Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Super Photos

 The 747 ferrying the Space Shuttle turns west over the Astrodome and NRG Stadium, site of Sunday's Super Bowl. My company's Houston office is located just outside the lower lefthand corner of the picture, on the other side of the highway.
 A view of the field.
Once the Eighth Wonder of the World, the now vacant Astrodome rests in the shadow of the towering NRG Stadium. I drove right past the stadium on the street in the left-hand corner. Downtown Houston looms to the northeast.
Key play from the NFC Championship Game:
the Packers Aaron Rodgers is called for facemasking.
 Rodgers congratulates the victor: Falcons QB Matt Ryan. 
 SunTrust Park: looking east.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Isaac & Joel at Smiths

Left work at 5:45 Friday. C was busy getting ready for Anna to arrive. A made good time from Athens. Has her favorite baked burritos for supper. Earlier in the day we’d gotten a quote to cut down the tree badly leaning in our back yard. Not cheap.  
Had a 7 am appointment Saturday morning at the dealership to get two recalls done on the CRV – both airbags. On the way home I let myself buy a pair of red Air Max sneakers, which I like better than my other two red pair. Perhaps I’ll sell the other two.
C and A went to the YMCA for a class.  Afterward C, A, and M drove down to Westside to shop and eat ice cream. Later I got a call: the CRV wouldn’t start. They jumped it jumped off, back it died again a mile down the road. Had to call a tow truck and drive down to pick them all up. Not sure if it was what the dealer had done cutting off the power to work on the car. Hopefully cheap.
The four of us went out to eat at Pappasitos Mexican Cantina, which shares a parking lot with Pappadeux Cajun Seafood. Arrived about 5:15 pm and the lots were 95% full. Pappasitos is a huge place, and it was super crowded – but we didn’t have to wait for a table. Mexican for the masses. Sat at a small table, and all the food they brought out filled every inch of the table’s surface. M got enchiladas. A got fish tacos. I got a combo plate. C got fajitas. What they brought out for C took up half the table all by itself. We each filled a to go box and cup. On the way out I ran into co-worker Chris and his wife. They live in Smyrna, on the other side of SunTrust Park. After we left Chris ran into another coworker.
Outside the parking lot was a zoo – gridlocked. There’s only one way in and out, and 90% of the cars want to turn left toward I-75, where there’s another red light less than a block away. Plus the line of cars coming in was non-stop, and they were all trying to make turns into various rows of the parking lot. Did well to get out of there in ten minutes.
Drove down to Ansley Mall for Joel Norman’s concert at Smith’s Old Bar. W&MC had driven over from Augusta, but had to drive back for church. The concert didn’t start until nine. Isaac & Joel were the second act of three, so we left after that. Huge crowd filled the main upstairs venue. They might’ve had to turn people away. Saw plenty of people we knew: Five more Normans: Becky, Catherine, Willis, David, and Charles. Isaac’s parents and brother and sister. Father Brent looked well. He’s recovering from a major stroke, so it was no surprise he didn’t remember me. Also Annie, Nikki, Nic, Kyle, and others.
Opening act Jordy Searcy had been on The Voice.
His drummer Scooter looked like a wolfman.
Isaac & Joel improve every time I see them.
Will’s college roommate Harry still plays drums.
Jordy’s bass player had to fill in at the last minute.
Sadly, at the concert Catherine Norman called me “Dave.” I always liked it when she and Becky called me Murf, like Steve used to do.
Saturday night the Hurts were also down in Buckhead for a fundraiser concert for children’s cancer.
My back had been hurting after the long day Saturday. Since Anna was home we slept in Sunday morning. I got a lot of housework done upstairs, where I stayed until almost 11:30. Ate Pappasitos leftovers for lunch. A went back to Athens. M went to work. C ran errands and went to the 5 pm service at Passion. I did laundry and got work done on my laptop. Followed the exciting Hawks game. Packaged two eBay shipments. Too cold to do anything outside.     
Now Tech can’t surprise anyone in the ACC Tourney – everyone will be ready for a tough game.
Back when we went to SPdL I saved lots of bulletins as well. Also the Church News whenever it had something of note. Every not and then I go through them as well. They’re with old papers and photos from high school and college. Every week the JFBC bulletin is like three pages long, listing all the activities of the church, so any visitor who picks one up will be well informed. Then there’s just one little section with one order of service for both the traditional and contemporary services – even though different songs are sung in each. I hardly look at the bulletin while I’m at church, but take it home and read over later. Most people don’t even bother taking a bulletin, since the announcements and songs are on the message boards.
North Point has just a small bulletin with basic information for visitors, room to take notes, and different cover art for each sermon series. I’d often save the artwork for my scrapbook calendar. Passion City Church does not have a bulletin, but sometimes puts small information cards on all the seats with various announcements.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Balance: the New Cool?

