Thursday, June 30, 2016

Habits of Successful People

Habits of highly emotionally intelligent people. These people outperform people with high IQ’s most of the time (tell me about it). From Dr. Bradberry, of course.
1. Be relentlessly positive.
2. Have a robust emotional vocabulary: only 36% of people can accurately identify the specific emotions they’re experiencing.
3. Balance assertiveness with good manners, empathy, and kindness.
4. Be curious about other people.
5. Forgive to prevent a grudge, but don’t let yourself get mistreated by others.
6. Don’t let anyone limit your joy.
7. Make things fun.
8. Don’t get offended easily – have thick skin.
9. Quash negative self-talk.
Personal Competence
a. self-awareness (the ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen)
b. self-management (ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behavior)
Social Competence
a. social awareness (your ability to accurately pick up on other’s emotions and understand what is really going on)
b. relationship management (ability to use awareness of your emotions and other’s emotions to manage interactions successfully)

Same Old Crackers

Last Saturday the Braves and Mets wore Negro League uniforms. Both teams have worn these same exact unis before. In fact, the Braves have worn these same unis since the late 1990's. Time to dig up a different uni, I say.

Former Brave Kelly Johnson's home run in extra innings won it for the Metropolitans.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tony Dungy: Record-Setter

Reading one of Tony Dungy’s books – his first one, I think. He is the only player in the modern era to both intercept a pass and throw an interception in the same game. After setting records as a QB at the University of Minnesota, Dungy made the Steel Curtin Defense as an undrafted free agent backup defensive back in 1977. That year he grabbed his first career interception on the road in Houston. Terry Bradshaw broke his wrist in the same game. Then backup Cliff Stout was knocked out of the game on the last play of the third quarter. Dungy had not taken a snap since college, but was thrust in the game at QB as a last resort. Not surprisingly, he fumbled one snap, fumbled a handoff to Rocky Blier, and threw two interceptions – but did complete 3 of 8 passes to his own team, including completions to hall-of-famers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. The next week Dungy practiced as a QB until it was determined Bradshaw could play with a cast.
I couldn’t find who earlier players were that had achieved Dungy’s feat, though in 1943 Sammy Baugh intercepted four passes AND threw four TD passes in one game. That year Sammy led the NFL in passing, most interceptions, and punting. Baugh’s NFL record career punting average of 45.1 was not broken until 2000.
Not sure when Barney sleeps. When C was out of town this past weekend B stayed downstairs, keeping vigil in the hope she would return. During the summer he will sleep on the tile or wood, and in winter on the sofa or bed. B stayed in the bad all night these last two night after C returned home. He just doesn’t sleep much when he’s in the bed. During the day he will sit on the bed downstairs, looking out the window for squirrels and passersby. When C is gone he’ll sit there watching for her car to drive up. Then he’ll jump off the bed, run out all excited, and bark.
I really don’t know yet what I want to be when I grow up. Maybe an usher at Braves games. Or an umpire. Something that starts with a U. I resisted the urge to say something about unicorns.
When I was a sophomore at Tech I lived up 85 at Shallowford Road when they were working to expand 85 and the Buford Highway connector. After graduation I started working for Jim Suggs further out 85 just outside 285. That’s when they were working on the 85/285 spaghetti junction. To relieve congestion a vast network of subways would need to be built along several main arteries. That ain’t gonna happen. Even then people don’t want to give up their cars. It’s almost like people don’t mind the congestion. They’re too busy checking their phones and wanting to be seen in their luxury automobiles. They don’t realize no one is looking at them. Nobody stays at home any more. On weekends the traffic is just as bad.
TUESDAY: FOUR meetings. Hope they have fun while I’m at the beach. Worked past 7 pm. Made good time driving home. Ceil cooked spaghetti and tossed a salad. M had gone to the grocery and we told him to bring a tomato. We went ahead and ate the salad without tomato. When we finished I took the dishes over to the sink and noticed a tomato sitting on the counter.
We hung the heavy new mirror in the renovated downstairs bathroom. There are still a couple of finishing touches on it before we are finished. C was cleaning out stuff in the dining room yesterday. The whole house is full of stuff, but maybe we are slowly moving in the direction of cleaning it out.    

