Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Worked late last Thursday. Ceil was going to The Avalon so I stopped by four thrift stores and RaceTrac. No TV so after supper (spaghetti).  I worked on the computer while Ceil painted.
Lots of people were off work Friday but there was plenty of work to do. I worked late then made a few stops on the way home, looking for something for Matthew. Tracked W&MC from Augusta.
Saturday I got up early and worked around the house. The workers arrived at 9:20. I got the oil changed in W’s Jeep. Also gassed it up and had some shems installed to make the battery cables more secure. Also went by the library and Taco Bell before the game.
Went to the Braves game on Saturday. Left home at 11:15 am and didn’t get home until 8 pm. Saw John Parkes in the dollar line, and several other people I’ve gotten to know – at least 13 people, plus we chatted with a family from Conway SC. One lady brought eats: pigs’n blanket, bacon wrapped jalapenos, cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter squares, peanut butter pie, etc. I didn’t have to eat supper after that. Sat in the club level.
During the game I was talking to season ticket holder bobblehead addict Katie. She was waiting for Denny Neagle to come by to say hello. Neagle was there signing autographs before the game for his water safety charity honoring his nephew who drowned. He did come by and talked to Katie for over 20 minutes. I didn’t want to mess with their conversation, though I nodded along and sometimes he’d look my way to include me.
During a lull I asked Neagle about the Braves alumni softball game several years ago when someone attended who wasn’t a player or coach. Denny’s face lit up and he talked at length about the event. He said they still give the guy who invited him a hard time. Neagle looks a lot like a slightly younger David Hurt, just an inch or two shorter.
I wanted to make sure Katie got her picture taken with him. Someone took a picture of them with her phone, but Neagle saw me taking pictures so he made sure to turn Katie toward me as well. Two other guys asked for photos and he was more than accommodating, so I had my picture taken with him as well. When he left he even shook my hand and gave me a bro hug. Last night I saw Katie had managed to also get her picture taken with country artist Chris Stapleton.
Braves also have won 3 of the last 4, right? Several recent losses, like many others this year, were by just one run. Also many extra-inning games. All against baseball’s toughest schedule so far this season.
ROB: Good to see another good start by Folty.  I hope Coppy is serious about only trading Teheran for a quality MLB bat.  Do you have any scouting reports from Gwinnett?  I would not be surprised if Swanson is up in July.
ME: No scouting reports so far that I have seen. Any reason you think they’ll call Dansby before Ozzie – age?
Sunday W&MC stopped by on their way back to Augusta – at 7 am. Woke me up. Sunday and Monday I did laundry, cut the grass, watered the plants, cleaned out messes in our bedroom and Anna’s, and watched a couple of good movies: Bounce, Proof, and View From the Top. Our TV is packed up during the renovation. Eating up what’s in the fridge: made ham quesadillas on the Panini press, ate hot dogs, bagels, and leftovers, made PB&J’s and popcorn. Hit 10000 Fitbit steps both Saturday and Monday plus 8000 Sunday. My back hurts, perhaps as much from sitting on a different couch as much as all the work I did.
Sold seven bobbleheads recently, and made two trades to get rid of three more, including Smoltz for Eddie Gaedel. Recently I’ve sold: Skip & Pete, UGA Star Wars, Gordon Beckham, Josh Fields, and five Julio Teherans. Also trading a Hank Aaron and Dan Uggla (both without boxes, both bought at thrift stores for $3.00 each) for another Skip & Pete, that I can sell for $30.00. Also trading a Chipper and an Andruw for a Beloit Snappers fishing Uecker and Brewers Uecker alarm clock. Maybe this will give me the momentum to sell more.
I have been unsuccessful so far in my efforts to secure an extra Chipper Freddie bobble, but I haven’t given up. The guy who’d given me several he didn’t want this year and last decided he wanted this one, and a couple of trades have fallen through. The market is hot for them right now, but once things cool off I may be able to get one. I even stayed til the end of the game and walked through the stands checking to see if anyone had forgotten theirs.
Phones can be addictive and fun. Ceil’s dad was on his all the time, calling and texting all his grandkids to check in every day. That’s why they loved him so. I should call and text my kids more, but feel like they’re busy enough without me giving them one more distraction. It’s fun to track their phone to see where they are. With a phone you can check the temperature and weather immediately. Also email whenever you want. Get updates on golf and other sports. Take pictures. Calendar. Camera. Photo album. Gives you directions and tells you how long before you get somewhere.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Back in Business