I had worn top of the line New Balance sneakers for years. I’m talking about the 990/991/993/994 line. Not sure how or when I discovered them. They might be heavier than most running shoes, but the support and comfort made them great to wear on long days on my feet. Steve Jobs wore them, which was kinda cool. Over the years I went through several pairs. The grey shoes were the most popular, but eventually I added a black and navy pair to my collection. Right now I probably have four pair in my closet, in addition to a pair of low-profile 310’s.  
As a middle-aged man living in the suburbs, on the weekends I’d see plenty of men like me out and about, unashamedly wearing clunky white leather New Balance sneakers. I prayed the day would never come that I’d be found in those shoes (sorry Don). Eventually I decided even my ultra-comfortable 990’s were too old-school to wear old in public. My black pair and navy pair were reminiscent of George Costanza’s Nike Cortez’s. Forrest Gump wore Cortez as well. Cool for kids maybe, but not my demographic. The 990’s are more college professor than relaxed business executive. Better to wear Roshes or Gazelles or “fashion sneakers.”
New Balance has been in the news lately. Demonstrators down in the Fifth District were burning the brand due to their alleged support of the new President. Made me want to dust mine off and wear them out downtown. And I did. (Clarification: while I may support some of the new President’s ideas and proposals, and as an American and Christian I consider it my duty to support and pray for our leaders in general, in no way do I label myself a Trump enthusiast, or "Christian for Trump").
In previous years Americans were in an uproar because the military was issuing foreign-made training sneakers. Last year the restriction was removed, paving the way for New Balance to outfit our troops.
I was interested to discover a generally favorable GQ article about New Balance covering these developments. Seems like every article I read these days, regardless of the topic, is written through a post Obama/new Trump World-colored glasses – though in this case presidential politics do come into play. In the article I was pleased to read “Aesthetically, these sneakers represent the fashion-dad vibe that's getting more popular by the day in sneakers and apparel.” Since I am usually oblivious to such trends, I’ll have to check out this “fashion-dad” thing. Another reason to dust off the old NB’s.
J Crew is jumping on the New Balance bandwagon. Though they’ve sold the trendy low-topped fashion sneakers for years, last night I noticed a pair of high tops on the back of a catalog that had arrived in the mail (below). Ok, but not the greatest. Simple high-tops have become more trendy lately (that’s what I’m reading anyway) and NB appears to have put out a style similar to a popular Vans release.

While researching this article I stumbled across a wide variety of New Balance releases that didn’t look too bad. Not that I was ever a heavy researcher.     
Speaking of shoes, I was probably wrong to sell off my pair of plain white leather Nikes. Though they may be fashionable, they make me look fatter. I still have my white low-cut white canvas Chuck Taylors to wear, though I haven’t pulled them on in years.  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Book Notes: Eleven Rings

Notes and highlights from Phil Jackson’s autobiographical book “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success:”
"Seven Rings." The guy reading the book mispronounced Knute Rockne's first name, and John Salley's last name. Jackson praised his father (a preacher) for being a great example of being what a true Christian should be like. The book is the story not only of Jackson's long basketball career, but also his life-long spiritual journey. Some of it is a little weird, but Jackson was honest and sincere about which spiritual things he rejected and which things he accepted as valid. Not that Jackson did this, but to me it seems like rejecting the Bible as God's Word and instead meditating is a selfish "putting myself before God" kind of thing.

Jackson often admits to mistakes he made along the way. One had to do with coming down hard too on forward Horace Grant during a playoff loss to Philadelphia. The normally reserved and disciplined Georgia native snapped back at his coach. The next morning Jackson held a breakfast meeting with the team to set things right. Grant read from Psalms. That night Grant scored 22 points with 14 rebounds, leading the Bulls to victory. Jackson also writes in detail about his efforts to mold Jordan into more of a team player, starting in his early days as an assistant coach. This book lends a different angle to many of the stories I'd just read in the Jordan biography.

