Sunday, January 31, 2016

Healthy Habits

In an effort to lose weight I will be posting more healthy information, hopefully without becoming repetitive.

Healthy habits, from
1. Wake up and stay up. Don’t hit snooze.
2. Drink 16 oz of chilled water as soon as you get out of bed. Boots metabolism for the next 90 minutes. A smaller amount of water has no effect. Helps grow muscles and lose weight.
3. Eat a substantial breakfast.
4. Get your work done.
5. Stay hydrated.
6. Pack your lunch: AM snack of an apple and cheese slices, 500-600 calories of leftovers for lunch, PM snack: protein shake.
7. Exercise: alternate weightlifting and interval training.
8. Regularly review/monitor diet and exercise goals. This will make you more likely to achieve them.
9. Eat your vegetables.
10. Work out even when you’re not in the mood.
11. Cut back on TV.
12. Pray
13. Floss
14. Go to bed early.

Breakfast shake: whey protein, 12 oz black coffee, frozen banana, tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, walnuts, one cup ice.
Or: a package of instant oatmeal, one scoop of whey protein powder, half cup blueberries.

Things to never write in an email, from
1. ”I’m sorry.” Don’t apologize for doing your job, or asking someone to do theirs.
2. “just” weakens a request or opinion.
3. “this might be a stupid question, but…”
4. “if you wants my two cents…” Most people will give you their 3 cents without asking permission.
5. “I may be wrong, but…” Saying this lessens the impact of what you’re saying, before you say it.
6. “does this make sense?” Don’t question yourself – trust yourself instead.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Powerball Fever

While it’s always nice to dream about winning the lottery, actually writing about it is pretty ridiculous. But this huge Powerball jackpot has numbers so large they’re hard to comprehend (1.3 billion when I wrote this). I estimate there would be $50 million to spend immediately, plus an annual after-tax income of another eight million.  

1,300,000,000 Powerball amount
800,000,000 present value
480,000,000 after tax
080,000,000 give
400,000,000 net
050,000,000 spend
350,000,000 save

17,500,000 live off 5% of the earnings of savings
10,500,000 after tax
01,750,000 give
08,750,000 net annual income

The more houses and properties I own would expose myself to potential lawsuits, but it would be nice to have houses at the beach (Seaside) and mountains (Lake Burton?). A loft in downtown Atlanta (or on the Westside). Maybe a place in New York City. A big beach house in North Myrtle or Holden Beach for large family gatherings. And maybe some sort of secret, defensible hideaway for when the government is overthrown.

There would be plenty of places to travel, and the rest of my life to check them off the list. Hike the Appalachian Trail. Drive cross country. See baseball games in all the ballparks. Paris. London. Bermuda. Japan. Australia. Africa. Germany. The Alps. Alaska. Hawaii. NYC. San Francisco. Seattle.

Get in shape. Improve at golf. Cycle. My daily outfit would be black warm-up or golf pants, sneakers, and a shirt to fit the occasion. I have the simple dream of owning a vintage Shoeless Joe baseball glove – certainly a want and not need. It’s doubtful I could ever qualify for Pebble Beach, but maybe the Boston and NYC Marathons.

Before collecting the money I would take as many measures as possible to remain anonymous, and set up the needed financial safeguards. If the money is already allocated it would be easier to deflect the inevitable money grabs from friends, family, and strangers. They would be money for friends and family and I’d be as generous as possible, though it would be tough not to be taken advantage of. I’d invest several million in gold and other precious metals. That wouldn’t be lost in a stock market crash. In twenty years I’ll be able to give over $100 million to ministry.

At home I’d have an office. My mancave would have one or two big screens, a display of bobbleheads, and a jersey closet. I’d build a small gymnasium with a basketball court. High girded ceiling with windows to let in light and ceiling fans to keep the air moving. Perhaps garage doors on the ends to open when the weather is nice. The court could be used for other functions like big parties, so a kitchen would be needed. On rainy days I could run laps or suicides. A few workout machines could be in the gym or in the basement of the main house. A lap pool would be nice.

Cars: all the same color? White? A super expensive car like the Mercedes I recently posted, or keep it more low key? A sporty Honda CRZ for sure, and a Honda Ridgeline pickup for hauling. C, W, MC, A, and M could have whatever they want, within reason. No need for Lamborghinis.

What would I do for the rest of my life? Write? Any on line presence might best be done under a fake name. While I hate meetings, working in some sort of ministry would be a top option, especially if alongside Ceil or one of the kids. Same with business. I would only fund a business for one of my closest friends or immediate family, in something they love and believe in. I could help with that. Owning a baseball team sounds like fun, though I’m not sure it would be worth the time and money, unless a friend wanted to run it. I could help plan the promotions and uniforms.

