Saturday, March 31, 2018

Winter 2018 Bobbleheads

As a precursor to tomorrow's list of April bobblehead giveaways, here's a recap of some of the bobbleheads given away so far this year.

So far I've only gotten the Georgia Tech basketball bobblehead (bottom), which can be yours for $25.00 shipped.

1.13 SAT UGA swim coach Jack Bauerle BH
2.03 SAT UGA Gymdogs Kim Arnold BH
2.17 SAT GT bball Iman Shumpert BH ($25 shipped)
2.17 SAT UGA bball JJ Frazier BH
2.19 MON Las Vegas Golden Knights Gila Monster mascot BH
2.24 SAT UGA women's bball Saudia Roundtree
2.24 SAT Duquesne LeBron James BH
3.02 FRI Suns Steve Nash BH (in a throwback uni)
3.08 THU Nats Daniel Murphy Tanner Roark BH
3.10 SAT DBU baseball mascot BH
3.11 SUN UGA softball Christie Hamilton BH
3.11 SUN Canton Charge Pozzie mascot BH
3.12 MON Houston Rockets Trevor Ariza BH 3000
3.13 TUE Yankees Aaron Judge BH
3.16 FRI UGA women's tennis coach Wallace BH
3.17 SAT LA Kings Tanner Pearson St Pats BH
3.20 TUE Sharks shirtless Joe Thorton BH
3.24 SAT ATL lacrosse BH
3.27 TUE Buffalo Sabres Hasek goalie BH
3.31 SAT SEA Robinson Cano BH
3.31 SAT KC Sporting Ike Bike Kick BH
3.31 SAT OAK Coliseum Snow Globe

Friday, March 30, 2018

Opening Day

Nice comeback by the Braves – in fact the biggest opening day comeback in Braves history. Interesting post-walkoff interview of Nick Markakis, who was doing his best not to be over-exited. Similar to his at bat, when in his excitement overswung at an early pitch. He told himself to relax and get his bat on the ball, and it worked. Critical error by the rookie Phillies manager, taking out his best pitcher after only 68 pitches, with a shutout going. Conversely, longtime baseball man Brian Snitker didn’t leave hard-throwing Braves reliever Stoneman in the game when he started walking people.

In his previous at bat Markakis struck out with two runners on base, and on social media the all-knowing critics came out, claiming Markakis should’ve bunted to take advantage of the shift employed by the Phillies. That by not doing so the Braves weren’t playing to win. Bunting would’ve played right into the Philly strategy, taking the bat out of one of the Braves best hitters. Had Markakis bunted in the ninth inning the Braves probably would’ve lost.

UGA RB Nick Chubb rocked a Dale Murphy jersey while encouraging the crowd to "Play Ball!"
Worked past 6:15 and made two stops on the way home. Got caught in the rain. Naturally drivers started driving even crazier. Had to swap out cars with M at Whole foods, and get his jacket out of his car – more trips in the rain. Got home and realized I still had the keys to my car, so I had to go back. More rain. Didn’t get home for good until almost ten. Watched the replay of the Braves game, and a little of the Indians/Mariners, with Ichiro making his return to Seattle. David Ross was calling that game.   
In honor of Opening Day people could wear their Braves stuff to work Thursday. I should’ve worn a jersey, since this other “old” guy is always wearing nice football jerseys on similar days. Most people wear Braves t-shirts if they have them. Instead I wore a white dress shirt and my blue Braves tie (below). Classy, huh? Later we’re having peanuts and Cracker Jack. Actually so far I’ve only seen four Braves shirts: a Chipper, Swanson, Braves, and Dale Murphy.
Tuesday Ceil cooked a roast with mushrooms and onions. She had wanted to watch The Middle, but Roseanne came on instead. Later we watched Chicago Med.

Worked past six Wednesday night. Ceil cooked chili, which I will have for lunch today and tomorrow. Watched The Voice, Modern Family, and Designated Survivor.

Thursday: finally got my email working again. I keep the emails that I want/need to keep in my sent folder. For a long time I only had 600-800 in there and would clean it out when it got over 900. But in the past year my sent folder ballooned to over 1400. Then yesterday I somehow deleted all 1400 emails, which went into my deleted items folder with the 200 emails I had received and deleted on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I spent a good portion of Wednesday deleting emails from several folders, getting rid of well over 100 MB of emails. But still I could receive emails but not send. This morning nothing had changed. The Help Desk had showed me where to look, and I noticed a large amount in a “sent deleted” folder. Knowing my deleted folder was empty, I finally got rid of the sent deleted items – a duplicate of the 1600 emails I had previously deleted. Now my system is all cleaned out, so I should be good for a few months.