After Scottie Pippen infamously refused to inbound the ball to Toni Kukoc, head coach Phil Jackson decided to let his players discipline Pippen. With 1.5 seconds left on the clock the Bulls were able to run a different play and score the game-winning basket. Afterwards in the locker room team captain Bill Cartwright called the act one of the most selfish he had ever seen in his life. Other players voiced their displeasure as well, including BJ Armstrong. After the players were able to calm down, Jackson led the team in the Lord's Prayer. Pippen was told by Jackson to put the incident behind him, though the press let the story live on for years afterwards. In the next game Pippen responded with 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists.

When the Bulls signed power forward Dennis Rodman, Jackson knew he had his work cut out for him. Rodman would let pressure build up on the inside until it would finally blow over. From time to time if there was no game his agent would ask for a few days off so Rodman could blow off steam in Vegas. Afterwards he'd be as good as new. During games Jackson realized his own pacing the sideline and arguing with refs made Rodman more anxious and argumentative, so Jackson started sitting on the bench and keeping quiet during games. Jackson told the press "Rodman reminds me of me."

During their last championship run the Bulls lost two late season games, leaving their season total of 69 tied for the second-most in history. Jackson called a team meeting and asked the players and coaches to write down something to share. Jordan wrote a poem. A trainer read I Corinthians 13. After each player read what they had written, the paper was stuffed in a coffee can. When they were finished Jackson set the papers on fire.

The meeting steeled the team for their final playoff run. After MJ's late heroics in game seven of the finals, GM Jerry Krause refused to bring back Jackson, Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman, wanting instead to re-build the Bulls on his own. It didn't work.
Two players I'd forgotten had played for the Bulls: Robert Parrish (above) and John "Spider" Salley (below).
Phil learned he'd been named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers by a small Inuit Eskimo boy in northern Alaska. Phil was on a fishing trip with his two sons when they encountered the boy in a small village. The boy asked "Are you Phil Jackson?" When Phil answered "Yes - why do you ask?" the boy said "You've just been named coach of the Lakers."
"How do you know that?" asked Phil. "We have a dish. It was on ESPN" was the reply. Before leaving on the trip Jackson had given his agent permission to negotiate with the Lakers.
When driving from his home in Montana to his new job in Los Angeles, Jackson listened to a mix tape his daughter had compiled with songs about starting over. He had to pull over while listening to Willie Nelson's version of "Amazing Grace" - to cry. Throughout his book Jackson tells stories of how he used Bible verses to communicate with players, but just as often illustrates with Buddhist practices, Zen meditation, and Lakota Indian tribal warrior analogies. Jackson was a proponent of Zen quotes, like "before enlightenment: carry water, chop wood. After enlightenment: carry water, chop wood."
Once Laker Robert Horry missed Jackson's play call. Knowing Horry had grown up in a Christian home, Phil quoted John 10:27: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."  Horry understood, but John Salley asked Jackson to explain. After that when Jackson called the team together in practice the players would respond "Yes, Master."
Most chapters quoted passages from books on religion or leadership. Jackson also wrote of his annual practice of giving various books to players, often at the onset of a long road trip. John Paxson received Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Neither Jordan nor Kobe showed much interest in the books, though nowadays Bryant asks Phil for book recommendations, particularly about leadership. Once Shaq turned in a book report in to Phil.  
Phil pulled no punches in his description of young Kobe. When Jackson took over the Lakers, Kobe was young and immature and selfish. Tex Winter installed the same triangle offense the Bulls had used to win their six world championships. The players were excited to go back to the fundamentals, but it took all year for Kobe and Shaq to mesh. Phil named veterans Shaq and newcomer Ron Harper team captains. Kobe often bristled, thinking he should be captain. Jackson told him he couldn't be captain if nobody would follow him. The other Lakers had tired quickly of Kobe's selfish play.
Jackson often used the quotes of others to tell his story. While he directly detailed Kobe's immaturity, he used quotes from Rick Fox to compliment Bryant. Where Kobe was laser-focused on becoming the greatest basketball player ever, Shaq was only interested in having fun and collecting oversized toys. After the first championship Shaq returned 35 pounds overweight. Kobe told Jackson the triangle was boring and limited his abilities, caring more about scoring points than winning championships. He told ESPN the Magazine he trusted himself more than he trusted his teammates, driving another wedge into the team's chemistry. Later Jackson wrote how Kobe had eventually matured. Kobe could see his own immaturity in his two young daughters, who wanted everything their own way.
Again it took most of the season for the Lakers to play together as a team. After flying back to LA to tend to his ailing wife, Kobe staged what Jackson called a "righteous" return. LA stormed through the playoffs and beat Allen Iverson's 76ers in the Finals. After winning two championships, the players though they knew better than the coaches how to win a third.
Phil Jackson devoted several paragraphs to a comparison of Michael Jordan to Kobe. They have their differences. Jordan was a better shooter, hitting almost 50% for his career. Kobe only shot 45% from the field, but Kobe could go on longer hot streaks. The main difference between the two, in Jackson’s opinion, was that Jordan was a better leader than Kobe.
Recently I compared MJ and KB statistically. MJ’s stats are superior, though Kobe scored more total points. Why? Kobe skipped college and went straight to the NBA. Add three years of points to MJ’s total (or four years to Kareem’s) and the record books would look quite different.
Lakers owner Jerry Buss loved Kobe. Buss wasn’t crazy about Shaq, and didn’t want to pay the aging superstar. The owner approved of the Shaq to Miami trade even though Jackson told him it would cost the Lakers a championship. During the season Buss told Kobe that Jackson wouldn’t be returning. Kobe told Buss that he didn’t care. Jackson found out when he overheard Kobe telling a teammate on the team bus.
The Lakers dropped under .500 without Shaq, Jackson, Karl Malone, and Ron Harper. In his second year in Miami, Shaq won a championship. New head coach Rudy Tomjanovich was fighting cancer and didn’t last the entire season. Jeanie Buss tracked down Jackson, on vacation in Australia, and offered him the job again. Phil had other offers, including the Knicks, but chose the Lakers for the challenge of developing a young team. After his hip replacement Jackson had to change from a standing coach to a sitting coach. This worked well with his young team, who needed a teaching father figure more than a drill sergeant.
With few offensive options Bryant went on a scoring spree, reaching 50 in five games in a stretch of seven. This is when he had his 81 point game. The Lakers made the playoffs. When they lost, Kobe demanded a trade or an improved starting cast (this after running off Shaq). The Lakers tried to trade for Kevin Garnett, who instead chose Boston because of Kobe’s numerous outbursts in the press.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Super Buildup