There are tales of bankruptcies and ruined lives, but as many say: I’d like to take my chances.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Mistakes Companies Make

Bad mistakes that make good employees leave, by Travis Bradberry. When employers makes easily-avoided mistakes the best employees are the first to go, because they have the most options. Good employees must stay engaged, but a third feel disengaged and are looking for a new job. Their interest is not sudden, but engagement slowly dissipates. Star employees slowly lose their fire for their jobs. Michael Kiber, who has spent much of his career studying this phenomenon, says employees “seem to be performing fine, putting in massive hours, grinding out work while contributing to teams, and saying all the right things in meetings. However, they are in a silent state of continual overwhelm, and the predictable consequence is disengagement.”

The following practices are the worst offenders:

They make a lot of stupid rules. Some rules are needed, but they don’t have to be shortsighted and lazy attempts at creating order – like an overzealous attendance policy or taking employee’s frequent flier miles. When employees think big brother is watching, they find somewhere else to work.

They treat everyone equally. This isn’t elementary school. This shows top employees that no matter how high they perform (and top employees are typically the work horses), they will be treated the same as the bozo who does nothing but punch the clock, make loud personal phone calls, and sleeps at their desk.

They tolerate poor performance. When you permit weak links to exist without consequence, they drag everyone else down – especially your top performers.

They don’t recognize accomplishments. It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all. Rewarding individual accomplishments shows that you’re paying attention. Managers make them feel good (for some it’s a raise, for others it’s public recognition) and then reward them for a job well done. For top performers this will happen often if you’re doing it right.

They don’t care about people. More than half the people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationships with their boss. Smart companies make sure their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate their employees’ successes, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge them even when it hurts. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates. This is not a problem for me right now.

They don’t show people the big picture. Work must have a purpose, and when employees don’t know what it is they feel alienated and aimless – and find purpose elsewhere. Also not a problem where I work.

They don’t let people pursue their passions. Talented employees are passionate. Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction, but many managers want their employees to work within a little box. These managers fear productivity will decline if employees are allowed to expand their focus and pursue their passions. This fear is unfounded. Studies show people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm.

They don’t make things fun. People don’t give their all if they aren’t having fun, and fun is a major protector against burnout. If work is fun employees will stick around for longer hours and an even longer career.

NOTE: while my company gets a lots of things right, they are far from perfect. Some people are too busy and focused on pleasing their own superiors to have time to focus on some of the points above.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bobbles I'd Like to See

With the Braves continuing to trade players left and right, most of the 2016 bobbleheads are commemorating storylines from the past: Skip & Pete, Andruw Jones, Chipper saving Freddie in the snow, etc. Here’s more I would like to see, though many fans wouldn’t know half these guys:

Hank Aaron 3000th hit in grey road uniform
Rico Carty batting title (with his wallet in his back pocket)
Tony Cloninger 2 grand slam 9 RBI game
Bob Horner 4 HR game
Ernie Johnson Sr. in his Milwaukee Braves uniform
Braves Hall-of-Famer Rabbit Maranville
Mercker/Wohlers/Pena no-hitter (above)
Phil Neikro no-hitter
Otis Nixon wall catch
Pascual Perez in his I-285 jacket (below)
Babe Ruth 714th home run in a Braves uniform
Broadcaster Don Sutton (Braves Hall of Famer)
Ted Turner ostrich race (top)
1957 World Series championship ring
Catcher Greg Olson flipped upside down by the Twins Dan Gladden. His body could bobble!
Minor League manager Phil Welman grenade toss bobble

Whenever someone wears all black to work we call them Johnny Cash. I am as guilty as anyone. This afternoon Eric, the General Manager of the entire Georgia / Tennessee / Florida / Alabama / Mississippi / Louisiana region (and former offensive lineman for FSU’s national championship team), came in wearing all black: turtleneck, slacks, shoes. He had his phone all queued up loudly playing “Folsom Prison.” He and his buddy Shane broke into song. And I thought I was crazy.

Shane is an Alabama fan. I might’ve told you than on the day of the national championship game I came into work after being off 11 days wearing a bright orange Clemson sweatshirt. I knew he would give me a hard time about it. Later my supervisor Garrett told me he thought me wearing the Clemson shirt was great.

Shane is like a hard-nosed ex-Army type. He’s making Garrett participate in a second mud-type run, where you have to climb under and over all these different almost impossible obstacles. Shane is younger but Garrett is almost my age.