Holeman & Finch - I never knew it was there near Peachtree Creek. I’ll have to look for it during this year’s Peachtree Road Race. Usually at that point I’m on the other side of the street at the water station.

Good Friday: I have to work. I checked looking for an evening Good Friday service but couldn’t find one. I think Passion Church has a big service at the amphitheater in Alpharetta. There might be a trucking company not working. That’s what someone thought when the trucking company didn’t answer their phone. But that guy NEVER answers his phone. I have better luck texting him.

A scattered Easter for us. Will, MC, Anna, and Matthew all have to work. Ceil is in SC. I’ll go to Macon. Ceil’s school is off next week so she is waiting until Monday to come home. Mary-Clayton scored practice round tickets for Monday afternoon, so she and Ceil are going. It will be Ceil’s first trip to the Masters.

Ephesians 4:14 is especially relevant in these days of fake news: “So we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

Thursday, March 29, 2018

NFL's Top Ten In-Season Trades

The top ten in-season trades, as told by the NFL Network. As I’ve said before, even a blind pig roots up a nut every now and then. Whereas many lists are contrived to generate controversy and viewership, they did a decent job this time. Of course, there was an obvious number one.

13. Jets trade Belichick to the Pats for a draft pick.

12. Pats trade Bill Parcells to the Jets for draft picks.

11. Owner Robert Irsay traded his Rams to Carroll Rosenblum for the Colts. Not sure if these trades 11, 12, and 13 happened during the season.

10. Pats trade holdout WR Deion Branch to Seahawks

9. Browns trade RB Trent Richardson to Colts, where he blossoms.

8. Bengals trade Carson Palmer to Raiders. Cincy thought he was washed up. He wasn’t.

7. Bobby Layne leads Lions to three NFL championships, then Detroit trades him to the Steelers. On his way out of town Layne puts a curse on the team, saying they won’t win a playoff game for 50 years. They don’t, and in year 50 the Lions go 0-16.

6. During that 0-16 season the Lions trade record-breaking WR Roy Williams to Dallas, where he is paired with WR Terrell Owens. It doesn’t work out. But the Lions use the draft pick to start their rebuild.

5. Rams trade 35 year old QB John Hadl to the Packers for five draft picks. Hadl flops.

4. Bills trade thousand yard rusher Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks to make room for two talented backs. A good deal for Seattle.

3. Pats trade holdout DB Mike Haynes to the Raiders, vaulting LA to a Super Bowl win over Washington. Haynes goes on to make the hall of fame.

2. Eric Dickerson wanted a raise, so the Rams traded him to the Colts. A good deal for Indy.

1. Dallas trades Herschel Walker (& four high round draft picks) to the Vikings for 5 players and 8 low round draft picks: three #1 picks, three #2 picks, and two #3 picks. The Cowboys parlayed the picks into Pro Bowlers Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Russell Maryland, and Darren Woodson – and several Super Bowl wins. It was the largest trade in NFL history. In his first two plays for the Vikings Herschel runs back a kickoff 53 yards, then breaks off another 50 yard run from scrimmage, losing his shoe in the process. That Herschel was nothing after the trade is hogwash. Head coach Jerry Burns had not wanted Walker, who was never allowed to mesh into the Vikings’ system. Herschel went on to play for the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys, retiring with the second-most combined yards in NFL history. After this trade teams started hoarding draft picks and acquiring players via free agency instead of trading them.

Observation: many photos of Herschel with the Vikings show him not wearing gloves, though photos of Walker with the Cowboys show him with gloves.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Braves vs. Braves

Tuesday afternoon the Braves tickets were available, so I snapped them up. The Future Stars game. Get it?
Checked with the guys in the office as well as Matthew and Ceil, but no one was available. Since I'd stayed out so late the night before I thought I'd go for a few innings. At the time it was just as cold as Monday, so I didn't want to subject you to those bitter elements.

Left work at five. Traffic was normal, heavy but not horrendous. With my parking pass I got a great spot. On my drive in I'd checked and couldn't see a good clockwise route to the Club House Gate, so I headed off toward the Left Field Gate. 
By the time I snapped another memorial brick photo, ushers were just opening the First Base Gate, so I was the first one inside. Didn't see my usher friend from Douglasville, but ran into my favorite Stinky Kroger bagboy.

