Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Firsts

Is there anything more ridiculous than paying me to "work" today? I understand not declaring today a holiday because they'd have to pay all of the essential workers holiday rates, but this is ridiculous. Alas, I offer you a 1,500+ word blog entry. Enjoy.

What a great Christmas we had! This is not going to be a Jack-centric entry, but I will say that he was better (attitude and behavior) than I could have ever wished. He didn’t cry or have a meltdown in the midst of any of the insanity and chaos at my granddad’s house, my parent’s house, Bull & Toots’ house, or at our house yesterday. His Christmas present to us, other than his sweet little smile and laugh, was that he slept from 7:30 last night until 6:00 this morning. Ahhh, a silent night indeed.

There were several firsts this year. It was, of course, Jack’s first Christmas. Although it looked like Toys-R-Us exploded at our house, he didn’t seem to get too overwhelmed by it all. I was also the first (only) time in 35 years that I didn’t go any where on Christmas Day. I mean, I took two bags of trash out to the garbage can, and that was the only time that I walked out of the house all day.

My granddad’s Christmas lunch, our traditional 12/25 visit, was held on Saturday the 23rd this year. He wanted his family (his grandchildren and great-grandchildren mostly), instead of showing up late and leaving early because they have a dozen different places to go for Christmas, to come early, visit with each other, and enjoy the meal for a change. That was nice of my Paw-paw. He’s a nice man. I appreciated his kindness, but in retrospect, I missed seeing him on Christmas Day.

After Paw-paw’s, we went to my mom and dad’s house to exchange our presents. I visited their house with Jack a few weeks ago, a visit that was marred by 5 hours of almost nonstop crying. He cried as soon as the singing reindeer on the front door started singing “Jingle Bells” and he didn’t stop until he took a nap. He cried the entire time unless I was holding him. It took me 3 hours to hang a ceiling fan that day – that's normally a 30-minute job tops.

So, I was a little worried when we walked in to their house Saturday evening and Jack, immediately upon seeing the singing reindeer on the front door, let out an ear-piercing scream. I thought we were in for a long night. Alas, after that moment, he was fine. My cousin and his wife brought their 4-year-old daughter (Lauren) and their 2-½ year old (Mary Kate) over to my parents’ house and Jack and Mary Kate played together all evening. Then, as we were giving him a bath in front of an audience that included my 5-year-old niece and Mary Kate, he stood up in the tub and peed. It was if he was saying to them, "Let's see you do that! Didn't think so!"

He’s a good boy.

On our way home Saturday evening, Leah and I took my great aunt back to her assisted living apartment. WOW, that lady needs a blog of her own. She went 23 years without seeing her husband. It’s a true story, but I’ll have to save it for another day.

Sunday, Leah and I got up and decided we’d go to church if we could get Leah’s mom and/or dad to keep Jack for us. Not taking Jack to church was going to be our present to the nursery workers. Leah’s dad told her that he and Leah’s mom, who was still asleep, were planning on going to church too. Leah talked to him for a few more minutes and then hung up the phone. We started debating whether we should go to church and take Jack, or if we should just watch Mountain Top on TV. We were kind of at a standstill when the phone rang. We looked at each other knowing good and well who was calling. Leah’s mom doesn’t miss a chance to keep Jack. It was actually her dad, but her mom had awaked and the two of them had been arguing over who would stay with Jack. It sounded like her mom was winning. We didn’t know who was going to keep him, but one of them would, so we got ready for church.

At 9:45, Leah’s mom and dad came by. Leah’s mom had her Bible in her hands, and her dad was wearing his Crocs. He won! He was staying with Jack. Before I could compute that in my head, Leah’s mom gave me the answer to the question when she said, “I was going to stay with him, but your dad made me feel guilty when he said that he never gets to keep him because I always keep him.” Wow. He won on a guilt trip. He won on a guilt trip? I haven’t the words to express my amazement, or bewilderment. A guilt trip?

