He still wants us to trust in Him – but also be generous and a good steward.     

Everyone talks about how great Marlins centerfielder Marcell Ozuna is. He may be talented and athletic but every time he plays the Braves he does something wrong in the field or on the bases. Yesterday he misplayed a ball in the outfield. So did the great Eric Young Junior, he of the .213 batting average. Kelly Jonson’s average is low as well but at least he makes the plays in the field and on the bases. Wish the Braves had signed Ichiro, who had a big day for Miami.

THURSDAY: These long work days are wearing me out. After picking up Matthew, Ceil dropped by Trader Joes so I beat her home even after stopping for gas. I was hungry so I warmed up the leftover sandwich on the Panini press. Later C cooked jalapino breaded chicken tenders for M and grilled tenders for her. Anna was babysitting for Margaret Ewing, who soon will be moving to Chattanooga. Watched some of the Braves game while working on the computer then C changed it to American Idol – where none of the singers impressed. But Kenny Loggins sang Footloose and Jennifer Lopez debuted her new song wearing a dress with a huge round tail. Ceil joked it was like the wedding dress MC had picked out that day. Later we watched The Middle.

Almost finished reading my Bruce Springsteen biography. I learned a lot I didn’t know. Prolific songwriter. Goes all out for his fans. Democrat. Has made sweeping but inaccurate political comments.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Crackerjack Debuts

My friend’s movie “Crackerjack” was released this week. It can be bought on Amazon or iTunes or other high tech places like that. About a longtime softball player who joins a church team and finally gets his life together. Narrated by Jeff Foxworthy. Like Napolion Dynamite or Raising Arizona. I recommend it.

REID: What did I tell you about Ga State !!!???????? Classic game. State down 12 with little over 2 min to play. RJ Hunter goes wild sinking a LONG, LONG 3 pt shot with 2 sec to go to win it !!!!!!! 

ME: I am so glad. Glad Georgia State won and glad Baylor lost. But two of my Sweet 16 have already been eliminated.

After a busy Monday Tuesday Wednesday I thought it would ease up on Thursday and Friday but I have plenty to do.

WEDNESDAY: Left work after six last night and picked up Taco Bell for Matthew on the way home. Worked on the computer and watched The Middle, Modern Family, and the very funny Blackish after that. Then the ABC Diane Sawyer special about Julie Andrews returning to Austria and revealing new details about the filming of The Sound of Music. I did not realize that the real Maria Von Trapp appeared in the movie.

Last night I traded Trashers Dany Heatley and Ray Ferraro (bought for $1.00 each) for Dodgers Orel Hersheiser and fist-pumping Kirk Gibson.  

Ceil and Anna went wedding dress shopping today with MC and her mom and sister.

Will’s former teammate Michael, who pitched for Southern Tech last season, is holding his own pitching for tiny Flagler College in St. Augustine. Playing year around in East Cobb all his life really had to help. The local paper wrote an article about him, noting his artwork and numerous mission trips he’s participated in. This summer the little lefty is playing for an amateur team in Florence SC.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NCAA Tourney Unfair?

I don't remember what number seeds played for the championship last year. I don’t remember who played or who won. But I do save lots of stuff and probably have my bracket from last year around here somewhere. Good Sports Illustrated article about the decline of the UNC athletics program. The author, an UNC grad, pretty much points to the building of the Dean Dome as the beginning of the end.

There are no perfectly fair tournament systems, especially when the greedy people in charge expand the tournament by only a few teams. Would’ve been more fair to add another 64 teams, but that would’ve killed the NIT and the TV Networks with that contract would’ve have that. Plus a round of 128 would add a week to the tourney. Play couldn’t start on the Monday after the conference tourneys end, and there would have to be another short break after the round of 128. This would cause more weekday games and fewer weekend games. And it’s hard enough to televise the 16 current first round games on Thursday and Friday. A round of 128 would need 64 first round games. Even if these could be televised, who’d want to watch them? Plus a 128 team tournament would completely negate the meaning of both the regular season and conference tournaments.
REID: Can you please explain to me the fairness of a number 11 seed having to win 7 games to win the championship, and a 16th seed only having to win 6 games ???  I don't have the teams right off, but a 7 seed played a 8 seed. Still didn't explain how it is fair for a 16 seed to only have to play 6 games instead of a 11 seed having to play 7. I'm not for adding more teams, just make it fair for the 68 teams that are in there. I watched the Pitt/GW game followed by the Ala/Ill game. Ill was the lower seed however had to play at Ala. Ala (coachless) beat Ill by almost 30. It was pitiful.

44 years ago today, E and I had tickets to the NCAA Regionals played in Athens, GA. The four teams were Kentucky, Marquette, Western Kentucky, and Ohio State.  I'll never forget the ovation Adolph Rupp received from the crowd when he entered the arena. Must have lasted 5 min.
A rare picture of Anna's almost clean room.

TUESDAY: Picked up M on the way home again yesterday. Then C and M went to the grocery so I ate hot dogs. 