The left field bleachers were at the opposite side of the stadium so continued by counterclockwise circumnavigation that way. There were just a smattering of fans there hoping for home run balls, but the Future Stars poked few that far. Rookie Ronald Acuna, still wearing number 82, did hit a few high, long fly balls into the stands, but none near me. The same usher from Monday came over, and we continued our chat. Last year was her first with the Braves, so she's not in the know about all the prospects.
After BP I continued counterclockwise, grabbing my Designated Drive Coke Zero and another Chop On doo-rag, meandering halfway around the stadium again to the main Club House Store. I'd seen that Bobblehead Queen Katie was at the game, and I ran into her coming out of the store. I invited her and her "Baseball Mom" to sit with me when they finished shopping.

With $40.00 to spend, it doesn't go a long way at a MLB stadium. With a collection of 14 Braves caps I still wasn't feeling spending on a Stripers cap. Maybe next year. Nice Under Armor dri-fit t-shirts were $38.00, but I already have three cotton tees already. Instead I checked out the long sleeve pullovers, settling on a grey Antigua Tempo golf pullover. I usually don't buy myself such nice garments. Now I have to get in shape so I'll look good in it.
Got to my seat and a man was sitting there with his son. I told him he didn't need to move, but he did anyway. Turned out the man was singing the national anthem. Katie and her mom joined me. The ladies had found the deal of the day: a Braves baseball, button, and pack of baseball cards all for one dollar. Later we greeted Blooper.
The Future Stars were warming up. 
As I snapped photos of Acuna, he let a high throw bounce into the stands near me. Luckily no one was hurt. 
After we chatted, lawyer/writer Howard, a hot stove regular,
took his usual seat in the front row (below in royal vest).
I was rockin my new Braves socks.
When the game began bobblehead czar Kevin came to sit with us, and we had a good time catching up. He has been in town "for business" and attended last night's game, as well as the Tuesday afternoon Dale Murphy signing. Says he trades bobbles and autographs to make money for his Mississippi State memorabilia habit. I was already planning to prank him this summer with reports of bogus Will Clark bobbles. Kevin face-timed his young family back in Birmingham. One of his kids is named Nola. Evidently Kevin doesn't smile for pictures.
Acuna was called out on strikes, and I implored Future Stars manager Bobby Cox to argue the call. Bobby was wearing his signature baseball spikes. Gotta love it.
The youngsters played like minor leaguers in the field, bobbling and booting balls. Both teams scored on wild pitches. Later Acuna lined a single to left, but he looked far from polished while chasing down a double in the gap. I'm sure he will be great, hopefully worthy of my purchase of his jersey. Danny Santana was wearing number 23 for the big Braves (but later he was optioned to the minors), so right now only 9, 13, 23, and 48 are available for Acuna, though two or three outfielders and/or pitchers will be cut or sent to the minors.
Centerfielder Cristian Pache hit two home runs over the short left field fence into the visitor's bullpen. Kevin knew they were Pache's first two professional home runs, in 752 career plate appearances.  

After Acuna's third at bat the four of us left our seats. Kevin said hello to the father of big third base prospect Austin Riley. I went for the ball/button/card deal, then left as the Home Depot Tool Race commenced. Stopped by RaceTrac and Taco Bell, arriving home at ten. Two games down, 81 to go.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Yankee Invasion