I remember hack a Shaq and thought since GT has such poor shooters perhaps exposing them might’ve been a good strategy, but I agree the sportsmanship is sketchy. NC State really isn’t on my radar screen. Last night I was listening to the pregame show on radio.  Brian Guidan was talking to the State announcer about the Pack’s seven deep rotation, which was doing well except when they faced UNC – no surprise there. Made me remember the days back when I was familiar with most of the starters in the ACC from watching each team at least 3 or 4 times a year.

Now there is a story where Shaq says in college he was “well paid” by LSU. I always remember Bobby Cremens calling him Shannille O’Neal.

Will is working 3 days a week at a physical therapy place. Saturday we worked as a valet. He’s looking for other jobs – he applied at Chickfila and Panera and maybe some coffee shops. Mary-Clayton is taking her last semester of classes. In March or April she will star in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and in April go to NYC with her class. She graduated in May, but Will may have to set up in Augusta before then – I’m not exactly sure.

Wednesday was super busy because we were late on a part. Worked past 6:30 then hit three thrift shops on the way to pick up M in Cumming. Bought a nice checked Columbia shirt and Andrelton bobblehead to sell. Was 9 pm before we got home. Turned on the Hawks game. By ten I was nodding off. Slept in a little this am since I had to take M to school.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Final Jeopardy

A Final Jeopardy answer this week: 
ANSWER: Among the guests attending their anniversary party in 2005 celebrating 75 years were Dick Tracy, Dilbert & Dennis the Menace.
The 75th anniversary of ‘Blondie’ is Sept. 8 [2005], but the comic will begin marking the milestone this Sunday… according to King Features Syndicate…. The anniversary story line will also be referenced in other comics — and not just King ones. King said the participating features will include ‘B.C.,’ ‘Beetle Bailey,’ ‘Bizarro,’ ‘Curtis,’ ‘Dick Tracy,’ ‘For Better or For Worse,’ ‘Garfield,’ ‘Gasoline Alley,’ ‘Hagar the Horrible,’ ‘Marvin,’ ‘Mother Goose & Grimm,’ ‘Mutts,’ ‘The Family Circus,’ ‘The Wizard of Id,’ and ‘Zits.’ … Meanwhile, Young will feature characters from these and other comics — including ‘Dennis the Menace’ and ‘Dilbert’ — in the ‘Blondie’ story line. Also, George and Laura Bush will appear in caricature. (Editor & Publisher)
I used to read the funny papers when I got a hard copy of the paper. Eventually I stopped reading because it took too much time. Beetle Baily. Blondie. Family Circus. Nancy and Sluggo. Snuffy Smith. BC. Garfield. I did like Steve Canyon and as a kid the Phantom. Dick Tracy was ok. I liked the gadgets but not the storyline. Doonesbury wasn’t that funny and too wordy. How many times have I mentioned Al Dodd modeled his Mark Trail character after my Uncle John Wayt?
The last time I saw Bob Marsh (not sure when, perhaps a wedding or funeral or Super Bowl party over two years ago) he raved about the Peachtree Pres Sunday School class, and rattled off several names like Hayes and Phillips. Jim’s son Trey played a little basketball at Lovett, but as a teenager didn’t come to many SPdL youth activities – mostly Sunday School. They had a daughter as well.
Whenever I used to talk to Bruce about North Point or Passion City Church he’d say housewives in their 40’s and 50’s liked to go there for the emotional worship experience. I’d always try to drag him along to see how the preaching was full of meat, Biblical and applicable, but Bruce would never go. Somewhere along the way he finally saw the light. A few weeks ago Bruce volunteered downtown at the Passion Conference, and loved it so much he posted a bunch of photos on Facebook.  
Sunday a short segment of Andy Stanley’s sermon went viral, where he told the over-45 set to not obsess over the things going on in the political arena, and instead focus on the God who is control of all things. The AJC posted it on Facebook and an AJC editor even mentioned it in his column - causing many to take Andy’s comment out of context (including Harold Hall’s son David). They thought he was delving too far into politics and telling people how to vote, which couldn’t have been further from what he actually said.
Monday: Nothing to report. Ceil cooked a good chili with ground beef, black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and chopped onions. All the ingredients lessened the impact of the beef, which was ok with me but not C and M. I’m the one who eats all the leftovers anyway. I like a little corn in my chili as well.
Watched The Middle and Last Man Standing. I’ve seen most of the episodes of The Middle now so it’s not as fun.  Also Jeopardy. I knew the final question which 2 of the 3 missed (the two youngsters – see above).  
Fat Tuesday is February 9th. For $19.99 at Fuddruckers you get a three pound burger, a pound of fries, and a bottomless Coke. If one person eats it in an hour they get two future meals and a T shirt. Ceil and I could eat for twenty bucks and take home leftovers.
Anna is busy with school projects, sorority projects, and her babysitting job. February 5-6 is parent’s weekend at her sorority. We’re going to the basketball game but not the gymnastics meet (I think).
They’re starting trivia back here at work. Movie trivia this week which I’m not great at, though I aced today’s questions. Next week I’ll be the quizmaster asking Super Bowl and TV questions.
I want to get to where I am walking/running an hour a day. When it warms up out of the 30’s.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Signs You are a Sensitive Person