We watched a movie on Hulu: “From Prada to Nada.” Review: the trailer was better than the movie, but C enjoyed it. I read email and hopped on the computer. After the movie ended it was late, but I decided to watch the last episode of 11.22.63, which finished on an up note. Still, the book, though long, was better than the movie. As it ended M came downstairs and watched the trailer. This got him interested, and he was up later watching some of it.
Breaking bobblehead trade with bobble czar Bobby Myers: my old Gwinnett “fat Chopper” bank for next month’s AJ Pierzynski zombie bobble. Chopper is rare and a real cutie. It completes Bobby’s set of Gwinnett bobbles. AJ will be the first Braves zombie, a $25.00 special ticket bobble I was going to miss while I was at the beach. I paid three bucks for the Chopper, but I’m not sure if someone got the best end of the deal. In August Gwinnett is giving away a new Chopper bobble. I need to bring a bobble to work for my desk.
JUNE 8: Lots of people were all saying such nice things about the late Dr. Mansur. No jury duty today, but I have to call in again tonight. Last night M cooked hot wings, but he grilled some chicken for me. Also salad. C watched Two Weeks’ Notice and I worked on the computer. C has been painting, first the kitchen/den.
JUNE 14: Lightning knocked out our internet and cable. I worked until 6:15 and stopped by RaceTrac. C was worn out and hadn’t gone to the grocery, so we wound up at Tijuana Joes at Johnson Ferry and Lower Roswell. She loved her chalupa but my burritos were just ok. Then to Whole Foods. Went to bed at 10 pm.
JUNE 15: stopped by Kroger on the way to work, to grab some breakfast cereal. Grocery stores stock everything people need in the back so customers will have to walk past everything else, in the hopes the customers will see something they don’t need, and buy it. As I was walking to the back of the store I noticed a big display for Life cereal 2 for $3.00. It had been at this price for several weeks. When I got to the cereal aisle the price was 2 for $4.00. I bet they upped the price but hadn’t changed all the signs. I bought something else.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Rosenberg on Orlando

Nothing to post today (more on that later), so I'm turning it over to author Joel Rosenberg, who continues to stress that neither Obama, Clinton, nor Trump lack the necessary mindset to defeat radical islam. Here’s a transcript from one of his recent emails:
Please read and remember these four critical points:
While it's absolutely true that the vast majority of Muslims are not a threat to us, it's also true that the vast majority of terrorists in our time are motivated by, driven by, even consumed by a radical, violent, murderous and bloodthirsty interpretation of Islam. That may not be politically correct to say, but that's the truth.
If American leaders are not studying the theology and even the eschatology of Islam -- and the civil war going inside Islam between the Radicals (jihadists) and the Reformers (moderates) and their vastly differing interpretations of Muslim history and Islamic scriptures -- they're not going to understand what drives our enemies to kill us.
To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blind-sided by it.
Neither President Obama, nor the two presumptive presidential nominees -- Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump -- have demonstrated that they have truly studied and understand the theology and eschatology that is driving our enemies. Until they do, and until they develop and are committed to executing sound national security strategies consistent with the actual threat of Radical Islam, they will continue to put Americans and our allies in grave danger.
Let's be clear: Omar Mateen, the 29 year old terrorist who murdered 49 people in Orlando earlier this month, wanted the world to know exactly why he did it: he was a Radical, violent, murderous Muslim who was inspired by and loyal to the vision of the leaders of the Islamic State.
While there is no evidence suggesting Mateen was trained or deployed directly by ISIS leaders, the leadership of the Islamic State quickly took credit for the attack and praised Mateen for being inspired by their vision of slaughtering infidels according to their interpretation of Islam. What's more, ISIS has called for more attacks in the U.S. by "lone wolves" inspired by their theology and eschatology.
President Obama, however, adamantly refuses to call Mateen a follower of Radical Islam and dismisses the term as a "political distraction" that serves no practical purpose.
"For a while now, the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize this administration and me for not using the phrase 'Radical Islam,'" noted the President in a June 14th statement to the media. "That's the key, they tell us. We can't beat ISIL unless we call them Radical Islamists. What exactly would using this label would accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer, is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction."
Is the President right to directly and consistently reject the term "Radical Islam"? Yesterday, I was interviewed on the Fox News Channel about the President's comments. I've posted the transcript of the interview below. To watch the video, please click here.
FOX NEWS ANCHOR SHANNON BREAM: Let's take a closer look now at the fight against ISIS, particularly the threat here at home in the wake of Orlando. We're joined now by Joel Rosenberg, political advisor and New York Times best-seller. His latest book is out now is The First Hostage. Joel is joining us live from overseas. Thank you, Joel, for being with us today.
ROSENBERG: Good to be with you, Shannon, thank you.
BREAM: All right, I want to go first to the President, one of his statement's this week where he talked about using the terminology of "radical Islam," he sort of mocked those who have called for him to do that, saying it's not going to solve the problem. But in your estimation, and knowing what you know about that region and your deep experience and studies there, does it make a difference or not?
ROSENBERG: It does. There's no question that the vast majority of Muslims -- 1.6 billion Muslims in the world -- are not violent. They're not dangerous. They're not a threat. But all the polling shows that between 7% and 10%, roughly, of the Islamic world does believe in suicide bombings, does support the Islamic State's violence, does support al Qaeda. So this is a problem because in a world of 1.6 billion Muslims, that's upwards of 160 million people who could be recruited and drawn into violence in the United States or around the world.
BREAM: And how important is it to use the correct language, to use the correct terminology? Because the President often says that we have to be careful about our statements so that the world does not think that we are at war with the Muslim faith, with those who are Muslims. You mentioned more than a billion people that we're talking about. But doesn't that make the language we use even that much more important?
ROSENBERG: Sure it does. Absolutely. But look at people like Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He went to the "Harvard" of Sunni Islam -- al Azhar University -- a few years ago, and he challenged the clerics and the leaders of Sunni Islam that they've got to get their house in order, that there is, essentially, a civil war going on inside Islam. Yes, the vast majority of Muslims do not interpret the Qur'an as encouraging violence against unbelievers. But there are verses in the text [that encourage violence], and el-Sisi challenged the theological leadership of Sunni Islam to fight and explain what the differences are. Jordan's King Abdullah has also made that case and has gotten more than 500 Muslim clerics to sign onto a statement explaining the difference between this sort of radicalized, violent Islam that is in the text but many Muslims don't agree with it, and what more moderate Muslims think. This is an important argument. And I would say that if American leaders are not studying the theology and even the eschatology of Islam, they're not going to understand what motivates the "lone wolf," or the movements like the Islamic State.
BREAM: What could we be doing better in the United States? What could our leadership be doing, on both sides of the aisle, to better combat this? Because there's been a big conversation, obviously, about whether or not the Orlando gunman was directed by or inspired or motivated by [Radical Islam]. The end result is the same. We've seen dozens of innocent people who are dead.
ROSENBERG: Well, this is the most dangerous part of saying this is just "violent extremism." That's what the President is saying. Well, it's certainly violent extremism, but what is it that motivates a young man, 29 years old -- Omar Mateen -- to be a killer of 49 people in a club? That's not just being a violent person. He believed he was being driven by a version of Islam. That's what he believed. It doesn't matter what President Obama believes about Islam. It matters what the individual believes. So we've got to study what it is -- the narrative, as well as the theology -- that's drawing Americans but also people all over the world into murderous, sometimes even genocidal, levels of violence. If you ignore that, you are ignoring the heart of the problem, which is the motive.
BREAM: Joel Rosenberg, we thank you for visiting with us today, and I hear your new book is going to be out the first of next year, or early next year, so we'll look forward to that as well. Thank you, Joel.
ROSENBERG: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lucky / Not Lucky