Had been in a popcorn slump for several months after my longtime friend gave up the ghost. But I finally found another Popaire 2, so I'm back in popcorn heaven again.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Questions that'll Change your Life

Questions that will change your life, by Travis Bradberry for LinkedIn. When things aren’t going the way you’d like them to, it’s often the result of not asking yourself the right questions. Some questions are hard to confront because you’re afraid you won’t get the answer you want. Others because you really don’t want to know the answer. The best things in life don’t come easy, and turning away from life’s toughest questions is a sure path to mediocrity. Life runs on questions, not answers.
1. How do people see me differently than I see myself? We interpret our behavior in terms of how we think we come across, whereas others see the real thing. A 360° assessment is a great way to gain this perspective. It gathers feedback that is constructive, anonymous, and accurate. Be sure to be receptive to the feedback.
2. What/whom did I make better today? Leave things better than you found them. Keeps yourself grounded and focused on what really matters.
3. Am I being true to my values? Sometimes a nagging feeling tells you something is off in your life, when little behaviors creep up on you that violate your values. If you want the voice to go away, you’re going to have to do something about it.
4. If I achieved all my goals, how would I feel? What can I do to feel that way as I work to achieve them? Delaying gratification to pursue your goals is a prerequisite for success, but it doesn’t mean you have to be miserable along the way. Better and more fun is to let yourself feel some of the pride and pleasure along the way.
5. What haven’t I taken time to learn about? It’s a big world out there, and it’s getting bigger all the time. Don’t get left behind.
6. In what areas of my life am I settling? Dead-end jobs (me?). Unhealthy relationships. If you don’t ask yourself, it’s hard to stop it.
7. What do I want my life to be like in five years? Lewis Carroll once said “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Once you have your destination in mind, you can plan your route.
8. What would I do if I wasn’t scared? Fear has its purpose (keeps us from getting us hurt or killed). But it can get carried away, keeping you from improving your life and living your dreams..  
9. Who has qualities that I aspire to develop? Think of ways you can incorporate those same qualities into your own life.
10. What problem are we solving? Sometimes several people in the same conversation have different ideas about the purpose of the discussion. Occasionally it’s good to drop back and review what it is you are working on.
11. What’s stopping me from doing the things that I should be doing? It’s easy to say “I don’t know” (after talking a problem to death) – but that’s just an excuse. Most of the time we know exactly what we should be doing, but we aren’t willing to move the obstacles out of the way.
12. Will you be your mentor? An intimidating question to ask, but few people will turn you down. Everyone likes being looked up to, and it feels good to share our knowledge with others.
13. What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life? Am I living that lesson? Sometimes life lulls us back into complacency and we’re forced to learn a powerful lesson twice. The bad thing is it’s just as much of a rude awakening the second time around.
Summary: Asking the hard questions can be extremely uncomfortable. But we don’t learn and grow by sticking with what’s comfortable.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Marlins @ Braves

Joined by his two grandsons, Hot Stove leader Johnny Tallant surveys the dollar ticket line from Booby Cox's retired number six.

Bobblehead queen Katie Wood brought snacks: pigs & blankets, bacon-wrapped jalipenos, cheesecake, peanut butter pie, and other snacks. She posed for a picture in the dollar line with Bobby Myers, the Coach, Kevin Martin, and the Duke fan from Norcross.
Kevin had to gather 24 bobbles, so we all helped out. I watched BP in the shade.
Today's prize.
Thanks to all of Kevin's tickets, we sat in the club level.

While hanging out on the mezzanine Katie said Denny Neagle would be stopping by, and he did - taking time out of his busy day to track her down. They chatted for over twenty minutes. During a lull in the conversation I asked him about the imposter how had crashed a Braves alumni reunion a few years ago. Denny went on and on about the would be John Sullivan. A fun moment. I wanted to make sure Katie had a photo, and Denny made sure to turn toward me to get a good shot. I wasn't going to ask for a photo, but he was more than accommodating.   
Nice to see the Braves win their second straight series. With two out in the top of the ninth the crowd rose to cheer as Marlins' pinch-hitter Chris Johnson flew out to deep right field.