Since four of the five members of my family could be classified as sensitive, the following article is most applicable.

Sensitive people get a bad rap. They make up 15-20% of the population. These people can experience sounds, feelings, and even the presence of other people much more intensely than the average person. Their strong emotions can be used to their benefit. They can communicate more effectively because they don’t just hear the words of others, but also catch on to subtleties in gesture and tone.

You think deeply. When life throws you a curve, you retreat into your shell, thinking through every aspect of what transpired before taking action. Small things (in your life and other people’s lives) can have a big impact on you. Less sensitive people often act without thinking – or caring.

You are detail-oriented. You see details others miss, and you aren’t content until you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. This is a strength that is highly valuable in the right profession.

You take longer to reach decisions – since you are prone to dig deep beneath the surface. You can’t help but try to run every possible outcome through your head, often at the expense of the ticking clock.

You are crushed by bad decisions. When you finally make a decision and it turns out to be a poor choice, you take it much harder than most. This can slow down your decision-making process even more, as fear of making a bad decision is what slows you down in the first place.

You are emotionally reactive. When left to your own devices, you have a knee-jerk reaction to your feelings. You also have strong reactions to what others are going through. When your emotions come on strong it’s easy to let them hijack your behavior. The hard part is channeling your behavior into producing the behavior you want.

You take criticism harshly – because of your strong feelings and intense emotional reactions. Though you may overreact to criticism initially, you also have the tendency to think hard about things and explore them deeply (much better than insensitive people). In the long run your inability to shrug it off helps you grow and make appropriate changes, again, more so than insensitive people.

You work well in teams. Your unique ability to take other people’s feelings into account, weigh different aspects of multifaceted situations, and pay attention to the smaller details makes you extremely valuable in a team environment. This can backfire if you are asked to make the final decision, as you are better suited to offering input and analysis. In the real world this means you are less likely to receive credit for all you do.

You have great manners. Your heightened awareness of the emotions of others makes you highly conscientious. Unlike most insensitive people, you pay close attention to how your behavior affects other people and have the good manners to show for it. You also get particularly irked when other people are rude.

Open offices drive you crazy. Your sensitivity to other people, loud noises, and other stimuli makes it practically impossible for you to work effectively in an open office environment. You’re better off in a cube or working from home.

Like many things in life, being a highly sensitive person is both a blessing and a curse. It all comes down to what you make of it.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the coauthor of the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and serves more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Top 10 Long-Lasting Cars