Have a good weekend? I got a little bit done. Worked til six Friday night when the customer was 4 hours late sending in their order. Stopped by two thrift stores and Taco Bell on the way home. M went to a coffee shop and spent the night at Shep’s.

Saturday morning I cleaned upstairs and packaged a bobblehead to ship. Went to the post office, library, Goodwill, Dollar Tree, Kroger, and got a haircut. Got home and signed up for Hulu so I could watch the miniseries 11.22.63. Hulu didn’t work on our desktop, iPad, Anna’s laptop, my phone, or the living room TV. My Apple TV wasn’t working on our regular TV. Finally got Hulu to work on my laptop. Watched to first of 8 episodes, which varies slightly from the book (the book is better, and less gory). 
Saturday evening M and I ate at Lucky’s Burgers & Brew, in Roswell across from Pure. Crowded, so we ate at a tall table across from the bar. Didn’t want to eat outside in the heat, as fashionable as that would have been. The make all the different specialty burgers sound great, but my “pedigree burger” simply had two strips of bacon and cheese on top. But the burger itself was great, on par with any of the best burgers in town. The patty tasted hand formed and fresh as opposed to frozen from a factory. Bun was good, and did not detract from the overall taste. M got stringy French fries that were nothing special. My tater tots tasted ok but fell apart when I tried to pick them up with my fingers. I had to scoop with up with my fork. After eating we swung by a thrift store.
During dinner I figured out something to try to get the Apple TV to work, and sure enough it worked. M and I watched a good movie: “The Age of Adaline” starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford in a supporting role. No time travel or JFK, like in 11.22.63, but about a lady who lives 107 years without aging. What a horrible fate. She lives under the radar and changed identities every ten years, trying her best to stay out of photographs.

Sunday was laundry, watering plants, cutting grass, and ironing five shirts. Worked some on my laptop. Watched more of 11.22.63 and poked around on Apple TV. Not sure it would replace cable.

Monday “the new girl” resigned, which came as no big surprise. We will miss all the work she does, especially her expediting and setting up new items. Really!
Things that will make you happier, by Dr. Travis Bradberry: what makes one person happy might make someone else miserable. Everyone is different. Not everyone wants a printer at their desk.
1. Gratitude creates happiness and reduces depression, even when things aren’t going good for you.
2. Labeling feelings as negative will reduce their power.
3. Making decisions feels good. Trying to make the perfect decision causes stress. Making a “good enough” decision activates areas of your brain that calms emotions and makes you feel in control.
4. Helping others makes both them and you feel happier. Employees who help others are ten times more likely to be more focused and 40% more likely to get a promotion (well, one out of two ain’t bad).
5. Our brains are wired for touch. Touch calms emotions, reduces pain and stress, improves sleep, and reduces fatigue.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Meet Okie

Will & MC's new dog Okie. Will's new haircut.
Anna is liking the rafting.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Braves in Blue

All the blue uniforms MLB teams wore on father’s day: most looked good, better than the camo they wear on Memorial Day.
While the Braves left off the tomahawk, the Cardinals’ jerseys kept the bat and birds (below).