The service was brief. It started and 10:00 and we were out by 11:00. The preacher even made the remark that he’s never been to a bad SHORT Christmas service. He’d been to some bad LONG services, but never a bad short one. For those family members that we all have and we all hope they don’t come to Christmas dinner, he prayed that they get the flu. Yes he did. “Or a flat tire or something, Lord.” Then he said, “Don’t look at me like that. You’ve all got one of those family members. I got ‘em too.” It was funny stuff.

Fast forward, Bull and Toots’ was good. Two bottles of wine were consumed, not that Leah’s uncle really needs prodding to get in to one of his rare moods. It was a fun time, except that EVERYONE brought CRAP for Dirty Santa. I mean ABSOLUTE CRAP. I ended up with wind chimes and Leah got a CD of Christmas melodies. People have just started using Dirty Santa as an excuse to clean out their closets. Look, if the gift limit is $10, don’t bring CRAP that you paid $39.99 for and think that you’re doing something special. You’re supposed to donate that kind of stuff to charity.

Okay, Christmas Day. Jack slept until 5:00 and I went upstairs and rocked him for about another hour. He napped off and on before he awoke for good. We went downstairs at 6:00 and I put him in bed with Leah. He likes to “woller” around in the comforter. I went out and got the camera, and then Leah opened our bedroom door and let him out. He started to go back up the stairs, but then Leah guided him to where he could see his new play table. He ran over to the table, pulled out one of the drawers, took out the toys that were in the drawer, and then started crawling in to the drawer. That’s about right. He seemed to enjoy it though, so it was all good.

Leah’s parents came over for breakfast and to exchange presents, and then my parents came over for lunch. While this situation, the blending of the families makes me so nervous that I start washing clean plates and putting them in the dishwasher, I always like the interaction between my parents and Leah’s parents, especially between the dads. People say the same things about them both, “He’s a good man”, but they are really two different creatures. Leah’s dad is quiet, and somewhat stoic. I still have trouble with it some times because I’m not sure if he’s ignoring you because he’s mad or because he’s just being quiet. On the other hand, ever since my mom took away his Nintendo Gameboy, silence is my dad’s archenemy. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, but there better be words flying around. Big, loud words are better and, apparently, scare the giblets out of silence. They’re like Jay and Silent Bob when they get together. It is really a sight to behold.

A few other family members filtered in and out throughout the afternoon, but everyone had pretty much come and gone by 5:30. And that was our Christmas weekend. Leah had almost all of the interior decorations down and ready to go back in the attic before 9:00 last night. And Christmas was over.

Or was it?

When I got to work this morning, the red light on my phone was illuminated. I immediately cussed all of mankind for leaving me a message over my Christmas holiday and ignored the light as I went to get a cup of coffee and put my salad in the refrigerator. Once I returned, I had to find out who called with some “major crisis” that had to be resolved RIGHT NOW.

The caller was one Dwight K. Schrute from Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton office telling me that they received my resume and thought that I was qualified to sale paper, unless I was in wheelchair or was a guy (they were looking for another girl).

Y’all know there ain’t no party like a Scranton party.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Slow news week...

Instead of writing a big 2,000 word humor-filled column defending my sexual orientation, I have decided to come out of the closet and just admit that yes, I am a lesbian.

On that same topic, does anyone know if there is photographic or video evidence of Miss USA Tara Conner and Miss Teen USA Katie Blair actually engaged in amorous activities with each other? I refuse to believe that those two girls partook of each other’s fruit unless I see it with my own two eyes.

I’d like to write something of substance today, but there’s not really anything substantive happening. It has been a slow week. I’m not even getting junk emails this week. I guess it’s nice that spammers get some time off during the holidays. I was about to break down and take a vacation day tomorrow, but it was announced yesterday (Wednesday) that our office would be closing at 1:00 PM on Friday. I can’t take a whole day of vacation when I know they’re going to give me a half-day for free.