Left work Monday just after five and headed west. Traffic wasn't bad, about normal. Parked across the street from the stadium and made it to the rightfield gate around 5:25. Not sure when the gates were opening but I was able to walk around the park past three more closed gates (with lines of fans waiting to get inside) and enter the open Chop House Gate.
When I entered the metal detector went off - I'd left a penny in my pocket. Once inside I ran right into Blooper, and he gladly obliged my request for a picture.
The Yankees were taking BP so I stopped by the crowded left field bleachers to watch. I'd missed the sluggers, so few balls came into the stands. The wind blew the protective netting over.
Chatting with an usher, I learned some bad news: over the winter elderly usher Dianne Burge had passed away. So popular that she'd been the subject of a Braves video. Dianne will be missed.
I arrived at our dugout level seats not long after Blake, Chris, and Zack. Fortunately the ushers were chasing away all the Yankee fans unsuccessfully trying to get autographs (below). 
I'd made sure to wear my Braves home cap and scarf so there would be no confusion who I was rooting for. This didn't help when Yankee first baseman Neil Walker looked into the crowd for someone to toss a ball to. He looked right past me and threw the ball to a Yankee fan. This security guard took his job seriously - he was stretching before the game (below).
As the players threw and stretched rookie sensation Aaron Judge loped out to warm up. The first thing he did when he arrived in centerfield was to take a knee, bow, and pray - Tebowing, if you will. I fumbled with my gloves to take a picture, but he had already stood back up (below). Eventually I pocketed my mittens so I could take pictures, more than usual due to our great seats in row eight.
On his way back to the dugout Judge stopped to sign autographs.
A mob quickly gathered, so for fun I got closer to snap some pictures.
Everything the Yankees did drew a crowd. Several snapped pictures as catcher Gary Sanchez warmed up in the outfield.
I'd missed the relievers taking their stroll out to the bullpen (due to the 47 degree weather they probably took the tunnel). I did catch the starting pitcher, catcher Sanchez, the picturing coach, and three security guards (?) return from the bullpen before the game.
Judge is just a big kid. So fun to watch. In the bottom of the first Stanton hustled out to his position in the outfield. Behind him Judge sprinted to catch up, ran with Stanton for a bit, then veered off toward right field, only to veer off again to shake hands with the second base umpire. After that I took a few videos of Judge running in and out, but aside front chattering on the dugout steps, he kept it straight. Video to follow.
Just-signed Ryan Flaherty started at third base for the Braves, wearing number 27. I had predicted rookie Ronald Acuna would wear that number. Now its down to 23, 9, or 13. I forgot to ask Braves Clubhouse Store employees, who might have the info. Flaherty is Nick Markakis' brother in law.
In his second at bat 2017 NL MVP Stanton smashed at long home run onto the Hank Aaron terrace. From my vantage point it appeared to clear the Ballpark Classics concession stand behind the left field bleachers - meaning it was hit out of the stadium. Longest SunTrust Park home run by a righthanded hitter. Stanton now has five homers in 46 plate appearances at SunTrust Park.
After Judge and Stanton batted for a third time (Judge doubled, Stanton struck out) we took Zack out to see the memorial garden, and warmed up in the Braves Clubhouse Store. Zach had already spent his money on beer, but Blake and Chris bought Braves caps. I wasn't ready to buy a Stripers cap, so I bought some cool Braves socks. Wearing them today.
Chris, Blake, and Zack then left through the Left Field Gate. My exit was on the other side of the stadium, so on my way around I signed up to be a designated driver (to get the Coke) as well as the Chevrolet "Chop On" headband/scarf/headwarmer. Remarkably, I didn't see one person I knew besides my coworkers. The Coach was there, but I missed them. Forgot to visit my other usher friend at the First Base Gate.
Memorial brick of the day: the mustachioed Danny Frisella. On the way home I cashed in a BOGO coupon at Hardees for a delicious third pound thickburger. Saved one for Tuesday lunch.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Skipping Class

At work we have a monthly sales meeting. It's very informative and entertaining, a fun hour. Well organized, plus music. Anyone can add a joke if they dare. Plus we eat lunch, and what's not to like about that? As sergeant at arms I get to help pick out the menu every month (at least Renee lets me think I do). Every other month we have a barbecue, which I love.

This past Friday the sales meeting was scheduled, and barbecue was on the menu. At the same time another department planned a farewell luncheon for my long-time boss, the Ogre. I hated missing that, but I knew it probably wasn't kosher to blow off my department sales meeting - but I did anyway.

As usual I handled it poorly. I wanted to keep it low-key, so when it was time to leave for lunch I just slipped away from my desk without telling anyone. In hindsight I should've told my boss what I was doing, as that would have been the courteous thing for an employee to do. I had figured (incorrectly) that I wouldn't be missed.

The retirement lunch was at the Norcross Station Café, always a great place to eat. There were twelve of us, including the guest of honor (Beard, Amanda, Andrea, Anu, Ronnie, young Eric, Arrowhead, the Knitter, me, Frisbee, Keister, and the Ogre). I sat in the middle of the table so I was able to keep tabs on most all the conversations. A good time was had by all. I rarely hang with several attendees, so it was good to be there.

We arrived back at the office shortly after 12:30. I knew the sales meeting still had a good thirty minutes to go, so I went downstairs and snuck in the back, trying to keep it low-key. Fat chance. Several people saw me and didn't make a big deal about it. But not Angie. Her head was on a swivel, looking to the front and then back to me. She made sure everyone around her saw me in the back.