While I don’t hang on every minute of the game, I do try to keep up with GT Basketball. Trying to get back into it after they’d been down for the last few years. My hope is that they aren’t one year wonders due to bringing in a new coach. Instead hopefully they can instead build into a powerhouse. Seemed like when the last two coaches came in there was an initial time of success, followed by a longer down period. Guess that is typical. I won’t wait years to jump on the bandwagon, but I’m getting there. My FSU boss says the Noles star player will be a one and done.  
The ACC seems pretty interesting this year. Lots of good games. Wild story about Duke. Supposedly Coach K has done this one or twice before. Good for him.
As much of a Braves fan as I am, these last couple of years I really haven’t followed them as closely as I used to either. Football is easier because there are so few games.
Tuesday: met C and M at El Porton, the Mexican place next to the Stinky Kroger. Back home for Jeopardy and The Middle. Also did homework for our Wednesday night class.

Wednesday: Barely made it to JFBC in time for the meeting, though I beat several others, including C. Got home at 8:20. Checked out the game but wanted to watch the new show we’re all talking about at work: Hunted. Based in Atlanta, two people go on the run, and a government-type “agency” tracks them down using investigation and technology. Sometimes hokey but sometimes interesting. The agency tracks ATM and cell phone use, monitoring friends and family and sometimes telling outright lies in an effort to gain knowledge. Nine pairs of individuals are on the run. One pair from my zip code. In the first three shows three pairs have been caught. The Florida couple lasted 18 days, mostly out in the woods. The two African-American ladies hid with their best friend, which got them caught. The young couple from Charleston’s undoing was using the ATM at a bus station.   
W and A are coming home this weekend for Joel’s concert. Sounds like MC can’t come. W has dinner plans somewhere, so it will just be the four of us.
Dic Dac recently retired from Steel Dynamics.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ode to a Shoe Part 2

Nike Air Max Speed Turf - a.k.a. the "Air Marino."
Not sure why its called The Marino.
Similar to the Air Zoom Jet Turf, the shoe preferred by Barry Sanders.
The Marino was sold in the colors of NFL teams, like the Dolphins above, and presumably the Vikings below. I recently lucked into a grey/black/silver Raiders pair. Comfortable and warm.
Might be too much shoe for me to handle.