Ten cars that most often last their owners 200,000 miles or more, from Consumer Reports and
Toyota Prius hybrid
Toyota Camry 4 cylinder
Honda Odyssey minivan
Honda Pilot large SUV
Toyota Corolla sedan
Honda Accord 4 cylinder
Honda CRV small SUV
Toyota Sienna minivan
Toyota Highlander large SUV
Honda Civic sedan (above)
Not sure of the order, whether the Prius or Civic is number one. Probably the Civic. If so we own two of the top four longest-lasting cars. In order of my favorites: Prius, Camry, Accord, Civic, CRV, Highlander, Pilot, Corolla, Odyssey, Sienna. I like sedans and don’t like minivans. Owners of most of these cars are probably more likely to take care of them and give them the needed service so they will last longer. Owners of cheapo Chevys and Fords probably wouldn’t service their cars as diligently, and owners of new luxury cars aren’t going to keep them for 200,000 miles.
Ever notice how every couple on HGTV’s Fixer Upper drives a large SUV or minivan? Never a sedan.
Remember Medieval Nights? Or is it Medieval Knights? Once a character in a movie had a job at one of those places, and she had to introduce herself “Good evening. I will be your serving wench.”
Thursday: same story. Worked until after six then hit seemingly every light on the way home. Stopped for gas at a Kroger. Still made decent time home. Ceil was off at a Johnson Ferry ladies event, but had left a grilled cheese sandwich that I dipped in tomato soup. M fixed himself two chicken soft tacos but only ate one, so I devoured the other. Worked on the computer and watched Seinfeld, Jeopardy, Big Bang, and The Middle.
Friday I left work at four, concerned there would be another traffic jam. No such thing – the roads were clear all the way home. People mentioned bad traffic earlier in the day, but many took the day off or left at noon. I made such good time that I stopped by the library and Goodwill. Got home and M wanted to go to his friend’s house in Town Lake, past Woodstock and almost to the new outlets on 575 – over 20 miles away. Again traffic was super light. Ceil rode along and we made it home in no time. Watched The Middle. Ceil cooked black beans.
Saturday I cleaned upstairs and did a little laundry. Later in the afternoon I drove Will’s Jeep out to pick up M. On the way back I gassed up the Jeep for $0.939 per gallon (I had a big BP discount). Ceil was out getting groceries so I watched Tech fall short at the end of the game AGAIN. C cooked chicken soft tacos. Watched The Book of Manning on ESPN Classic and a cheesy move on Hallmark or Lifetime.
Sunday we braved the cold at JFBC. Picked up Moes for M. Ceil drove him up to Cumming. Watched most all of Brady/Manning and the start of Palmer/Newton. I was ok with either team winning the AFC though Peyton was certainly the sentimental choice. Hopefully he will retire after the Super Bowl and Eli will win the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Eli is one of three nominees, though outspoken Saint tight end Ben Watson (from UGA) would also be a good choice.  
Got up this morning and worked out, and even prayed. Was on track to leave for work extra early, then received a call from work needing something done immediately. Delayed me 20 minutes. Then when I got to work I had to figure out another problem. People don’t know the answer to things and neither do I. But I have to figure them out. I’ve got to stop letting things like that bother me so much.   
Last week I told the guys at work that NE wasn’t as strong as season’s past, and the Denver defense could carry the day. I would love it if they can slow down the Panthers. Peyton won’t turn the ball over, so if he can get in the end zone the Broncos might have a chance to win the game. That would be so good the silence Cam Newton. Sports Illustrated ran a picture of dozens of Panthers celebrating the Seahawk win and posing for a picture. Newton was nowhere to be seen, as he was off celebrating off on his own.
Co-worker Dialysis has missed 7 of 9 work days. He had to return to the hospital all weekend for a different malady. Not sure when he will return.
Not sure where the getaway car came from, or if they took any honeymoon photos. You’d think they would’ve. When we went to Bermuda we took pictures!
No SC trip this weekend due to weather. We have a commitment next Saturday night so hopefully we can put it off until February.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Wedding Video

A little longer than the one I posted on Facebook.
To ensure delivery, add to your address book.

Mary-Clayton + Will
by Imagine Video Productions /
TM + © Vimeo, LLC
555 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Adrian Peterson < Herschel

Adrian Peterson is clearly one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, setting record after record. A lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Peterson was amazing in college as well. How does he compare to Herschel Walker? Like many before him, Adrian falls short.
In college Walker outgained Peterson by 1,263 yards and ten touchdowns. Both only played three seasons.
1 1937   15   1686   15
2 1154   14   1975   20
3 1148   13   1841   17
T 4239   42   5502   52
In their first nine professional seasons Walker outgained Peterson by 2,067 yards and 26 touchdowns. If you want to throw out Herschel’s USFL numbers and tack on the three NFL seasons when Herschel was older, Peterson did outgain Herschel by 1,229 yards and 21 touchdowns. Adrian is already contemplating retirement, so it’s doubtful he will ever approach the 18,537 NFL yards (much less the 25,214 professional yards) posted by Herschel.    
1 1609   13   2301   18   1574  14
2 1885   10   1867   21   1606  08
3 1819   18   2878   22   2019  07
4 1639   13   1574   14   1338  09
5 1109   13   1606   08   1085  09
6 2314   13   2019   07   1029  10
7 1437   11   1338   09   1348  10
8 0093   00   1085   09   1356  07
9 1707   11   1029   10   1028  07
13612 102 15679 118 12383 81
17851 144 21181 170 17885 133 college & pro
Herschel also bested Peterson for most yards, college and pro combined, for their first nine seasons (NFL-only or USFL/NFL combined, see above). All numbers above are combined rushing and receiving yards. This doesn’t take into account the more than 5,000 NFL return yards Herschel also gained. And unlike Walker, Peterson never ventured downfield on the punt coverage team.
Recently Herschel told Dan Patrick not to believe claims that Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson has run a 4.1 second 40 yard dash. Walker says he’s never ran a 4.1, and he’s never been beaten in a race with another football player.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Depression affects over 20 million people every year. To be diagnosed with depression you have to feel extremely sad or have lost an interest in life, and you must experience 4 out of the 7 following symptoms nearly every day for at least two weeks.