I admit it did look strange for me to stand back there, partially hidden by a partition. Later I said my plan is to always act a little strange - that way when I finally go off the deep end, people can say "you know, he was acting a little strange lately." At the 2:30 cake cutting I got to act strange again (in front of the regional VP), ad-libbing my speech in an effort to shorten it and cut out details others had shared, in-advertently leaving out a funny line. Afterward Beard hilariously quipped "anyone want to follow that?"

After work as I walked out to the parking lot (carrying a big pan of barbecue sauce) I was able to have a good laugh with two coworkers who'd seen me sneaking around. In all a fun day, with lots of laughter.

At the retirement lunch the Ogre mentioned he'd heard I had a blog. Not exactly what I wanted for half the coworkers at the lunch to discuss. It appears word of my blog is getting around the office. Of course I brought it upon myself, posting Sherry and Born's retirement speeches for all to read. Not much of a big deal. I don't write about work that much. As I've said before my blog is a place I can post things I've been thinking about. Typing them up gives me a chance to think about how I feel about the topic, be it sports, family, politics, current events, or God. I can make a list of my favorite cars or movies and post that. Things I like to go back and re-read.

The weekend: after a slow week my customer got cranking on Friday and Saturday. I had to enter an order Saturday night that miraculously got delivered this morning.

Left work Friday shortly before six. Watched some of Clemson/Kansas. The Tigers kept throwing the ball away, but managed to keep the score respectable in the end. Ceil cooked black beans and rice.

Worked around the house most of Saturday. Four loads of laundry, and it barely made a dent. Straightened up thinking W&MC might come over. Will had driven MC over for her sister's bridal shower, then spent the time studying at a coffee shop in Roswell. They needed to hurry back to Augusta, so I didn't get to see them. I also got a haircut and checked out three books from the library.
Met three couples at "Fresh to Order" a restaurant across from the Pine Straw Plaza Trader Joes. I ordered a "small plate" – three chicken tenders and garlic mashed potatoes (I forgot to substitute the side item. Good chicken, and several of the other dishes looked good too. After dinner they went to see the movie "Paul: Disciple of Christ" but I went home and watched basketball. Also the Brooke Shields movie "Hot Flashes" about an older women's basketball team. Also starred Eric Roberts, Catherine Manheim, and Daryl Hannah. 

Saturday night after work M's old band "Swim Moms' played a reunion concert for one of his band member's brother's birthday party.

Sunday AM: we had 37 in SS. The class is really growing. I counted nine members who were missing, including two in route to Taiwan on a mission trip. For the first half of the long contemporary service people were drifting in, many with Starbucks-like coffee drinks from the coffee shop located just outside the gym entrance . A young associate pastor preached the first half of his sermon, then the praise team sang a song. Then the associate pastor came back to finish his sermon. For the second half of the service people were drifting out. After the sermon the praise team sang three long songs. When the service finally ended the worship leader exclaimed "If you weren't moved by this service, come talk to us." I think he MEANT to say "come let US talk to YOU." If I went to talk to him like he asked, I don't think he'd listen much.

If I'm not early I have a hard time being able to worship. Takes me a while to get settled and set in my surroundings. I've heard both Andy Stanley and Bryant Wright specifically ask that people stay in their seats until the service is over.

Saturday night at dinner I had been discussing this same topic with my friend Lee. Like me, he had been distracted during last week's service by the family enjoying their dome-lidded frappuccinos during the service. I guess some people can worship like that, but I can't.

Lunch was chicken, rice, and salad. Took a nap. Watched some basketball. Duke was leading late – until I flipped over to the game. Exciting ending.

Headed over to SunTrust Park after work for Braves/Yankees. Temps will be 47-48 degrees. Gonna bundle up and wear gloves.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday in the City

Another spring break picture from New York City.
This weekend was Anna's spring formal.
Didn't know they got sick.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Captain My Captain

When I first started at Tull Metals back in 1987, Bill Baldwin was the mean old scheduling manager. He wasn’t THAT old, but he was older than me. As a fledgling inside sales person, whenever a customer needed an order quicker than normal, we had to go over and petition Bill to cut it quicker. Bill would shuffle his papers and circle the date – usually crossing it out and writing in a later date, open his desk drawer, pull out an orange HOT card and staple it to the order. You see, back then all the orders were printed on multi-part forms that traveled through the plant. But I digress.

One day I got a hot order from a customer in Tennessee. I went through the routine, Bill got it cut, and the next morning it delivered up to Tennessee. Pretty good. Then the customer called thanking me for the shipment, but also asking where the hot part was. It was at that part I realized I had expedited the wrong order. So I went over to Bill and said: “You’re not going to believe this, but I have ANOTHER hot order.”