As usual traffic in downtown Atlanta was gridlocked, with local police overwhelmed with all the cars.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Things that Make You Less Likable

Silly things you do that make you less likeable, another article for LinkedIn by Travis Bradberry. Being liked is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence. In a study over 500 descriptions were rated based on their perceived significance to likeability. The highest rated had nothing to do with innate characteristics like intelligence, attractiveness, or being outgoing. Instead the top-rated descriptors were sincerity, transparency, and capable of understanding others. People who possess these skills aren’t just highly likeable – they outperform those who don’t by a wide margin.

Another study showed managers were willing to accept an auditor’s argument with no supporting evidence - if the auditor was likeable. A third study found that just one in 2000 unlikeable leaders were considered effective.

Key behaviors that hold people back:

1. Humble-bragging: the guy who makes fun of himself for being a nerd when he really wants to draw attention to the fact that he’s smart, or the girl who makes fun of her strict diet when she really wants you to know how healthy and fit she is. Many people think the self-depreciation masks their bragging, but most see right through it. This makes the bragging all the more frustrating because it’s more than bragging – it’s also an attempt to deceive.  

2. Being too serious: people gravitate to those who are passionate. It’s easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likeable people balance their passion for work with their ability to have fun. At work they are serious yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time, and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They focus on having meaningful interactions with coworkers, remembering what people said to them yesterday or last week, which shows people they are just as important to them as their work is.

3. Not asking enough questions: the biggest mistake people make in conversation is being so focused on what they’re going to say next, or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them, that they fail to hear what’s being said (ME: a HUGE pet peeve of mine). The words come through loud and clear but the meaning is lost. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know that you are listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening but that you care about what they are saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions. ME: not that I’m perfect at this, but listening is an area that so many people around me are bad at.

4. Emotional hijackings: Happens a lot: people screaming, throwing things, making people cry, and other signs. This demonstrates low intelligence. When you show that level of instability, people will question whether you’re trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts. Exploding at anyone, regardless of how much they may “deserve” it turns a huge amount of negative attention your way. You’ll be labeled as unstable, unapproachable, and intimidating. Controlling you emotions keeps you in the driver’s seat. When you are able to control your emotions around someone who wrongs you, they end up looking bad instead of you.

5. Whipping out your phone: nothing turns someone off to you like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all of your energy on it. This makes them more enjoyable and effective.

6. Name-dropping: it’s great to know how important and interesting people are, but using every conversation (and Facebook post) as an opportunity to name-drop is pretentious and silly. People see right through it. Instead of make you look more interesting, it makes people feel as though you are insecure and overly concerned with having them like you. It also cheapens what you have to offer. When you connect everything you know with WHO you know (instead of what you know or what you think), conversations will lose their color.

People are adverse to those who are desperate for attention. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over (ME: some people seem always out to be heard or have their way, perhaps because there are so few times they get to be heard or have their way). When you speak in a friendly, confident, and CONCISE manner, people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them that you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what you know.

7. Gossiping: people make themselves look terrible when they get carried away with gossip. Wallowing in talk of other’s misdeeds or misfortunes may end up hurting their feelings if the gossip ever finds its way to them, but gossiping is guaranteed to make you look negative and spiteful every time.

8. Having a closed mind: If you want to be liked you must be open-minded, which makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is unwilling to listen. Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace, where approachability means access to new ideas and help. You need to see the world through the eyes of others to eliminate preconceived notions and judgment. This doesn’t mean you have to believe what they believe or condone their behavior (which is happening way far too often in our country today by people on both sides of the issues). It simply means you should quit passing judgment and truly understand where they are coming from (let God be the judge).

9. Sharing too much too early: while getting to know people requires a healthy amount of sharing, be careful to not share too much right off the bat. Avoid sharing personal problems and confessions too quickly. Likeable people let the other person guide them as to when it’s the right time for them to open up. Over-sharing comes across as self-obsessed and insensitive to the balance of the conversation. If you are getting into the nitty-gritty of your life without learning about the other person first, you send the message that you see them as nothing more than a sounding board for your problems.

10. Sharing too much on social media: studies show that people who over-share on social media do so because they crave acceptance – but this over-sharing works against them by making people dislike them. Sharing on social media can be an important mode of self-expression, but it needs to be done thoughtfully and with self-control. Letting everyone know what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with how many times you walked your dog today will do much more harm than good when it comes to likeability.

Recap: when you become more aware of how your words and actions are received by others, you pave the way to becoming more likeable.