This and that:
Joe Suggs/Amber talking points (there were many more): Hurts and Normans at Living Science and Camp SPdL – Jay Leno – Dock Hollingsworth – Logan Kirksey – the Whitakers – Miles Finch in Elf – the Big Bang guys meet the comic book legend – Don Head and Andy Griffith - watching the Braves Mets Rick Camp game on July 4 & 5 – I’m at the same job since I left Sepco – Gilligan’s Island Pulu Si Bagumba episode.
Cars we’ve owned: red 66 Ford station wagon, red 72 Skylark, white 76 Regal, silver Subaru, navy VW Golf, grey Mazda 626, red VW Jetta, silver Ford Taurus, tan 2000 Mazda MPV, silver 2005 Honda Civic, silver 2002 Mazda MPV, 2011 Honda CRV, white Honda Accord, grey 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee, burgundy 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Comedy genius: the Seinfeld episode featuring midgets.
Wednesday: worked from 7 am to 8:20 pm. Gobbled down lunch (leftovers) while taking phones calls and checking emails. So it was after 9 pm when I got home. C was at a Bible Study. Becky Norman was there. I checked out how the internet was working on our desktop computer because I couldn’t find my laptop charging cord. As I packaged two items I’d sold on eBay (a Kate Spade purse and a pair of Nike cross trainers) someone bought the pair of loafers I had for sale.
Friday: Co-worker out so I have to keep the temp busy and fill in.
Friday morning music: Harlem Shuffle (the Rolling Stones), Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody.

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 23 Braves 4 Mets 3

Left work early and headed toward town. As usual, traffic was backed up to the 85/400 merge. Crossed paths with 14 members of the gang: Kevin Martin was on the way to Lexington to scoop up the coveted Glenn Hubbard snake draped bobble. He sent me two tickets to gather him two Markakis bobbles.
Hot Stove Johnny was in line with his grandson and old Hugh (in red). I joined him and later took him up on his offer for seats behind the dugout. I took their picture sitting in their nice seats. Johnny traded me the 2014 Rome Freddie Freeman stretch bobble in return for next month’s Gwinnett Aaron bobble. John Parkes was in his usual spot at the head of the dollar line. After the gates opened at 4:40, I sat with him for a spell. He graciously gave me his bobble. Caleb texted to see if I had an extra. We had worked out a deal by 5:30. Patrick from Warner Robins said hello. Saw him while he was waiting on Katie and Mike. Crazy Darrell stopped by the dollar line. Turned out his sister was behind us in line.
Just before the gates opened the guy in the purple jacket showed up, so I had my picture taken with him. I tried to do something illegal so he would call me out. When I asked if I could break in line, he reached for his walkie talkie. Bobby Myers brought his family to the game. They had a little trouble collecting extra bobbles. Ever the kingpin, Bobby set the national market for Markakis bobbles at $25.00 shipped.
RL was in the dollar line with me, and we hung out the rest of the evening. I made a comment about the six dollar French fries we had bought at the May 28 game, because neither of us usually makes such an expenditure. At the end of the evening he paid me five dollars for the fries, which I wasn’t expecting. I told him that wasn’t why I made the French fry comment. While RL and I were gathering extra bobbles we ran into Sandy, the retired designated driver lady. Right after that I saw bobblehead queen Katie Wood, and gave her a hug. Norman, the Chocolate Poppa, shook my hand and chatted for a while during BP.
During BP, RL and I took turns gathering extra bobbles. I went out and back in twice, taking my time, going out one gate and going back in another. Stopped by the game used store. Interesting finds: spring training jerseys with patches and special numbers. Also a sweet $150.00 Milwaukee Braves #53 jersey with the black tomahawk and Indian chief patch. I passed. After BP, RL and I grabbed our free Cokes and strolled over to section 111.
Sportscaster Paul Byrd was in front of us for his segment on the pregame show. The guys in front of us said Byrd lived near them in Midway (between Alpharetta and Cumming).
As usual I snapped a pic of pitching coach Roger McDowell chatting with the fans, with The Chief, seated in the background above the N in Northside Hospital.
To our left a young man made a meal off the massive burgerizza, which reportedly isn’t that good.
Lots of action in the game, plenty of hits and a few good catches in the outfield. The Braves were hitting the ball hard, though sometimes right at people. Twice AJ Pierzynski shortened his swing and smoothly stroked base hits to drive in runs. Markakis slapped two hits, hustling to second for a double on one of them. No foul balls came remotely close.
Walkup music: “Walk Like an Egyptian” for Neil Walker. “It's a Grand Old Game” for Curtis Granderson. “He Ain't Heavy, He's my Brother” for Travis d’Arnaud, whose brother plays for the Braves.
Games remaining at Turner Field: 44. The countdown number 45 was pulled off by Home Depot Tool Race participant Two Bit the Drill, with help from Homer the Brave. As Two Bit raised his hands high, Phil the Bucket and his buddies raced in to tackle him. In new SunTrust Park, Home Depot will have a funhouse luxury box next to the jumbotron. Fans in the box will keep count of the Braves’ pitchers’ strikeouts.  
Suggested giveaway: a series of garden gnomes for beloved Braves pitching/bullpen coaches Leo Mazzone, Roger McDowell, Satchel Paige, Bobby Dews, Eddie Perez, and Bob Gibson.