Not sure what that story has to do with Bill, but I always remembered it.

Many of you may not know it, but there’s a whole bunch that goes on here in Norcross (and around the Southeast) that Bill has been involved in. He worked out in the plant doing Lord knows what. Then when he worked on the inside sales desk we had these things called Tull Culls. Ryerson Outs. Slow moving material. Sell it and the salesperson got a little commission. Guess I shouldn’t bring it up. Not sure what the rules were about cutting Tull Culls, but Bill would get an order, enter it, and at 5 o’clock he’d put on his boots and go out into the plant, pull the material, and cut it.

Guess where Bill is from – Buffalo. Why we never called him Buffalo Bill is beyond me. Bill likes his puns. Now as you know me, my humor is much more cultured and subtle. Or maybe not. Still, I would always try to appease Bill. He’d hand papers back with stickers – smiley faces, frowny faces, and the ever popular monkey stickers. Kinda like emojis today. I told you Bill was a man before his time.

Believe it or not, I used to be a little on the goofy side. Yes, it’s true. Bill picked up on this, and somewhere along the way Bill gave me a nickname. Gilligan. Not exactly sure why. But if I was Gilligan, that made his nickname obvious: The Skipper.  

Those orange HOT cards weren’t the only things on Bill’s desk. As a kid back in the 60’s places like drugstores sold these pictures of monkeys dressed up like people, in shirts and ties or dresses, with hilarious captions. Bill had one at his desk. The cation was perfect for a scheduling manager: “You want it WHEN?”  Kind of like the memes of today. Bill always was a man before his time.

Bill would accumulate the most interesting trinkets. By the time he hit 35 years with the company he had an entire curio shelf devoted to them. Not that I can talk – I collect bobbleheads. In the past few months as he’s neared retirement Bill has been bequeathing these treasures to some of his favorite coworkers. He swears that I gave him this Happy Meal toy. You’ll be happy to know Bill gave me his beloved 50 year old joke book. I would’ve brought it today and held it up, but I can’t remember what I did with it. But when I find it we’ll all be set for hours of hilarious entertainment. Bill, I’ll always treasure my Oscar Mayer wiener whistle. There’s no underlying meaning for this, is there?

After scheduling, Bill worked in Purchasing getting coils processed at outside vendors. We all do a lot more of that these days. Later he returned to the processing building as the inside Sales Manager, where he shepherded Debbie, Dennis, Sandra, and others. Bill invented the Mapinator, the complex spreadsheet some of us use to forecast how much material should be bought. While we’re eating cake I’ll tell you how he came up with the Mapinator name.

Bill was a famous chef. He came up with a scheam to increase sales: Grilling for Billing. I told you he like puns. But Bill went much further than burgers and dogs. Brats. Peppers. Onions. Gosh knows what else. Talking about food (a) gets me hungry and (b) remind me of a famous Bill Baldwin line. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas over at the processing center Sandra and Frances and Sandra and the other ladies would organize a huge covered dish luncheon for the office. Every year it got bigger, with more and more food. Someone got the idea to bring in breakfast items. Bill shook his head and muttered “This is turning into an all-day eat!”

It was during this time I was working in the fabrication department over on North Berkeley. I entered orders for Bill to cut coil. From my vantage point Bill was taking care of his people’s orders before those from other departments (like mine). It wasn’t really true, but people like me who are crazy in the head sometimes have a warped sense of reality. I know that because Bill Baldwin told me. It was at that time that gave Bill a secret nickname, one he never knew about because I never told nobody. The Ogre. Over the years it would come to be an affectionate term.

Then there’s the famous carwash story. One day Bill traveled to Alabama to visit a customer with RMP quality manager Ray Aiello. I’m not sure of all the details so hopefully we can get Bill to tell the story after I finish the rest of my speech. Something happened to the car and it got super dirty. I think it involved a cow or a goose. But the car was too dirty to show up at the customer, so they went off in search of a carwash. They pulled in and the machine started washing – then shut off. Bill and Ray were stuck inside. Not sure what happened, but trust me, it was a really funny story.

Eventually departments were consolidated into the main building. My longtime boss moved to Florida. My next boss was fired (though no fault of mine). I think. My next boss left the company. I had like five bosses in five years. Through attrition, at one point I reported to Kevin Richardson. I’D MADE IT ALMOST TO THE TOP! Next thing I knew, I was reporting to Bill Baldwin. Is that like going from the penthouse to the outhouse?