ME: I make a point to re-type these articles in order for me to greater internalize the points they are making. I may not re-type word for word but instead only copy the main content, sometimes “editing” and rearranging to make it sound more like me. On some articles, like this one, I still closer to the script – perhaps in an effort to better grasp the material.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

BJ's Back

Late Saturday afternoon M, C, and I drove A up to Camp Highland. Since we were short on time we ate at Chickfila in Ellijay. The camp has built two dorms for the youngest campers (one boys and one girls) closer to the field and mess hall. Didn't get home until after 10 pm.
JFBC Sunday School was better this week. Great speaker we'd had before on a practical subject. Ceil didn't come until it was time for the service. She always misses the good programs and seems to attend for the bad ones. Later she and M went to Passion. Afterwards C went to Dekalb Farmers Market. Will had driven over to hang out and study while Joel worked at Chattahoochee Coffee, just down the street from Phillips Arena where we were. He picked up MC at the airport at 9 pm. MC couldn't drive because of the time change from Norway. MC started her new job at Augusta First Presbyterian today.  
It was fun going to that WNBA game Sunday. I thought it worked out well driving downtown, even with the short walk. Funny how those little girls gave us the season ticket holders tickets, which weren't too bad. Section 109 would've been behind the basket. I guess the scalpers knew selling tickets would be hard and were trying to make a buck any way possible. Interesting crowd far different than what you see in any other sport. It was cold at the game, especially after we moved a couple of seats to the right.
I like watching warm-ups, especially when there's a big star to watch. They saw Golden State draws huge crowds to watch Steph Curry warm up. They even sell sideline passes for warm-ups, similar to the way the Braves sell field passes for batting practice. Like we discussed I blame the early season on the low shooting percentages and sloppy play. Perhaps Atlanta is better this year and Chicago worse.
Monday lunch meeting today: we ate Willys. Later I had another hour long meeting. Those two meetings really put me behind. So much I had to do that kept me at work past 7 pm. Traffic headed home wasn't bad so I saw the end of Jeopardy tournament of champions. Buzzy lapped the field again. What is the smallest state by land area square miles that touches one of the great lakes? I guessed correctly but then guessed something else. C baked chicken gravy and rice with corn on the cobb and fresh green beans. C watched The Voice finale and I cleaned the kitchen and worked on my laptop.
The workers got a decent amount done Wednesday, patching holes in the ceiling and walls and tearing up the tiles in the downstairs bath. They're going to put in a new vanity and tile as well as fix the hole in the master shower, fix several windows, paint the foyer, and more. Need to get a new floor in the kitchen as well. Ceil will paint the dining room, kitchen, and den.
I worked past 6:30 then drove to the library. Checked out a rare recording of CS Lewis reading his book Four Loves. Didn't get home until almost 8 pm. Ceil grilled chicken and vegetables and tossed a salad. With no where to sit we moved to the dining room. TV is upstairs in storage. C planted flowers outside and I did the dishes, then went to bed while she painted. I went to bed earlier than usual as well, and had a deep sleep all night.

Rob on baseball: BJ Upton is a fascinating example of players who just perform better, for whatever reason, in some places rather than others.
Team  OPS  HR % K %
Tampa 0.758 12% 25%
Atlanta 0.593  6% 32%
Padres 0.752 10% 27%
Writer Jon Heyman posted some numbers yesterday about how similarly bad Carl Crawford and Jason Heyward were during the first 2 months of their big free agent deals.
Heyward, Francoeur and McCann all came up to the Braves from AA.  Frenchy and Mac hit about as well as Dansby Swanson is now (800+ OPS), but Heyward destroyed AA pitching.  So I guess it should not be a surprise if Swanson comes up sometime this summer directly from AA.
ME: I'm sure players sign big contracts and put pressure on themselves to perform, pressing at the plate to do things they'd never done before. We knew BJ struck out a lot before he got here.
I'm glad I don't have to travel around too much for work. Traffic is so bad.
Funny story: M has always been a light and picky eater, but he's a sucker for fast good. He is so low energy that I haven't minded buying him fast food as long as he'll eat it. Now that he's driving he's hitting eating places more than ever.
Sometimes when life is busy it's nice to have the holiday to catch up on rest, errands, and work around the house.
I saw Lang's burger article on GQ.com: https://www.gq.com/story/memorial-day-burger-recipe I get regular emails from CQ with a list of articles to read, and lately I've noticed Lang's articles featured.
On my yahoo email I get over 100 emails a day, because over the years I've entered contests. 99% of the emails are junk. Going through the unsubscribe process does no good (neither would spending 30 minutes on the phone trying to unsubscribe). I've found that since yahoo.com is so slow on my computer it is quicker to delete the emails on my phone, saving the few I want to read for later. Last night with the mess I didn't even long onto my laptop. The desktop is packed away with the TV.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ode to a Kicker