Not sure Marino is wearing Speed Turfs in this photo.
In fact, I can't find a single photo of Marino wearing them. 
But Steve Young wore one of the looking pair I've seen.
Syracuse wore them on the basketball court.
Now I have three pairs of hightops: Hyperdunks, Huarache Trainers, and Speed Turfs - plus two pair of low tops. Will I keep them? Not sure.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I Had Another Dream

I had a dream this morning, just seconds before waking up. I wondered if it had been a nighttime sleep dream or if I'd been awake and daydreaming. Andy Stanley was talking - not really preaching - in a Baptist like sanctuary. As he spoke he was walking all around. People had filled all the pews, but I was the only other person standing, following him around, nodding in agreement, responding to the things he was saying. That's so not like me. As an illustration he walked out the door of the church to the "front porch" and said his son was going to sweep all the pine pollen off. In my dream I asked when, so I could watch. No one else had moved from their seats, they were still all facing forward, in the opposite direction. Perhaps it's a sign.

Then it seemed like we were at an office building similar to mine, but not exactly. We'd had a meeting, but it was over and we were packing up to go home. Not all the lights were on so it was hard to see. Co-worker Chris was leaving with me, but I was moving too slow so he went on ahead - walking down the hallway toward the stairwell, almost vanishing into the darkness. Perhaps it's a sign.

Earlier I had dreamed we were still living in our old house on Hillpine. There were clothes and laundry everywhere, piled up on the narrow stairway leading upstairs. I was trying to organize the mess, and get a load of laundry going. Then people started arriving, either to buy the house or for a yard sale. We went upstairs, and there were more clothes than we could ever sell. I was going to show Don and Angela Head the secret closet. Ceil had been working on the upstairs, and she had opened up all these spaces that I didn't know even existed. Perhaps it's a sign.

Since C was in Athens Friday I went the northern route home, and stopped by four stores. Bought a pair of sneakers, slacks, golf shirt, and boxers. Most I'd bought in a long time. Spent $33.40 for $420.00 in merchandise. Ate a plate of BBQ before leaving work, so that was supper.

10.00 110.00 Nike Air Marinos
04.33 080.00 Jerry Rice Raiders Jersey
04.07 030.00 Under Armour golf shirt
15.00 090.00 FootJoy golf slacks
00.00 085.00 Southern Tides golf shirt
00.00 025.00 Titans bobblehead
33.40 420.00 total
Saturday morning I woke up at 6:15 for my appointment at the Honda dealer. While there I was able to go through all my personal emails and get caught up. They were able to fix the airbag problem. Early next Saturday I'm taking the CRV for its recall.

Housework on Saturday. C turned on the inaugural prayer service. Since I'd worked so hard last weekend I tried to take it easier this weekend. Worked on the computer most of the afternoon and evening, finishing several small projects. Trying to decide what kind of sports watch to get. Surely that will help me exercise more. C cooked lasagna. M joined us for dinner. C watched the new Hallmark Channel movie.
JFBC on Sunday morning. Good sermon by Bryant, who briefly mentioned the AJC article. Long-time friends and prayer Bryant and Youseff had hoped the article would show how topics like the presidential vote was secondary to seeking the Kingdom of God, and how their friendship and brotherhood was not affected by their votes. As usual, the media focused instead on their divide over what they considered a secondary issue.

Leftovers for lunch and dinner. Watched some of the pregame, all of the game, and kept the TV on during the AFC Championship. Packaged some bobbleheads and did homework for Wednesday night. Had trouble sleeping both Saturday and Sunday night. Not sure why.

I've had bad experiences at McDonalds, most recently coming back from SC after Thanksgiving - the last time I frequented a McDonalds. Monday morning after our meeting at school C, M, and I had discussed grabbing breakfast, but didn't. Instead I swung by Taco Bell for a breakfast burrito. It was after most of the rush, and the restaurant had no other customers, so my order was made up quickly. Cooked properly, the shell was toasted and hot.