Bill was always loyal his employees. He looked out for them. Not just with the monkey stickers. I can honestly say that he looked out for me, in many ways. I’ll always remember that, Bill. But enough serious stuff.

You know how these days how clowns are creepy? It wasn’t always that way. You guessed it – one more thing to give Bill credit for. There’s a photograph floating around the universe of Bill in a full head to toe clown outfit. Creep city.

In his old age Bill has been developing super complicated costing and pricing spreadsheets, with downloads and V-lookups and dozens of tabs all linked together. If you want to see one you can come to our EZGo pricing meeting next week. I guess it wouldn’t be funny to make a joke here about these spreadsheets funneling funds to secret Bill Baldwin beach house account, kinda like a high-tech Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption. After this meeting Bill is going to go back and tunnel out of his office and head to the beach and we’re never gonna him again.

I could go on and on with more Bill Baldwin stories, but I know I’ve already gone on way too long. Bill Baldwin, you are indeed a Ryerson legend. You’ve made a tremendous contribution to the company, and to all of us, your coworkers – more than most of us will ever know. Good job. Great job. Bill, you will be missed. Farewell, Skipper!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Where Do We Come From?

Finished up the Dan Brown book “Origin.” Interesting ending as well as an engaging, unsuspecting key supporting character, but the storyline is a carbon copy of every other Dan Brown novel: professor Robert Langdon finds himself in a chase against time to solve a puzzle, accompanied by a beautiful European stranger. The puzzle is always scientific in nature, the solution supposedly dealing a death blow to Christianity. Interesting hypothesis arrived at by a model run on a computer that doesn’t exist. Brown says much of his claims are true, when in fact they’re really only unproven theories requiring faith (in science) to believe. While we know who pulled the trigger to murder the supposed heroic young scientist, the surprise is who arranged the crime, and why. 

No, the book does not shake my faith. But it's one more example of the brainwashing that's going on in today's society.

Wednesday: left work at 5:40 and headed to my focus group. 285 traffic not crowded except merging onto 400, which made my exit at the king and queen building slow. Arrived early and deleted emails. The actual group didn’t last long – I was paid $40.00 to eat four slices of apples. Grabbed Taco Bell on the way home since I’d missed eating with C and A up at the Avalon. Anna was home getting her eyes checked.

Tried to get my hair cut but my barber wasn’t working. Maybe tonight. Got home and watched Family Feud, The Middle, and Designated Survivor. Played on my laptop.

Thursday: slept 45 minutes late, so I arrived “late” – but still before 8 am. Customer still recovering from storm but I have plenty to do. Good to get ahead. No leftovers to bring for lunch but there should be leftovers from two different lunch meetings: pizza or sandwiches.

I got to get back on my exercise plan next week.

Left work at six and drove to JFBC for a meeting. Three guys spoke about their program. Pretty good. Went home and saw the end of the Loyola game and some of K-State/Kentucky. Also Designated Survivor.

My old boss is retiring – the Ogre. I’ve worked with him all 31 years. Skipped the sales meeting (BBQ) to attend the retirement lunch at the Norcross Station Café (salad with chicken). I wrote up a speech and delivered it at the ceremony. Accidentally left out one of the funniest parts.

Saturday night three or four couples are meeting for dinner, then watching the new movie on the Apostle Paul.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

NFL Uniform Rankings

A legit blogger in Chicago recently ranked the NFL uniforms, and did a good job (that is, I agreed with most of his choices).
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I wouldn’t call them awful
31. Browns: the worst in my book, but there are rumors of a change
30. Jaguars (at least they’re changing)
29. Rams (they’re working to change)

BAD (4)
28. Titans are changing next month. Nice colors.
27. Cardinals. Great helmet / bad unis.
26. Bengals. Nice helmet.
25. Panthers. Nice square numbers. Not terrible except for the teal socks.

24. Falcons are bad if not awful. Not so bad when they win. Great throwbacks.
23. Patriots: same deal – win and they’re ok.
22. Ravens are ok as long as they don’t go all black
21. Broncos. Due for a change.
20. Chargers – I rank them as bad. Too plain. Navy pants?
19. Dolphins: rumors of a change? Hope so. I say they’re bad.
18. Texans. Average.

GOOD (8)
17. Cowboys: used to be great
16. Saints are just close in my book: no all black, please
15. Redskins are almost great.
14. Eagles aren’t good. Maybe close. Actually bad.
13. Colts are great.
12. Jets aren’t good, but close.
11. Chiefs are near the top in my book
10. Packers are just good. I hate the collar.