UGA's first soccer style kicker. Father of Will's friend and teammate David, who started a GoFundMe page to pay for hospital and funeral expenses. More on the Rajecki's to come.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Habits of Happy People

Wise habits of happy people, another article by Travis Bradberry for TalentSmart / LinkedIn. Happiness doesn’t last, according to research – even for lottery winners. Happiness that lasts is earned through your habits.

1. Slow down to appreciate life’s little pleasures. Savor the taste of your meal, revel in the amazing conversation you just had, or step outside to take a breath of fresh air.

2. Exercise. Helps release a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of you impulses. Exercise pays dividends in your mood.

3. Spend money on other people. Research shows that spending money on others makes you happier than spending it on yourself – especially small things that demonstrate effort.

4. Surround themselves with the right people – happy people. Builds confidence, stimulates creativity, and it’s fun. Hanging out around negative people has the opposite effect.

5. Stay positive. Happy people reflect on what they’re grateful for. Bad things happen to everyone. Instead of complaining, happy people find the best solution and move on. If you expect bad things you are more likely to experience them. If you look at the facts, things aren’t as bad as they seem.

6. Get enough sleep. Let’s your brain recharge, removing toxic proteins that accumulate during the day. Sleep helps your mood, focus, self-control, energy, attention, and memory.

7. Have Deep Conversations. Happiness and substance goes hand in hand. Avoid gossip, small talk, and judging others. Engage with people on a deeper level: it feels good, builds an emotional connection, and is an interesting way to learn.

8. Help Others. Gives you a surge of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which creates good feelings. Employees who help others were ten times more likely to be focused work and 40% more likely to get a promotion – and are happier during times of high stress.

9. Make an effort to be happy. You gotta make an effort. Happy people constantly evaluate their moods and make decisions with their happiness in mind.

10. Do things in person. Driving across town to see someone is better than facebooking them.

11. Have a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe you are who you are and cannot change. When challenged these people feel hopeless and overwhelmed. People with a growth mindset believe they can improve with effort. This makes them happier because they are better at handling difficulty. They outperform those with a fixed mindset because they embrace challenges as opportunities to learn something new.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chicago Sky at Atlanta Dream

It was fun going to the Atlanta Dream's season opener yesterday, against 2015-16 WNBA MVP Elena Della Donne and the Chicago Sky. It worked out well driving downtown, even with the short walk. Funny how those little girls gave us the season ticket holders tickets, which weren't too bad. Section 109 would've been behind the basket. I guess the scalpers knew selling tickets would be hard and were trying to make a buck any way possible.
I like watching warm-ups, especially when there's a big star to watch. They say Golden State draws huge crowds to watch Steph Curry warm up. They even sell sideline passes for warm-ups, similar to the way the Braves sell field passes for batting practice. Like we discussed I blame the early season on the low shooting percentages and sloppy play. Perhaps Atlanta is better this year and Chicago worse.
While the three whole minutes of the jump rope team at halftime was fascinating, perhaps a fourth minute would've been too much. The kids were followed by three minutes of trampoline dunkers. While the time allotments were spot on, perhaps the small group was not deserving of a more spectacular halftime extravaganza.
Beautiful day for the short walk from the car to arena and back. No desire to ride the wheel, though it made for a nice picture with the blue sky as backdrop.
Plenty of interesting characters in Centennial Olympic Park for the Shaky Beats Music Festival (not to be confused by the more mainstream Shaky Feet Festival).

Late Saturday afternoon M, C, and I drove A up to Camp Highland. Since we were short on time we ate at Chickfila in Ellijay. The camp has built two dorms for the youngest campers (one boys and one girls) closer to the field and mess hall. Didn't get home until after 10 pm.

JFBC Sunday School was better this week. Great speaker we'd had before on a practical subject. Ceil didn't come until it was time for the service. She always misses the good programs and seems to attend for the bad ones. Later she and M went to Passion. Afterwards C went to Dekalb Farmers Market.