Didn't make it in to work until 8:45. Co-worker brought back nice shirts for everyone. I'd forgotten to give him a color preference, but we all received different shades of my favorite color: blue. Brad got Vineyard Vines and I got a sweet Southern Tide golf shirt. Might wear it Easter Sunday, and at the Masters should I be so lucky to get tickets. And at the EZGo Golf Tourney - again, should I be so lucky.

It was a morning of gifts. Another co-worker gave me the Tennessee Titans season ticket holder bobblehead, for the second straight year. I'll be the envy of all my bobblehead friends. Be on the lookout for a 4 foot tall John Gruden / Corona beer bobblehead on display in grocery stores, Wal-Marts, Targets, or liquor stores. They are a hot commodity. Not for sale, but the store manager might let you have it for $50-$100 cash. They're selling for $300-$1000 on eBay.

Worked until 6:30 Monday night, not because I'd arrived late, but there were several things I had to get done. Nancy had brought over a baked chicken, so C tossed a salad and baked sweet potato wedges. It was 8:30 before we were finished cleaning up. Jeopardy and Wheel. We were watching The Middle when the power cut off. The whole neighborhood was pitch black, and the wind was blowing a gale. C, Barney, and I just fell asleep on the couch. Eventually we were startled awake when the power came back on. Watched the last 30 minutes of Timeless before going to bed. It was the black Lone Ranger vs. Jesse James episode of Timeless.

Tuesday: met C and M at El Porton, the Mexican place next to the Stinky Kroger. Back home for Jeopardy and The Middle. Also did homework for our Wednesday night class.

The Trump administration reviewed my social media activity, and offered me the job as press advisor. I'm not going to make Trump jokes on social media because my liberal friends like them so much, while at the same time not allowing jokes (or truths) about Obama to go unchecked.

In May GT & UGA switch the site of their annual fund-raiser game from Turner Field to SunTrust Park. UGA is also playing another game there in April.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Super Bowl QBs by Number

1. Cam Newton
2. Matt Ryan
3. Daryle Lamonica, Russell Wilson
4. Brett Farve
5. Kerry Collins, Donovan McNabb, Joe Flacco
7. Craig Morton, Joe Theismann, Ron Jaworski, Boomer Esaison, John Elway, Ben Roethlisberger, Colin Kaepernick

8. Steve Young Troy Aikman Matt Hasselback Rex Grossman Trent Dilfer
9. Jim McMahon, Steve McNair, Drew Brees
10. Fran Tarkenton, Eli Manning
11. Joe Kapp, Phil Simms, Mark Rypien, Tony Eason, Drew Bledsoe
12. Joe Namath, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler, Jim Kelly, Stan Humphries, Chris Chandler, Rich Gannon, Tom Brady

13. Dan Marino, Kurt Warner
14. Ken Anderson, Neil O'Donnell, Brad Johnson, Aaron Rodgers
15. Bart Starr, Earl Morrall, Craig Morton, Vince Ferragamo, Jeff Hostetler
16. Len Dawson, Joe Montana, Jim Plunkett, David Woodley
17. Billy Kilmer, Doug Williams, Jake Delhomme
18. Peyton Manning
19. Johnny Unitas
Super Bowl Fun Facts (mostly from Uni Watch):
The NFC is designated as the home team this year, so the Falcons will most probably wear red jerseys.
Last year the Broncos (the AFC representative) chose to wear white, having lost all their Super Bowls wearing dark jerseys, but had previously won the Super Bowl while wearing white.
Matt Ryan is the first starting QB in Super Bowl history to wear number two. Now the only number between 1 and 19 without a starting QB is six.
The Falcons are the third team to wear two different primary jersey colors (red and black) in the Super Bowl (excluding white). The other teams are the Patriots (blue and red) and Broncos (blue and orange).
Teams with a primary color the same as their opponent's secondary color have a record of 8-1 in the Super Bowl. This bodes well for the Falcons (primary color = red) against the Patriots (secondary color = red).
I like Tom Brady and the Patriots, but I will pull for the Falcons. Can’t believe I don’t have any Falcons gear to wear, though I do have a Falcons bobblehead I might bring to work. Decided for the Super Bowl I would wear the same outfit I wore yesterday: Black crewneck sweater, white Izod polo underneath, black adidas warm-up pants, black baseball socks, and my Air Marino football sneakers.
Before and during the Falcons game there were several nice tributes to the Georgia Dome. Only facility to host the Super Bowl, Final Four, and the Olympics. Set the record for highest attendance for an NBA game, for Jordan’s last game as a Bull. Nice Wikipedia page listing everything that’s taken place in the dome, though it leaves out the Billy Graham crusade. Jimmy Johnson pointed out it was the site of his last win as a head coach. Didn’t realize that when it was built, the Georgia Dome was one of the three largest domes in the world. Now it looks small next to Mercedes Stadium next door.
This weekend I learned the Falcons had run a contest this past fall for the winner to take a tour of the new Mercedes Stadium, but I missed it. Turned out the winner wasn’t able to take the tour due to rain. Terry Bradshaw was really talking it up, saying there would be free refills on the $2.00 Cokes.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The March: Unifying or Dividing?