9. Giants – indeed.
8. Vikings – what? They are close at best, almost bad.
7. Lions may just be good, but they’re better than they used to be.
6. Seattle may just be near the top of the good pile.

5. Raiders. Even their color rush is good.
4. Steelers. Nice alts as well.
3. 49ers. I would just call great. But black alternates?
2. Bears. Good throwbacks to boot.
1. Bills. I would just call great.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Brannock Device

A graphic print Anna created was chosen to be displayed at a showing at Ponce City Market (below).   

Barely keeping up with my calendar scrapbook but I have all year for that. Same with computer calendar – seems like I’m doing good to update once a week. Also haven’t been updating my list of thrift store finds, though I haven’t been making as many purchases or even stopping off too look, since I’ve been working late and also because of the cold. Also I used to log my MPG whenever I bought gas or serviced the car, nor have I been logging purchases, much less organizing them by category.

I was just making a list of my favorite cars. That reminds me of a few other things I track, that I’m behind on updating: my list of games I’ve attended and my bobblehead list. It appears we need to go ahead and get a new roof on the house. That’s gonna hurt the old pocketbook big time.

Been doing good to get the bills paid. I have been posting to my blog though I’m really not spending tons of time on that. Not sure what’s happened. I have been working on the master list of this summer’s bobblehead giveaways at all the MLB parks (and many of the minor league stadiums). I’ve already got a lot. I’ll publish the list on the first of every month starting in April. Most interesting event happens in Syracuse, where the Chiefs honor the Brannock Device. Know what that is? Bet they had them at Muses!
The Brannock Device is a measuring instrument invented by Charles F. Brannock for measuring a person's shoe size. The son of a shoe industry entrepreneur, Brannock ...
Survive the storm? It was close to six when the cleaning lady said the storms were a’coming. Drove straight home. Ceil made fixings for a taco salad. Cleaned up some and watched The Voice while playing on my laptop.

Weather reports came on with increasing frequency, and took over at 110 pm. I went out and cleaned out the garage so I could pull my car inside. Matthew arrived home from work about 10:30 and pulled next to the garage doors. Then storm was set to hit us at 11 pm. At 10:45 M’s friend Frank walked in. He didn’t know about the storm, but had seen lightning in the sky.

I stayed up watching the weather until almost midnight. Looked like the worst of the storm went south of us. Matthew and Frank were cooking in the kitchen. Whenever the oven is on Barney is concerned the smoke detector will sound, a noise he hates. He was hanging near me. When I went to bed at almost midnight Barney stayed downstairs, perhaps hoping for a scrap of food. When he came upstairs he laid down next to my side of the bed where there’s more room. Once when I got up to go into the bathroom he went with me, something he never does.

Got a late start Tuesday, made later by Matthew and Frank’s car blocking my path. No trouble getting to work.

Unfortunately a tornado did damage my customer’s warehouse last night in Augusta, causing roof damage and a gas leak. They’re not working today and possibly tomorrow. No injuries, but one of our employees’ car turned over. W&MC heard the storm in Augusta, but suffered no damage. My customer is over ten miles away on the other side of town.  

Ceil had a rough Tuesday so we went out to eat at Pappasitos. Crowded and loud but delicious melt in your mouth chicken fajitas. Quick service as well. When the waiter said the special was fish, I replied that I was allergic to fish. I shouldn’t have. They made a huge fuss. The manager stopped by the table to ask questions. And it was so loud it was hard to hear.

The only problem with Pappasitos is that the parking lot is always jammed. Most of the cars want to turn left to get to the interstate. One car cut me off. Coworker Chris reminded me of the secret: take the back exit.

Stopped by Whole Foods on the way home. Watched Modern Family. The new little boy on there is a breath of fresh air, and steals the show. Then another excellent episode of Chicago Med. No Christian-bashing this week.

On the way to work this morning a pickup truck zoomed past a stopped school bus with its lights flashing. Big no no. Later the same truck roared past me, changing lanes where it barely had room. Of course I kept catching up to the truck at every stop light.

When human resources sent out an email ending with “carpe diem” I wanted to respond “sic semper tyrannis!” Maybe not a good idea.

Big news for me – bad news for you. I was set to go to next Tuesday’s Braves game, an intersquad game against Braves minor leaguers (including presumably Acuna). Was going with three guys from work. But this morning we were instead offered to swap tickets for Monday’s game against the Yankees, so we jumped at it. I’ll give you a full update.