Will had driven over to hang out and study while Joel worked at Chattahoochee Coffee, just down the street from Phillips Arena where we were. He picked up MC at the airport at 9 pm. MC couldn't drive because of the time change from Norway. MC started her new job at Augusta First Presbyterian today.

Lunch meeting today: we ate Willys. Later I had another hour long meeting.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Saturday we dropped Anna off up at Camp Highland. HAGS is Anna-speak for Have A Great Summer.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

1976 Braves Nickname Jerseys

Great Uni Watch article on ESPN.com last week about the Braves 1976 home uniforms with nicknames on the back. Mets fan Paul Lukas covers the wide spectrum of uniform oddities, and its nice when he writes in depth about my favorite team. He has written about the nicknames before, but recently received permission to publish a treasure trove of photographs form the Braves Museum archives.

Legendary Braves hurler Phil Niekro naturally wore "Knucksie" on his back. Several years ago I stumbled across an authentic $250.00 Mitchell & Ness Knucksie jersey on the East Cobb TJ Maxx sale rack for $30.00, and I'm still kicking myself for not buying it. Not only was it a great deal, those jerseys are extremely rare.
In 1976 the big story about the nickname jerseys was the recently signed free agent pitcher Andy Messersmith. Owner Ted Turner awarded his latest toy jersey number 17 and pasted "CHANNEL" on the pitcher's jersey, in an obvious promotional ploy for his fledgling cable channel. After the Braves were fined for the advertisement Messersmith changed to BLUTO, his nickname in Los Angeles. Teammate Steve Garvey was Popeye.
Howdy Doody look-alike Darrell Evans (above). Others pictured in the ESPN article:

NORT Darrel Chaney (looked like Ed Norton)
BIRD DOG catcher Vic Correll
ROD infielder Rod Gilbreath
KEN H Ken Henderson
GALLO pitcher Roger Moret
MO pitcher Carl Morton
ROW centerfielder Rowland Office
WIMPY first baseman Tom Paciorek
POCO catcher Biff Pocoroba
J BIRD shortstop Jerry Royster
RUFUS pitcher Dick Ruthven
HEAVY catcher first baseman Earl Williams
CANNON outfielder Jimmy Wynn

Shortstop Marty Perez' nickname wouldn't be politically correct today. Other nicknames not pictured:
PROF Bruce Dal Canton
MAX Max Leon
LACE Lee Lacy
BING Adrian Devine
SOS Elias Sosa
CITO Cito Gaston
HOT DOG Willie Montanez

The jerseys were only worn at home, from May 1 through June 24, for 28 home hames. Manager Dave Bristol and the other coaches wore surnames, not nicknames. The nickname jerseys did not feature the NL centennial patch worn by other teams, though the Braves wore them on the road and at home before and after the nickname experiment.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Vols @ Dawgs # 2

2016 bobblehead # 4: UGA's Josh Fields.
Thursday I only worked 8-1/2 hours, then headed over to Athens. Even then I was on the phone making arrangements and checking and sending emails after that. As it was I still got a late start and had to stop for gas. Stopped by a Chickfila because it was on the right side of the road. Had to scratch several planned stops along the way and went straight to the baseball field. Gates were already open so I went right in shortly after 5 pm. That’s when I caught up on more phone calls and emails. Met up with James, who I had been messaging about bobbleheads. We watched BP and infield and the game. Made a couple of stops on the way back and made it home before 9:30.

Sometimes I wonder why I make these short bobblehead trips but they’re fun adventures to break up the same old routine. It was a nice cool day without the sun beating down. No rain the entire way. Thanks to a UGA ticket special, the trip (two soft drinks, pastry, Chickfila sandwich, parking, game tickets, 4 bobbleheads) only cost me ten bucks, excluding gas. If I sell one bobblehead I’m making money.
Nice crowd at the game, considering school has been out for a week. Saw Charlie Manuel, the former Phillies manager, sitting behind the plate with all the other MLB scouts. Tennessee’s DH was Benito Santiago Junior.
M was at a sleepover up in Woodstock. A and J hung out in Roswell down by the river, then watched The Office on Netflix.
Crazy slammed at work. One coworker is out but we’d be slammed anyway. Too much work for the team we have in place. Nothing management doesn’t already know.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Braves: Turning the Corner?