On the way home I stopped for gas. My BP card discount made the price $0.109 per gallon, so I filled my tank with 11 gallons for $1.29. At RaceTrac I cashed in my free ice cream cone coupon and filled up my drink cup. Made it home by 10:45. For the evening I came out ahead $22.71 for the $138.11 in goods and services I received:
Cost / Value
01.00 50.00 dugout level game ticket
00.00 10.00 parking
00.00 03.00 designated driver Coke
00.00 02.00 RaceTrac ice cream cone
00.00 01.00 RaceTrac soft drink
01.29 26.11 discounted BP gas
-20.0 40.00 Markakis bobblehead
-5.00 06.00 May 28 French fries

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Braves Win

Great night at the backyard: friends, fun, bobbles, and a win. Recap to follow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

When Joe Met Jay

Delightful evening at El Azteca in Sandy Springs with Joe Suggs. I wanted him to give a young cartoonist friend Amber some advice and tricks of the trade, and Joe did a great job. He came in and sat down and went right to work, spending an hour pouring over her portfolio page by page, drawing by drawing. When he gave pointers Joe told stories about who taught him the trick. It was interesting stuff and when I got home I spent a long time retelling Ceil many of the details. Joe has worked for Disney, DC Comics, Pixar, and the Braves, among several other companies. At Pixar he crossed paths with Steve Jobs. Joe worked on Space Jam and as well as several cartoons of note.

I had Joe tell his Jay Leno story: back in the days when you had to go to a place called an "arcade" to play a video game (the early 1980's). Joe's high school girlfriend Lynn Lemmons spotted the hot young comedian in Sandy Springs. Lynn pointed out Leno to Joe, who'd never heard of him. Later they looked him up and discovered two movies he'd appeared in. Lynn wrote an entry in her journal for English class entitled "The Day I met Jay Leno." 

The next day Joe and Lynn were in a different arcade in Sandy Springs and again spotted Leno. Jay remembered the young couple and quipped to Joe "do you ever take this girl anyplace nice?" Joe replied "as a matter of fact, we're just getting back from watching a double feature: American Hot Wax and Americathon." Jay came back with "ah, great movies all!" Lynn showed Jay her journal entry, and at the bottom Leno wrote: "I attest the above statements are true - Jay Leno" 

A year or two later Joe and Lynn went to The Punch Line to see Leno. Joe ran into Jay at the bar, and Jay asked where his young lady was. When Joe pointed to Lynn, Jay quipped "Nice to see you finally took her someplace nice."

Joe mentioned he talked to Edie at Denton Harris' funeral. He talked Andy Griffith Show with Don Head at brother Rob's birthday party. Joe recalled the famous choir tour taco salad incident, which I explained to Amber. We told Joe about how I came to be known as the superhero Krypto, and how Steve Norman and David Hurt's kids went to school with Amber and Will – and that Camp SPdL was similar to the Living Science school trips we'd gone on.

Speaking of dogs, did I tell you W&MC got a dog? Named it Okie.

We had trouble getting internet and cable hooked up, so that chore drags on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


View of the house show from the back room. The guy in blue in front of Ceil played keyboards for the band from Philly. He said they were driving straight back after the show so he could get to work at 3 pm the next day.

Monday, June 20, 2016

LeBron > Jordan?

Along with every other MLB team, on Sunday the Braves wore special Father's Day uniforms. Not bad - much better than the camo models worn on Memorial Day. As some have wondered, is the club phasing out the tomahawk? Usually the road unis have the tomahawk, but perhaps MLB wanted simple unis for Father's Day. 
Now that LeBron has won another title, more people will say he was a better player than Michael Jordan. Not me. James is to be commended for not letting yet another title slip through his fingers, but he still has a ways to go to match Michael, both as a player and a winner. MJ never jumped ship to team with other superstars just to win a title.
Interesting that LeBron wore all white shoes in game six. On Sunday at the US Open Jordan Spieth and his caddy wore white Under Armour Steph Curry shoes. Perhaps white sneakers will come back in style. I hope not.
Worked til six Friday. C had gone to the Dekalb Farmers Market, so I went the northern route home, stopping at three thrift stores and RaceTrac. She brought home two to-go boxes from the DFM cafeteria for supper. I hate that place. Weird foreign spices. I ate the squash casserole and passed on the rest. M went to Atlantic Station to see Finding Dory.
Worked around the house on Saturday, both upstairs and downstairs. Really didn’t do much. Saturday night we went to Becky Norman’s to see Joel’s band open the three act house concert. About 50 crowded into their basement. Also a solo artist from Nashville who kinda dawdled, and a professional sounding group from Philadelphia. Will’s groomsman/former roommate Harry played drums for Joel, so we got to meet his parents. Harry is Mr. Gadget on drums, using three kinds of drumsticks, two tambourines, and several other gizmos. He was playing something different on every song. Met the gentleman Becky has been spending time with, who turned out to be Anna and Matthew’s former math teacher. Nice guy who lives around the corner from me. He checked on the Braves score, but admitted to be a long-time Mets fan. A fun evening, but standing for three hours wasn’t good for my aching back.
Saturday night Anna and the Camp Highland staff went to see Finding Dory.
Went to Passion City Church on Sunday morning. I thought we were arriving 30 minutes early, but the service time had been changed from 10 am to 9:30. With apologist extraordinaire Ravi Zacharias speaking, we had to sit in the overflow. A few years ago PCC gave out Bibles for father’ day. Last year they gave out golf balls, but all the non-golfers passed them by. So this year they gave out 10 ounce bottles of iced coffee. I took one for C and M to fight over.
While in line for the shuttle back to the parking deck we ran into Anna’s friend John and his parents. Had a nice chat. Learned the Busby ancestors lived for years on Morningside Drive, and attended Grady High about four years after my dad finished. Did not see Bruce Ambrose.
Slow afternoon. Spaghetti casserole for lunch and hot dogs for dinner. C and I took Barney for a walk.
Tuesday night I’m meeting up with Joe Suggs, who I haven’t seen in years. Will be good to catch up with him.
The Hurt’s new house is in southeast Cumming near Johns Creek – not far from where M’s friend McKinnon lives.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