1. Increase or decrease in weight or appetite without conscious dieting.
2. Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
3. Agitation or lethargy and difficulty getting out of bed.
4. Loss of energy and fatigue nearly every day.
5. Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt.
6. Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions.
7. Recurrent thoughts of suicide.

People with a selfless syndrome – a sense of self based on meeting others’ needs – are prone to depression.

Exercise regularly. Make friends.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Finally – a photo of the groomsmen: Val, Chandler, Max, Joel, Harry, Kevin, Matthew, and Thomas.
Longtime UGA buddy Valentine Jurma (left) just interviewed to join Will at medical school in Augusta.
Sophomore Will was Chandler Machemehl’s RA his senior year. They took a spring break road trip to UVA, the Appalachian Trail, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. Chandler (back left) is a hoot, can crush a golf ball, and lives in Augusta with his bride of eleven months, Allison.
Max Diener returned from his honeymoon to be the substitute groomsman, escorting his bridesmaid bride Hannah down the aisle for the second time in eight days.
Best man Joel Norman (back middle) towers over the others. Joel is working his music career with Isaac, playing gigs around town and college towns like Auburn. He’s also a barista in Brookhaven.
Harrison Cloud was Will’s longtime friend at UGA, and roommate in their house on Springdale.
Kevin Brock (back right) taught Sunday School with Will at North Point, and graduated with Will and Joel from Living Science. In May he graduates from Auburn and begins work as an engineer north of Charlotte.
Seventeen year-old brother of the groom Matthew Murphy strikes a serious pose.
High school senior Thomas Gilbert (right) is Mary-Clayton’s brother, Anna’s former classmate at Living Science, and the target of Lilly Neibur’s accurate slingshot in 9th grade. Great hair.
NOTES: I love tater tots, cole slaw, and potato cakes. I am trying to stay away from them. Haven’t lost much weight yet but I’m drinking a lot of water. Worked out again this morning, so I have a streak going.
Tuesday: Left work at six. Traffic heavy, so it was after seven before I got home. Ceil cooked meatballs and tossed salad. I skipped the noodles and French bread. Watched Jeopardy and Fixer Upper, then drove to Alpharetta to fetch M at his worship service. Worked on my computer and went to bed.
Wednesday: M’s school in Alpharetta is closing at noon because they have so many students that live north of there. Guess I should’ve driven Will’s Jeep. Another slow evening. Leftover meatballs and spinach. Jeopardy, The Middle, Duck Dynasty, and the premiere of the Duck Dynasty spinoff Jep & Jessica.
Willie is goofy, Jase the tough guy, but Jep is the funniest. His wife Jessica is the prettiest and most personable. Willie’s wife Korie is smart/business oriented like Willie. Jase’s wife Missy sings the best but comes off as a nag (I probably would as well). Anyway, Jep and Jessica adopted a newborn baby. Perhaps they're doing their small part to bring the races together in a time of worsening racial tension, I don't know.

Thursday: Busy day. Also been working on a comparison of Adrian Peterson and Herschel Walker. Guess who gained more yards?
With snow to the north I’m worried about taking two cars to SC this weekend.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Staying Positive

Keeping a positive attitude is hard. Our brains are hard-wired to look out for and focus on threats. Pessimism is bad for your health. Studies show optimists are physically and psychologically healthier. Research shows a pessimists’ health declines rapidly with age. Optimists also perform better at their jobs. How to stay positive:
(1) SEPARATE FACT FROM FICTION. Write down any negative thoughts. Later evaluate the statements to see if they’re factual. A statement probably isn’t true if it includes words like never, always, worst, ever, etc. What you may think always happens actually only happens a small percentage of the time.
(2) IDENTIFY A POSITIVE. Consciously select something positive to think about, so you won’t have to think about negative things.
(3) CULTIVATE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATTITUDE. Studies show thankful people have better moods, energy, and less anxiety.  
My old boss Steve Apollo called yesterday. We talked for 47 minutes, our first conversation in several years. He sounded great and is cancer free, but the chemo and bone marrow has weakened his immune system and left him in a lot of pain. Steve’s great attitude despite continued hardship over the years is a testimony to his close relationship with God and the guidelines above. Then we found out co-worker Randy (who used to live off Lindbergh across Piedmont from MARTA) – Monday morning his daughter in Seattle was murdered by her teenager daughter’s 19 year old boyfriend, in an argument over his drug problem. Randy, another fine example of a positive attitude, was on his way out to Seattle late yesterday.
Friday: worked until 6 pm then headed to Cumming to pick up M. Stopped by Kroger for cereal to snack on, found Special K Protein on sale. Also bought a nice warm sweater and an all-white pair of Ryan Moore’s True Linkswear golf shoes that I’ll probably sell.
Saturday I cleaned upstairs until after noon. Ceil cooked breakfast and brought it to me. Later she and M ran errands.
GT/VT – I watched most of the second half and saw the lead crumble in the last few minutes. Most I had watched all year, so I figured I jinxed them. GT had a chance at the end but the gave it to the wrong man – he didn’t even get off a shot. Same guy badly missed a similar chance last year.
REID: Tech basketball team looked BAD Sat. No 1,s 2,s or 3s - Looked like last year. Blew a 14 pt lead.  Louisville coming up Sat !!!