Snitker got his Braves to score some runs for a change. Will be interesting to see how he manages differently than Fredi – whether he will go by the book of bench players is prolonged slumps (Aybar) to at least get better defense on the field, or play the hot hand (Mallex Smith, below) even though a lefty is on the hill.
The Braves young pitching continues to improve. Teheran keeps getting better, and Wisler (below) and Folty keep giving good outings. That is 3 of the 5 starters. Shea Simmons will soon return from his Tommy John surgery. He has started the last two games out in Gwinnett and has struck out six in two innings. Plus the team is starting to hit. It wasn't just the first month of the Braves schedule that was the toughest in baseball, but the first 45 games. Fans don't understand that.
Last night I was reading comments about the Braves and the first four were factually incorrect. People make sweeping generalizations that aren't true, knowing that 99% of the time what they say won't be challenged. Then if they are taken to task, they just brush it away with another inaccurate generalization. I love it when beat writer Dave O'Brien points out the error of their ways.

I'm not saying the Braves will break .500 or win the division. After starting 9-29 the Braves would have to 54-70 the rest of the way to avoid losing 100 games, winning 44% of their games. That probably won't happen. Making the trade with the Dodgers for Olivera was probably a mistake, as the Braves has received zero all year from their projected starting leftfielder (though Alex Wood hasn't contributed in LA). Freeman is just now coming out of his slump and Incarte (top) has just returned from the disabled list.
C and A went to the High Museum Tuesday. Last night A went over to eat dinner at John's house. M didn't come home until late after spending the day at Sheps. I left work at six and stopped by Best Buy looking for a radio for Will's Jeep. The cheapest is $200.00. C was putting in her student's final grades. I was still full from lunch (leftover homemade pizza) and cereal on the way home. Neither one of us were too hungry for supper. Watched The Voice and Chicago Med, a really good show. Then The Middle while I worked on the computer. Went to bed at 10:30.

Wednesday: On the way to work I just HAD to stop by McDonalds to use my bacon egg & cheese McGriddles, and now I am all full again. Blah. Brought leftover chicken enchilada stuffing for lunch.

Wednesday afternoon A ran to the store for C. Ceil cooked Mexican. After supper A and C went shopping and I crashed on the couch. Watched the Braves game and Jeopardy. It is celebrity week – newspeople like Anderson Cooper. They weren't super smart. The CNN lady whose charity had to do with art couldn't answer any of the art questions.
In the afternoon I started sneezing and my throat started hurting. Felt like I had a fever, my joints have been hurting. Got worse last night. Took some nighttime medicine after supper and went to bed but I didn't sleep well. The meds dried me out but my joints still ache. I almost never get sick but this one hit me hard. I was planning on leaving work early today anyway.

Frustrating when I'm at work Thursday busting my butt even though I'm sick, and others repeatedly forget to attend regularly scheduled meetings. I'm so busy I don't take my lunch up to the fridge, then eat it at my desk without warming it up.

Cleveland looks strong but could run into trouble in the finals. Will the Raptors get the same harassment for losing that the Hawks got?
Computers: a year or two ago my old 2010 laptop was required to upgrade because the operating system it was on was no longer supported by our IT department. It made everything different and not as easy. Last week the lady next to me got a new computer and it has Windows 10, which is completely different than what I have. She keeps asking me questions and I keep telling her that I'm not the computer department. Another lady said that on Sunday her computer started "upgrading" and as of yesterday/Tuesday it was still upgrading. I think she might have a virus.

My young single co-worker was wondering about the decisions married couples face, and I delivered Dock's father's sage advice: "When we got married we decided I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor ones. Well in 30 years of marriage there has yet to be a major decision."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Signs You're Smarter than Average

Five signs you are much smarter than average, another LinkedIn / TalentSmart article by young Dr. Travis Bradberry:
Intelligence (IQ) isn’t what you know but rather the pace at which you acquire new information. IQ is fixed at an early age, but is far from the only thing that determines success in life. It’s not even the most important factor. Albert Einstein said “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”
New research provides clues that link early life experiences to, among other things, high intelligence. If any of the following apply to you, you just might have a high IQ.
1. You’re anxious. This might not be all bad. One study found the most anxious participants were also the most focused and effective at accomplishing tasks. This may be me.
2. You were an early reader. This could have a developmental impact – actually making the kid smarter. So if you were an early reader it might not be because you were smart. It may be that you’re smart because you were an early reader. Not sure if I was an early reader.
3. You’re left-handed. There you go – I’m left-handed. One large study demonstrated left-handedness is associated with divergent thinking – especially in males. This unique ability to combine two unrelated objects in a meaningful way is a sign of intelligence. Perhaps teachers should be trying to force right-handed kids to use their left hand.
4. You took music lessons as a kid. Numerous studies showed musical training enhances verbal intelligence and executive function, a skill critical to focus and self-control. My kids did, but I didn’t.
5. You’re funny. Another point for me. Research shows a strong connection between being funny and having high scores in both verbal intelligence and abstract reasoning. Witty banter is the product of a sharp mind.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hope They're Happy