Watched a good “A Football Life” show on the NFL Network about Mean Joe Greene. He is still in touch with the kid from the famous Coke commercial. The kid (now a young man) still has the jersey. When Coke started looking for a Steeler for the commercial the producer wasn’t a football fan, but wanted the biggest toughest player on the team. When she heard the name Mean Joe Greene she knew he was the one. To get the commercial just right Mean Joe had to drink 18 bottles of Coke. 

Mean Joe Greene has a better name than the former USFL football player who changed his name to “He Hate Me.” I wanted to watch the next football show about the Immaculate Reception, but Ceil had to watch her HGTV show. I was tired and went to bed after taking Anna’s Jeep for a fill-up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March Madness

Anna’s graduation bio: Anna has attended Veritas since she was in 5th grade.  She has been studying and helping teach art, and won the Most Artistic Superlative her all four years in high school.  Last year Anna painted the yearbook cover as well other pages, and working on the yearbook staff two years.  Aside from art, She taught herself to play the guitar. Anna also enjoys reading, music, and calligraphy.  She is involved at Grace Midtown Church and has enjoyed serving in the high school ministry there.  Having been accepted early, Anna will attend the University of Georgia this fall to major in Graphic Arts.

ESPN: Have you seen the new 30 for 30 about Christian Laettner? I watched most of it last night and it was real good. Interviews with former teammates, opponents, CL, CL’s parents and sisters, Coach K, and Coach K’s wife. Chronicles his entire career from 7th grade and touches on the pros. He looks great, though it’s hard to believe his hair is turning grey. Shows him make an appearance at Rupp Arena. When he is introduced the crowd boos, but he just smiles, then takes a towel and gets down on his hands and knees in his suit and pretends to wipe up sweat near the foul line, where he had famously stepped on the Wildcat player. He lies down on the crowd so fans can take pictures of themselves stepping on him. When Kentucky started selling “I Hate Laettner” T shirts he had “I Love Laettner” shirts. He says 99% of the hate is good natured, and he ignores the bad one percent. A good show.

TECH: In addition to not knowing how to coach the final moments of a game, GT head coach Brian Gregory doesn’t have any shooters/scorers because of his own poor recruiting. One reason he was spared another year is because GT is still paying Paul Hewitt – who is now being paid by two schools to not coach. Perhaps if an AJC writer had connected those dots before yesterday’s retention announcement the GT AD might’ve felt more pressure to make a change. As it is the GT fanbase isn’t mighty enough to hold the AD and basketball program to a higher standard and demand change. Should the Jackets get hot next spring and win the ACC or make the Sweet 16 Tech might be compelled to extend Gregory’s contract – and that would be a mistake. Last Thursday I was talking to Andrew about GT basketball. Back in our day GT was an upper tier ACC basketball program expected to compete for the conference championship and make the NCAA Tournament every year. Perhaps not the powerhouse of a Duke or UNC, but just one rung below.

REID: See where Tech has given G another year. Need shooters !!!! I thought the AD made a pretty good case about money NOT being the reason. They need two more shooting guards for next year. I still say G just needs to first win the games he is supposed to win, which didn't happen this year. He would have had a decent season just winning those games. Will probably watch Ala/Ill tonight even though Ill ought to win big in Ala's home court because of the firing of their coach. I was stunned that Ga Southern was not picked my MCAA or NIT.

ME: What if Gregory brings in two shooters and then still coaches them the same way during the last few minutes of games? Will the record improve much? Georgia State paid back Georgia Southern for whupping them in football a few months ago. I think Southern wouldn’t trade their victory on the gridiron.  

MONDAY: Stopped by Kroger on the way home to pick up dinner. Uneventful evening. On Jeopardy there was a NBA category. I knew all the answers.

TUESDAY: Late to work after taking M to school. Had the Ruby Tuesday salad bar for lunch – only the healthy stuff. Drank water. Will have to nab a diet soft drink this afternoon. Ate with a guy that drives 60,000 miles per year. I’m sure the company pays for his gas and company truck – a humongo Ford F150 pickup. Crazy that even if he gets 20 MPG and gas a cheap $2.50 per gallon he could save $2,500.00 per year if he got a 30 MPG vehicle. That would just about pay for the car payments.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Eating Out: 2 Hits One Out

Anna, Will, and Ceil pose in Oklahoma City.

After work Friday I stopped by three thrift stores on the way to my 745 focus group. Turned out I could have arrived earlier. I got to compare different fitness bands like the Fitbit, which I had considered purchasing. Monitors steps, heartbeat, calories burned, and how you sleep. Also reviewed was the new Apple watch. Not sure what I am going to do. Ceil’s mom is in town. C was dead set on taking her to Moxie Burger (one of my favorite places) so they went for Friday lunch – without me. I couldn’t believe it. M and A had a guitar lesson late Friday afternoon and then they ate dinner at Brixx, the brick oven pizza place in The Avenue East Cobb. I like thin crust pizza but there wasn’t much to Brixx pizza. The restaurant was filled with loud toddlers, so my family was leaving when I arrived. Back home Will was flipping between the UGA game and ND/Duke and OK/Iowa State. Eventually I went to bed.