ME: Saturday evening we went to The Picture Show to see “Bridge of Spies” by Steven Spielberg with Tom Hanks. Based on the true story about the negotiations to return pilot Gary Powers to the US. Very good – you need to see it. Theater was crowded – we had to sit on the second row on the side.
Got home at ten and turned on the Cardinals Packers game. Great ending. Cards stuff Pack on fourth down and kick a field goal to go up seven. With 90 yards to go to tie, Rodgers converts on fourth down after pass interference on third down isn’t called. With two seconds left Rodgers is forced left and wings a prayer into the end zone that’s ruled a bobbling catch. Touchdown, tie game, and overtime. Rodgers demands a re-toss when the coin inexplicably does not flip. On the second play Palmer finds a wide open Fitzgerald, who races 75 yards to the Packer five. Then an inside pass to Fitzgerald for the touch – Cards win. Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth, and Bob Costas were almost speechless. Was after midnight before I went to bed.
Johnson Ferry Sunday morning. Then C went to Passion City Church. I stopped by Kroger and Dollar Tree then ran M to Roswell to apply for a job. C cooked stew and took M to church. I took a nap and watch a little Panthers/Seahawks and more of the Broncos/Steelers. Not sure if Peyton has enough left in the tank to make a Super Bowl run but with the Broncos great defense and the Patriots struggles, Manning might have a chance. Not sure the Cards can beat the Panthers but I wish they would. After the game Cam Newton snatched a flag from a Seahawks fan. He’ll never win sportsman of the year.
Drove downtown to pick up M. Got back at 10:30 and went to bed.
Monday: Not much to report. Worked until six last night and went home. Ceil grilled chicken tenders and tossed a salad. Tried to get M to do his homework. Watched The Middle and went to bed. Couldn’t sleep.
Both Monday and Tuesday I left home early for work but got stuck in traffic more than usual. Thought I would arrive earlier than I did.
Caroline is taking Anna to California for spring break. No Hargreaves at the wedding – I don’t think Caroline was there. Robert and Trina had RSVP’d but I think she had to stay in Florida when the youngest daughter got sick. Several similar stories are coming through.  
I noticed at the Tacueria on Howell Mill the parking lot is all torn up – probably hurting their business. People have to park in the lot over by Yeah Burger and walk, or cross the street from Anthropologie.
Had my annual review this morning from my “new” boss Garrett, a guy I’ve known for years. Back in the 90’s we used to run the Peachtree together. Received high marks. It’s hard to complain about being overworked when I see all the work Garrett does, without ever complaining. The man is a machine. Funny the shows he watches, like Survivor. Later I had a conference call and an emergency, so it’s been a blur all day. I finally got up and worked out this morning, so I’ll probably go to bed early tonight.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Marvin Hudson: MLB Umpire