House Show

House Show number three tonight at The Norman's house. Three acts: Isaac and Joel opened, followed by a great-sounding group from Pennslyvania, and then an introspective young man from Nashville. Will's former roommate Harry joined Isaac and Joel on drums. His parents and girlfriend attended, along with about 45 others. During the show I thought it would be cool if all the performers got together at the end for one big song, and that's kinda what happened (above).

In addition to Becky and Joel, brothers Willia, David, and Charles attended. I chided Charles for his Padres cap. His pal Annie Blass was there, having graduated from Mississippi State and embarking on a teaching career. Young Mr. Nels also made an appearance.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Charmin Harmon

Harmon Wages sighting: the AJC recently ran two articles about the Falcon’s former golden boy. While he is one of seven players in NFL history to run for a TD, catch a TD, and throw for a TD in one game, Wages only scored five career touchdowns. Good information.

Lightning knocked out our cable and internet, so Wednesday night we made the switch from Comcast to AT&T. Hope it works out. C went to the ATT store and I called Comcast. Hot dogs for supper. Tough day so I went to bed shortly after nine.

NBA Finals: guess I picked the wrong time for lightning to knock out our TV. I was following the score and comments on my phone but when Cleveland got the big lead I quit paying attention.

Thursday night M was at a concert at the Masquerade. C went with friends to the Ponce City Market. With no one home I worked until eight, then made 3 stops on the way home. Didn’t get home until after nine. Caught up on emails and watched Jim Gaffigan on the new season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (on my phone). Loved the green 1977 VW Westfalia Bus (Jerry’s matching shoes - not so much).

Since C was gone Thursday night and I was late I didn’t eat quite as much. I just eat what Ceil fixes (meatloaf is rarely on the menu). C likes meat and potatoes. I ask for grilled chicken and salad, and quit eating rice, potatoes, and other starches. We often split meals when we go out, but portion control and lack of exercise is my problem. Middle age has hit me like a rock. I need to get in shape cause Anna will be getting married one day and I’m sure there will be pictures.

Speaking of food, my company fed me lunch four times this week. Dreamland BBQ on Monday, Atlanta Bread Company on Wednesday and Thursday, and Ippilito’s Italian food Friday. I’d like to think I have earned the lunches.

Friday morning I stopped at RaceTrac on the way to work. Saw a well-groomed white guy my age with hair completely grey. Was wearing a golf shirt, jeans – and black low cut Kevin Durant sneakers. I wanted to ask him if he was getting a pair of the new Under Armour Steph Curry Two Lows, but I missed him. I was wearing the pair of black Jordan RCVRs I’d just bought. Walking back to my car, taking the same route the guy in the KD’s had just taken, I passed a younger black guy in his pickup at the gas pump. Had he been standing outside I would’ve pointed to the KD guy and said how unbelievable it was an old guy was wearing those sneakers.  

Getting old department 2: this morning I was sitting at my desk. I saw three people about 20 yards away, headed in my direction. Two of them work here in Norcross but the third, with wavy hair, had moved to Chicago. My old boss must be in town visiting. I smiled and waved, then as they got closer I had to speak first to the first two as they walked past. Then it was time to greet my old boss, so I started waving and smiling again. But it wasn’t my old boss – it was someone I had never met before. Probably thought I was weird (which I am).

Trying to get the renowned artist Joe Suggs to help Will’s former classmate/recent SCAD graduate Amber with a little career advice/direction (i.e. a job).

Thursday, June 16, 2016

You've Got Mail

My monthly social media rant: The thing people like about Facebook is when people “like” and comment on their posts. Naturally people post things that will garner lots of likes: pictures of babies, children, accomplishments, cats, political viewpoints, Bible verses, etc.
Like Tom Hanks said about the old “you’ve got mail” signal in the movie of the same name, those likes and comments are a powerful thing (I wonder if a similar line is in the Broadway musical "She Loves Me" inspired by the movie). People become more and more addicted to posting posting posting, re-posting the same thing several others have already posted, sharing every online article they read – all in an effect to draw attention to themselves. Satan must love this.
As addicting as it is, the whole thing is starting to turn me off. Sure it’s nice to get likes when I post something family related. Most forget that for every success story there are people struggling in school, out of work, without money for the nice new car, mission trip, or exotic overseas vacation (possibly paid for by daddy or expense account). For some social media could be depressing.
For some in the press, posting on social media is part of the job. Sure, most of it is fun. It is a way to communicate to friends and family. When somewhere special it’s hard to resist the urge to post. I try hard not to get sucked in.
It is nice to have four talented kids doing some great things. Deans lists. Graduations. Magna cum laude (just missing summa cum laude, thank you very much). Trips. Nice jobs. Important positions. Medical school. I’m proud of my kids, but I need to tell them in person, not post it on Facebook. I should wish them happy birthday personally, not on a Facebook post (though I’m far from perfect in this area). I’m thankful they’re not conditioned to take a photo of every meal they eat or every get-together with friends. They don’t have to spend someone else’s hard-earned money to go see every new blockbuster movie right when it comes out.
Better to live to please God and not man.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pennies From Heaven?