I'm in favor of women's rights. I'm in favor of equal pay for equal work. People have the right to peacefully protest, even against the new President on his first full day in office. I can certainly see why people - and women in particular - would want to protest against him.
Friday during the inauguration protesters in Washington smashed windows in a local Starbucks and Bank of America, two corporations who supported Hillary's campaign. The women's march demonstratively disallowed pro-life supporters from participating - not just during Saturday's march, but also in the early planning stages. It's also come out in the media that one-world government proponent George Soros (whose stated goal is to destroy the American economy) has direct ties to several organizers of the women's march. As he did in the violent black lives matter demonstrations, Soros continues to bankroll protests to further divide our country.  
One of the organizers of the women's march has repeatedly tweeted in support of sharia law - the polar opposite of women's rights. On a side note, she says sharia law outlaws interest being charged on credit cards. Does that not make islam a system of government that encourages citizens to roll up credit card debt? And can they force credit card companies to lend credit and money without receiving a return on their investment?
Perhaps many of the participants did not realize these obvious cracks in the march's foundation. Mavbe they did. Sure, no movement or event is spotless, though the chinks in this march are not insignificant. I knew several who participated: Laura, Mary Elizabeth, Jayne, her daughter Elisabeth, Scott, Wesley, Susan, two ladies from Noelle's Johnson Ferry small group, and others. I pray that as a Christian and American I can be wise to the ways of the enemy, and not become a puppet for the wrong side.
In her speech Madonna admitted she had considered blowing up the White House. The same Madonna who moved to England several years ago. The Detroit native who now speaks with a British accent - when it's convenient for her.
Some would say I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. One world government? The march was for women's rights! To protest Trump's election! Yet here we have it: women turned away for supporting life over abortion. Plus dots connecting the march to far more serious scenarios (if there was such a thing).
Based on statements and actions Trump has made in the past, many protest out of fear and uncertainty about their future, and the future of our country. I've certainly been there before. I still have serious concerns about the state of the world we live in. But I'm not going to live in fear. God is in control. My allegiance is to Him alone - not to this country, to a political party, an action group, demographic, or even to the Braves or Falcons. I'm not going to waste my time filling social media full of half-baked / half-true propaganda that will only further divide the people I know and love. God wants me to love others unconditionally. Not just people who think the same way I do.
Our country has turned it's back on God. The United States is not God's chosen country. That title belongs to Israel, and the entire world is in the process of turning its back on them. Not a wise thing to do.
Lots of back and forth in the media this weekend. Inaccuracies and untruths are being called out - perhaps more so than during the previous administration? Trump continues to act smug, even at Saturday morning's prayer service. But in some of his early actions I do see some signs of hope. Do others see the same things, or are they turning a blind eye?
When will people realize no one person will make everyone happy? Half the population will literally hate whoever's in office at any one time. In this age of social media a small minority can be made to look like a mass insurgency. Many liberals are turned off by Mike Pence's Christian views, just as conservatives dislike Al Franken's derisive banter. Only with God's help can our country truly come together, but I'm afraid that day may be long past – for our country, not us as individuals.
My favorite tweet for Abe, the Cheeseboy: I never see anyone ever marching in these marches. Get those knees up people!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Throwback Game Two