Saturday morning I woke Will up at 6:15. We bundled up and lined up in the drizzle at 6:40 am outside the new Dicks Sports Goods for their grand opening at 7:45. They were giving away a kayak, gift cards, and other prizes. The line grew long. Many were there to secure a Dale Murphy autograph armband. We didn’t win but we both received $5.00 gift cards. We didn’t go back to see Dale Murphy because he had to sign 350 autographs in 2 hours. Sunday morning I got up again and went without Will to lie up again. I had forgotten that the Sunday opening wasn’t until 8:45 and there were only 2 people in line at 6:45. I went back home for a while and when I returned I sat in my car until 8 am. There weren’t as many people lining up so Will came over at 8:45. I got another $5.00 gift card but Will got a $20.00 card. We shopped around but didn’t get anything. At noon I returned for another drawing and use the gift cards, but the line to checkout stretched halfway through the store. Today I plan on getting a $55.00 pair of pants for $10.00.   

We went back to Moxie Burger for lunch. KY/Auburn was on the TV. Afterwards everyone went shopping except Will and me. We went to Dicks for a 3 pm drawing and to NAPA to get a brake light. NAPA was having a grand re-opening with race cars, kiddie rides, a radio remote, and free hot dogs and Cokes. I got some guitar picks for M and a Diet Coke for me. Back home for the GA/ARK game and a nap. For supper Ceil cooked two kinds of chili, and salad. Got to watch basketball Friday and Saturday, not as much on Sunday. I was pulled for UNC since Notre Dame is a newcomer to the conference. Saturday cheesy movie: Father of the Bride parts one and two. I went to bed.

Sunday morning when we got home from Dicks I cleaned, did laundry, and the dishes. Will went to the airport to pick up MC and Ceil took her mother to church. Anna had two tests on Monday so she went to Starbucks to study. I cleaned out Will’s Jeep and took it to the carwash for an oil change. Saw an old friend Paul Lovallo and had a nice chat. Back home I cleaned more and drove M down to Passion and gassed up Will’s Jeep.

We met MC’s family at Copelands for dinner, on Barrett Parkway. We had never been to Copelands but Regina said they go there too much. Food was excellent. W and MC shared a chicken sandwich, fries salad, and cheesecake. Doctor Tom arrived late and had eggplant and a white chocolate bread pudding dessert. The burgers looked great but I had a very good grilled chicken salad. We discussed wedding plans. Earlier in the day they had visited a wedding location in Dalton. Tom and I had a nice chat about the Braves, different stadiums, and different TV shows. During dinner he kept rubbing his shoulder, and later admitted his was quite sore and making it hard to sleep. Only then did I bore him with my own sore shoulder story.

We walked out of the restaurant at 9 am. Matthew texted that his concert would be over at ten. I raced home and dropped everyone off at 9:30 then raced down to get M. The concert was off Cheshire Bridge near Taquaria Del Sol. Arrived right at ten then had to wait an hour for the concert to end. Not pleased. Then we had to take McKinnon up to The Avalon in Alpharetta. Got home at 11:45 and went straight to bed.

Barney loved having a full house but tonight it will just be A and M and me, so he’ll mope around.     
Glad I did not have to endure basic training. Drownproofing class at Tech was hard enough. Also two-a-day football practices playing for very tough coaches. Neither seems too tough now. I probably could’ve survived basic training. It wouldn’t have been fun but I would’ve been better for it. Here at work young Jonathan is ex-military and he is on the ball and does an excellent job.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Best Ever NFL Jerseys

Best ever jerseys for each NFL team.

Cowboys: white with blue shoulder yoke
Eagles: kelly with 2 shoulder stripes & sleeve stripes
Giants: white with red numbers and stripes
Redskins: burgundy with multiple stripes

Bears: navy with orange numbers & trim
Lions: blue with grey stripes
Packers: navy with number in yellow circle
Vikings: white with shoulder stripes

Buccaneers: orange with sleeve stripes
Falcons: black with sleeve stripes
Panthers: black with teal shoulder stripes
Saints: black with gold numbers and stripes

Cardinals: white with sleeve stripes
49ers: red with drop shadow numbers
Rams: yellow with blue shoulder stripes
Seahawks: blue with seahawk stripes

Bills: navy with multiple stripes
Dolphins: aqua with multiple sleeve stripes
Jets: green with white sleeves
Patriots: red with shoulder stripes (above)

Bengals: white with orange shoulders
Browns: brown with multiple sleeve stripes
Ravens: black
Steelers: white with yellow shoulder yoke

Colts: blue with shoulder stripes
Jaguars: black
Texans: navy with red trim
Titans: Light blue with navy shoulders.

Broncos: orange with blue sleeves (above)
Chargers: powder blue with shoulder lightning bolts
Chiefs: red with sleeve stripes
Raiders: white with silver numbers