Everyone has unproductive and bad habits. One of mine is entering contests and sweepstakes. The act of entering the contest is fun in and of itself. And it better be, since actually winning a sweepstakes is almost a virtual certainty. I have a list of contest wins buried somewhere in my computer, but here are some of the ones that stand out: (1) Curacao trip, (2) Los Angeles trip, (3) fantasy baseball camp trip, (4) New York City trip, (5) World Series tickets, (5) Final Four trip, (6) wide screen TV, (7) laptop, (8) tablet (9) Desktop Computer, (10) watch, (11) Braves tickets, (12) college and pro football tickets, (13) Basketball tickets, (14) concert tickets, and (15) a weekend hotel stay.

Guy I know just won his second car. Perhaps he spends money on tax-deductible raffles to support various causes. Why haven’t I thought of that? Years ago Randy won a Mercedes SUV his family drove for years and years (while warning others to stay away from the unreliable vehicles, a do-as-I-say as opposed to as I most fashionably do). Now he’s won an expensive top-of-the-line luxury Audi sedan, that’s going to be a huge tax hit - the same year he has to pay for two weddings. Will he keep the car, or sell it to pay for the weddings? I know what I would do.    

I consider the things I’ve won to be gravy, little blessings from God that weren’t needed but certainly appreciated. While I’m not embarrassed to be driving an eleven year-old beat up Civic, I’m not sure all fifty-something professional men feel the same way. If God has something to do with this, is it because He knows these trips and electronics were things Ceil and I “needed” for encouragement? Did Randy “need” those cars to maintain a lifestyle that helps him minister and serve others? Sounds insane, but it could be possible.

God does not give in equal measure. The parable of the talents tells us that. I may not have won two cars, but I’m thankful God has given me a comfortable life, as opposed to one in Syria or Ethiopia. Others can serve through hardship better than me. Some use great wealth to minister. I’m not sure I would be the best steward of great riches, though who wouldn’t like to try. Anyone could give to others, but it takes a certain type person to best use great wealth. Guess I won’t be winning the lottery anytime soon.

I’ll have a conversation, then weeks later think of a good answer to a rhetorical question. Should I only give on the Sundays I attend church? While I am far from worthy to address this topic, a thought crossed my mind this weekend while washing my car: does God only give according to how often I attend church (much less contribute to His kingdom)? Thankfully the answer is most certainly no. God has blessed me and my family with so much, as well as giving the life of His only Son for my sake, that I have the chance to accept His free gift of life with Him in heaven. I could never out-give God.         

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

NBA Finals: Game Five

Before Game Five all three experts picked Golden State to win: Doug Collins, etc. I wondered how they could make they pick with Draymond Green out and the Cavs hungry to not be further embarrassed. NBA playoff series seem to go deep – underdogs find ways to win games. Today on social media since Kyree Irving had a good game people are saying he’s better than Steph Curry and that Curry is an undeserving, one-dimensional MVP, that he’s the fourth best player on his own team. Uh, didn’t Curry just have one of the greatest statistical seasons in history? He obliterated the season three-point record by such a wide margin it was like breaking the single-season home run record by hitting 110 home runs.

C and I watched a good chunk of the game, as well as some of the pregame and Jimmy Kimmel before that. For a while both teams seemed to be making everything. Back and forth. You need to get you a pair of those good-looking new Under Armour Curry Two Low sneakers.

How many times had Cleveland worn those sleeved jerseys before last night? I know the Warriors have worn theirs several times in the playoffs.

Worked til 6:45 trying to catch up. Workers stayed late at the house so Ceil had a busy day. M went to Cumming to fish. I stopped by RaceTrac on the way home after making most of the lights. Sped by a few police cars. We watched Jeopardy and basketball, as well as two episodes of The Middle and an episode of The Good Witch. C cooked chicken tenders, broccoli, lima beans, and baked thin potato slices.

Not long after I had gotten home last night, Barney wanted me to take him outside. He likes for me to take him because I don’t strap on the uncomfortable gentle leader and I let him sniff around and explore more than Ceil does. We walked up to the street and then back in the woods. We went to a spot near the property line we normally don’t go. In an effort to keep the woods looking clear, I’m always on the lookout for sticks hanging in branches or on the ground (guess I should make sure they’re not snakes). I noticed a small tree with no leaves that looked dead, right next to a similar tree with leaves. Sure enough I was able to snap off the ten foot tall tree with one hand while I held Barney’s leash in the other hand. I pulled up the tree and tossed it down the hill in the gully. In the process I wonder if some small bugs got on my (and Barney) because after I went inside I kept feeling bugs on me.