Braves fire manager Fredi Gonzalez. Must’ve been the accent mark Fredi recently had placed over the A on the back of his jersey (see below). Maybe they renewed Fredi’s contract last year because they knew it would be worse this year. Last year on July 4 the Braves were in position to make a playoff run, but Grilli’s season-ending injury was the nail in the coffin. Fredi won 89, 94, and 96 games his first three years as a manager, and was manager of the year before that in Miami.
Now that all the so-called experts have gotten what they wanted, we’ll see if the Braves players start magically hitting and winning. Nice that Brian Snitker has finally gotten a managerial position, even if it is temporary. And Might as well let Snit manage the rest of the season. Good thing Gwinnett already gave away Snitker’s bobblehead. I was wondering why they had the giveaway so early in the season. Eddie Perez has been promoted to first base coach and Pendleton to bench coach. Bobby Dews died too soon.
Good article here about the 1976 Braves wearing nicknames on the backs of jerseys:
Down in the Fan Plaza they have a life-sized cutout of the Chipper/Freddie 4-wheeler bobblehead, with Freddie’s head cut out so you can have your picture taken.
Been to many Braves games so far? I haven’t been since the April 30 game at Gwinnett, and before that the two down at Turner Field. I’m trying not to live and die on every pitch this year so am a little more out of touch than previous years. Would be nice if Wisler can keep it up for another 10-15 years, though.
ROB: I have not been to a Braves game yet this year! The young starters are looking great. I wish they would put Castro at SS and bring Peterson back up to play 2B and give them the best defense they can.  They won't score runs until Markakis and Inciarte start hitting anyway.  When healthy, Beckham has been very good on both sides of the ball at 3B.  I would also like to see Fredi drop your guy Mallex in the leadoff spot and leave him there.
ME: Williams Perez looked horrible in the first inning of that Gwinnett game, but seems to have righted himself after that (or not).
Good article about Vin Scully in this week’s SI.
I hate it for John Parkes that he won’t be able to go to games. I think the cheapest ticket might be $7.00, but it will vary by game. I will miss those dollar tickets myself.
Reading a good book “One Summer: America, 1927” by Bill Bryson. Ruth and Gehrig, Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney. Lindbergh. Al Capone. Herbert Hoover. Very good. Sounds like things were as bad then as they are now.
Monday: Anna and John made pizza dough from scratch last night. They made a pepperoni pizza. M made one of his buffalo chicken pizzas, and C made us one with ground beef peppers and onions. M went over to Sheps house – their band has a gig the night before Halloween. J and A went to Roswell and Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House.
One of my long stories: Friday night we went to MC’s brother Thomas’ high school graduation at JFBC. He has started dating classmate Holly – sister of Will’s friend Conner Smith, who just finished his junior season of basketball at Oglethorpe. Holly has taken ballet at Eastside Baptist Church since like kindergarten. Anna danced with Holly for years until Anna gave up dance to concentrate on art. This year Holly was the only senior in the Eastside program. This past Saturday was their year-end recital, and Thomas danced a duet with Holly. Thomas had the Troy Bolton role in the school play: High School Musical 2. Holly also had a lead role in the play.
After the graduation we went over to MC’s uncle’s house to eat BBQ. Holly’s parents stopped by – her dad grew up on the same street as MC’s dad and his brothers. I got the update on Oglethorpe basketball. Conner had a good year, but two of the best players missed the second half of the season, wasting a promising start. They should be better next year. Conner’s high school teammate at St. Francis just finished his freshman year at FSU, and could be a first round draft pick.
Need to pay a visit next weekend to see your friend at Tire Deals.
Tuesday May 17, 2016

Braves fire manager Fredi Gonzalez

The Braves fired manager Fredi Gonzalez, soon after one of the worst half-seasons in the franchise's 140-year history was followed by its worst-ever start to a season. They have a majors-worst 7-28 record.
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