Since I have exhausted my wedding material: Interesting Hot Stove meeting last Wednesday night with 21 in attendance – the most since Phil Neikro spoke, I am told. Several people I hadn’t met. Two high school baseball coaches. I had met the North Forsyth coach last month, and as early arrivers had a chance to chat. The South Forsyth coach had pitched in the Pirates organization, getting a cup of coffee in the bigs.
A local college student big Johnny knew has landed a gig as a writer for a baseball website. Dillon Cloud has written four articles and recently attended the Winter Meetings in Nashville. After the meeting I chatted with him about some of the tricks of the trade. He was interested to know about my blog. He deemed himself a baseball nerd, so he was in the right company.
A man and his wife arrived just before the meeting began. Nondescript except for some nice shoes. Turned out to be MLB umpire Marvin Hudson. Looks younger than his 51 years. He told his story: Marietta High after Dale Ellis. Piedmont College, where the elderly Johnny Mize would stop by to give batting tips. After graduation he was denied a loan, so instead of opening a business he went into officiating and umpiring. He paid his dues in the minors, and told several bizarre stories about games in the Dominican Republic, of lights going out in the park and the like. Umpiring there gave him much cred later in the majors.
Marvin was the plate umpire in the famous game where Jim Joyce blew the penultimate call in the Detroit Tigers perfect game, and he was happy to share the story in detail. The play wouldn’t have been close had the rookie pitcher Amando Galarraga let the second baseman make the play. Immediately afterwards the Tigers were irate, though later they would comfort the umpire. Sensing trouble, after the next out Marvin and the second base ump escorted Joyce off the field.

In the umpires room Joyce couldn’t sit. He paced for three hours. The Tigers beatwriter, a friend, knocked on the door offering to serve as the pool reporter for the rest of the press. Joyce let all the reporters in, then first gave a statement before asking for questions. At that point the press didn’t have any questions. Instead they exited respectfully. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland came in to offer comfort. Joyce wouldn’t sit, have a beer, or smoke. Finally Joyce wanted “to talk to the kid” and Galarraga was summoned. The young pitcher came in and gave Joyce a big hug.

The next day when the umpires took the field, Marvin and his two fellow crew members surrounded Joyce, expecting the worst. Instead 95% of the fans stood and applauded. Then at home plate Galarraga came out to deliver Detroit’s lineup. This brought tears to Joyce’s eyes, and again they hugged. In the days and weeks following the call the crew was on the alert. On a Friday night in Houston a teenager in the stands was pointing a laser light at several players. Unbeknownst to Marvin, after the game Joyce received an envelope from the home office reporting several death threats to Joyce. The next day Joyce snuck into the crew’s SUV, though Marvin didn’t know why Joyce was acting so weirdly. When Marvin was told he broke out in laughter, angering Joyce all the more.
This past season Marvin was the spotlight after tossing MVP Bryce Harper from a game. Harper was being obstinate about stepping in and out of the batter’s box. Harper mouthed off, and eventually Marvin threw him out of the game. When describing Harper’s childish behavior Marvin paused, looked at the younger reporter in attendance, and asked  “You’re not going to write about this, are you?” He spoke about taking the Number 7 train with his crew to Shea Stadium shortly after John Rocker was in the news. The crew spread out in different seats, and a Mets fan seated next to him pointed to the crew chief and whispered to Marvin “I think that’s the umpire!” Marvin whispered that he thought the guy was right, and encouraged him to get the ump’s autograph. Others heard the buzz, and when the train stopped at the station the crew chief was surrounded by autograph seekers. The chief loved the attention, and told the fans they should get the rest of the crew’s autographs as well – except Marvin and the rest of the crew had bolted away.  
Once in Detroit hall of fame announcer Ernie Harwell, a native of Washington Georgia, came down to meet the umps. When he got to Marvin, Harwell exclaimed “So you’re the one!” Harwell had learned that Marvin was now a resident of the small town east of Athens. Marvin’s wife runs an eye clinic in Washington.
Marvin was the plate umpire in the NLDS when Smoltz faced Clemens. I was at that game. Brad Ausmus was the Astros catcher. Brian McCann came up to bat. The pitching coach game out. Marvin heard him say to keep the ball away from McCann, to not give him anything to hit. Clemens threw the pitch right down the middle, a watermelon. McCann turned on it, launching it over 400 feet into the right-centerfield stands. Ausmus and Hudson stood up to watch. Marvin quipped “Didn’t keep it away from him, did he?” Ausmus said “Nope.”
After the meeting Marvin and his wife stayed to talk. She proudly mentioned that Marvin had been ordinated as a minister and had conducted his first wedding, of a minor league umpire. Host Johnny (also an ordained minister) had Marvin autograph a chest protector (above). I noticed the Bible verse.

Later given the chance I clumsily asked Marvin about his faith. Hudson brightened, eager to share. He’s been a Christian all his life but acknowledged being on the roller coaster. While not a polished speaker, he was thankful most of the few speaking opportunities he had often led to even more chances to share about his relationship with Christ. Marvin said that during one particular speaking engagement a struggled for words to say. He had never opened shared about his faith before, but he came to a point in his speech where he didn’t know what to say. It seemed like God gave Marvin the words, so Hudson said them. After that breakthrough it was easier for Marvin to share. Decent guy, that Marvin.