Tuesday morning music: Take Me Down (by Alabama?), Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash), I Believe in Love (Cher),

Orlando: Americans were killed and wounded. The killer first clearly pledged allegiance to ISIS, an Islamic terrorist organization who has actively encouraged the very acts conducted in Orlando, Chattanooga, California, and numerous other locations in the United States. And as in those previous massacres, the current US President has failed to even acknowledge the link between the killer and ISIS. Would Bush 43 hesitate to identify and attack the enemy? No. Neither would’ve Clinton, Bush 41, Reagan, or Carter. In fact, I know of no previous US President in history who wouldn’t have hesitated to defend its citizens from these repeated attacks – just the current President. Seems few politicians want to call out Muslim extremists in fear of losing votes. Our country has truly gone mad.

Had the Orlando killer not used a gun, be sure he would’ve found another deadly weapon to use. Had it been illegal to own such a weapon, the killer would’ve found a way to acquire it. This is not a gun control issue. The issue is an enemy who wants to destroy the American way of life and impose its own agenda on America and the world. While assault weapons may have no place in our society, our country would be much less violent if only our current laws could be enforced.

Denison had a good blog post about what a Christian’s response to Orlando should be. Even a hard line Christian blogger Elizabeth Prata (who doesn’t like Andy or Louie or Beth Moore) liked the Denison post. I wonder if the Tony Awards would’ve made such a big deal about the Orlando shooting had it taken place in a Christian church. The host made big fun of Trump (to tremendous applause) and a little fun of Hillary (and got a lesser response).

Jeanne Statham passed away, mother of Tommy Statham and Jay and Craig Martinson. Service at SPdL Thursday at 2:30, perhaps officiated in part by the right Rev Rick Statham, her nephew.

Monday, June 13, 2016

LeBron vs Draymond

Is Charles Barkley right? Does LeBron deserve to be suspended as much as Draymond Green? They all push and shove, but in his frustration at being best once again in the Finals LeBron seems to be a tad excessive. My question: is millionaire wife Alicia Goetz sitting courtside at the Finals, and is she still poo-pooing LeBron?
Worked until six Friday. New Girl is on vacation, upping my workload. Plus the Hard Charger needed a report. Made two stops on the way home, then went out for a late dinner at El Porton. Saw Brett Smith at the Stinky Kroger, then redboxed Cate Blanchett in Cinderella.
Worked upstairs Saturday morning, then downstairs. Laundry and dishes and other stuff. C picked up a friend’s dog at the kennel and I helped unlock their house. After eating homemade pizza we hit Home Depot for a new hose and other needed items. Back home we watched three episodes of The Good Witch on Netflix, staying up past midnight.

Bill Murray and Jason Bateman attended Saturday’s Braves game (also Don Head, but not me). Murray sat behind the Cubs dugout and Bateman behind the Braves. Bobblehead queen Katie Wood nabbed a picture with the amiable Murray, who goosed her arm and chided the photographer for poor grammar. Katie also got photos with Denny Neagle and country music star Chris Stapleton.
People are down on the Braves for Snitker’s 9-16 record. Fredi opened the season 9-19. Freddie Freeman has been in a season long slump. Any knowledgeable fan would’ve been thrilled with one win this weekend against the heavily-favored Cubs, but the complaining continues.  
Both SS and worship were above average at Johnson Ferry. The youth choir return concert from their trip to Poland. They arrived back some time Saturday and stayed in an Atlanta hotel Saturday night, arriving back at the church just in time to sing. Oh the extravagance. Danny Downing and daughter went, at least 80 teenagers, plus 20-30 other chaperones and other hangers-on.
After spaghetti and a nap I washed and waxed both cars out in the heat. Wore me out. Hooked up the TV and brought in the sofa. Didn’t have anything special to post to my blog. I was playing on the laptop while watching the Tony Awards and prepped a picture to post, then forgot. Second miss in four weeks.

Steve Martin’s Broadway play Bright Star garnered five Tony nominations, including three for Martin himself. His rookie mistake: he didn’t name his play Hamilton. The 70-year-old has had a well-rounded career: an Academy Award, Emmy Awards 40 years apart, Grammy nominations 35 years apart, named one of the five best comedians in history, author of several books and screenplays – in addition to all the Tony nominations.  
Monday morning music: Life in the Fast Lane, Speed Racer, Stayin Alive. Lunch meeting featured Dreamland BBQ.
Doesn’t look like Will’s small college left-handed pitcher friend Michael got selected in the weekend MLB draft.   
I’m sure drugs among teens are bad in Buckhead. They are in East Cobb. I was thinking about that while watching the teen choir on Sunday. There are so many factors as to why kids try drugs that go so far past good parenting and a Christian upbringing. Kids are different for just as many reasons, starting with that God made everyone different. If two good families in the exact same circumstances do exactly the same things, there will still almost always yield different results. In the end so many things are beyond our own control. Like everything else, we must reply on God to keep and protect our children.