In honor of today's conference championship game, I borrowed several photos from the Falcons official website. All are from the 49ers regular season game, the last time the Birds wore their throwback uniforms.
The throwbacks look loads better than the Falcons regular set of uniforms. Perhaps with the move to the new stadium they will update their unis.
The Falcons also wore these throwbacks earlier in the year against the Chargers, who countered with their un-traditional white jerseys and navy pants. The 49ers traditional uniforms and grey facemasks provided for a much better looking game.
Devonta Freeman charges through a big hole up the middle...
...and races into the end zone.
Obligatory Matt Ryan photo. 
Veteran backup QB Matt Schaub also got in the game.
Punter Matt Bosher. I resisted the urge to post another photo of kicker Matt Bryant. Since I haven't followed the Falcons very closely it had to be pointed out to me that the four Falcons with single digit numbers are all named Matt.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Good Habits

More from Mr. Bradberry. I try to combine lists of similar topics. I read and type and post in an effort to internalize these things my own self. These are things normal, well-adjusted people do.
Habits of considerate people: being kind and considerate softens people, and helps them see your way of thinking. It’s also good for your health.
1 Show up on time. Arriving late sends the clear message that your time is more important than everyone else’s. Even if you really think that, you don’t have to broadcast it. Show up when you say you will.
2. Be empathic. Change your behavior to accommodate the feelings of others, or provide tangible help in a tough situation.
3. Apologize when you need to – and don’t when you don’t.
4. Smile. It makes others feel better. People mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to.
5. Mind your manners. Focus on how the other person feels, not on how you feel. Puts others at ease.
6. Be emotionally intelligent. Use self-control. Just because you feel bad doesn’t mean you can’t act good.

7. Try to find a way for everyone to win. Stop thinking of every interaction as a win/lose scenario.
8. Act on your intuition when it comes to other people’s needs. If you think someone is having a bad day, ask them how they’re doing. They’ll appreciate your concern.
Habits of irresistible people, whose self-worth comes from within, not from others:
1. Focus on people more than anything else. Focus on what others are saying – not what your response will be, or how what they’re saying will affect you. When people tell you something about themselves, follow up with open-ended questions to draw them out more.
2. Be authentic. No agenda. No one likes a fake.
3. Find reasons to love life. Be positive and passionate, not bored. Approach problems as temporary obstacles, not inescapable fate. A bad day is just one day. Tomorrow will be better.
4. Ditch the small talk. Amen. Prevents a connection from forming. Small talk puts your brain on autopilot. Ask good questions.

5. Treat everyone with respect. Be polite. No matter how nice you are to the person you’re having lunch with, it’s all for naught if that person sees you acting badly toward someone else. Don’t think you are better than others.
6. Have integrity. Walk your talk. Follow through. Don’t talk bad about others. Do the right thing, even when it hurts.
7. Don’t try too hard. Don’t dominate the conversation with stories about how smart and successful you are. Don’t brag.
8. Make the effort to look your best – just not too much of an effort. Be presentable, but not vain. Don’t overthink it.
9. Recognize the difference between fact and opinion. Handle controversial topics and touchy subjects with grace and poise. Don’t shrink from sharing opinions, but make it clear they are opinions, not facts. Irresistible people recognize many people just as intelligent as they are see things differently. That’s a big problem on social media.
Habits that will dramatically improve your life. The people experiencing the greatest job satisfaction are those who approach work as a calling. Our habits make us, so cultivate habits that send you in the right direction.
1. Stay away from people who erode your quality of life. Every time you find yourself thinking about someone who makes your blood boil, practice being grateful for someone else in your life instead.
2. No more phone/tablet/computer in bed. The blue light harms sleep and productivity.    
3. Appreciate the here and now. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you need something you don’t currently have in order to be happy. If you can’t appreciate what you have now, you won’t ever be able to appreciate “the good life” should you ever get it.
4. Realize things aren’t always as you perceive them to be. That person you envy because they seem to have the perfect life might be dealing with all kinds of problems behind closed doors.    
5. Get started, even though you might fail. You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.
6. Get organized. Disorganization is a time-waster.
7. Start a collection of the things that truly resonate with you. Quotes, memes, etc. For me it’s my blog, or Instagram. Pinterest would be another good place.
8. Do something that reminds you who you are. Make time for the activities that we feel most authentically ourselves doing, when all the masks are off and we can just be. They’re completely rejuvenating. For me it’s blogging, scrapbooking, thrifting, eBaying, and baseball games.
9. Say no. The harder it is for you to say no, the more likely it is you’ll experience stress, burnout, and depression – all of which erodes self-control. Avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not sure.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments, and prevents the negative effects of over commitment.
10. Stick to realistic goals. When you fall short, instead of inspiration you feel disappointed and guilty.