The company that Leah worked for when we wed had the right idea. It was an advertising company, so I guess ideas were their business. They would close down for at least two weeks during the holidays every year. Depending on what day of the week Christmas fell, Leah was off from like December 20th through January 8th. I’m not sure if she got paid for the time off or not, but wow, that would be nice. I couldn’t have done it then, but I’d gladly give up two weeks pay now if they’d shut down our office for two weeks during the holidays. I miss college.

Alas, our office is closed Monday for Christmas, and the next Monday for New Year’s. That is all. But you know what? There are a lot of parents of starving kids in Africa that would love to swap places with me any time I want to step forward and make that trade.

OHHHHH tonight thank God it’s them instead of you….
And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time…

I haven’t heard ‘Feed the World’ this year. What are the radio stations saving it for?

It really doesn’t feel much like Christmas. I haven’t done a lot of shopping (thank you Leah for taking care of everyones' presents - even my parents and Aunt Barbara - for Jack and I) and it’s been kind of warm here in Birmingham. I’m not asking for a white Christmas, but I shouldn’t be wearing golf shirts to work and breaking a sweat walking across campus in December. Any way, this Christmas season is slipping by me. Maybe it's because Christmas is on a Monday this year. I haven’t even listened to “A Very Special Christmas - 3” with:

I Saw Three Ships - Sting
Christmastime - The Smashing Pumpkins
Children Go Where I Send Thee - Natalie Merchant
Oi To The World - No Doubt
Christmas - Blues Traveler
The Christmas Song - Hootie & The Blowfish

I need to find it before it’s too late. Although, is it ever too late for some Blues Traveler?

This will probably be the last post for the week. May the friendship, fun, and laughter that you’ve brought to me be returned to you 1,000 fold. Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This has gotten out of control...

From CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/US/) on Tuesday 12/19/2006 at 1:00 PM:

'Blaims' is not a word.


1. No one is mad. Ire and tension are not allowed in The Conch Shack. Remember, this is a warm, happy place where anger rolls off of you like the cold condensation water beads roll off of a Red Stripe bottle (or Turk's Head Lager, where ever you may be).

2. Huh?

3. So y'all don't like the cuff links idea. People didn't like my Doc Martens 100 years ago, either, but then they took off. And then the fad crashed. It's okay.

4. I know this may sound completely idiotic, but it's okay if you like something that no one else likes. Thank God that Leah took a shot on someone that was repulsive to many others. (Of course, she didn't really like me until she saw me at a concert with someone else.)

5. That is all. Back to work and have a nice day.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pride Goes Before the Fall....

And apparently it doesn't come back until Spring.

I'm not sure what that means, but I came up with the title a couple of weeks ago for a piece that I was thinking about. And by piece, I mean story. I just can't remember the story that went along with the title, though. I'm sure it was a good one.

Anyhoo. I will never brag on my son's sleeping habits ever, ever again.

People keep asking me what I want for Christmas. Apparently, I haven't been good enough this year to receive the gift of peace and quiet. (ba-dump, ching)

As many of you know, my birthday is the 28th of December. One thing that's tough about a December birthday is that you have to come up with present ideas for both days at the same time, so your interest is a little skewed. Like, I might want a new swimsuit, but you can't get a swimsuit in December like you could if your birthday was in May, for example. What ever I get for the year is limited to what it is that I think that I want or need during a four day period in December. It's also limited to what stores have in stock.

It's hard for me to come up with gift ideas for myself. I don't really want or need anything. Additionally, I feel a little guilty about taking presents from the very same people that I've been an a$$hole to for most of the past 364 days. I really don't deserve anything and I feel like they're buying me something out of obligation, and I don't want them to be obligated to get me anything. I'm not going to like any one more or less because they got me something or didn't get me any thing. You're not going to earn my respect by purchasing me a gift. You're going to have to get down in the dirt a beg for it. (from Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy)

So I come up with a list of items, but no one buys me any of them because they think that I'm just being as a$$hole and there's no way that I would really want anything on the list. Example:

A bag of Starbucks Coffee from Target. I really would like that, because it's about $1.50 an ounce ($8 for 5 ounce bag), and I can buy a 64 ounce canister of Folgers for $6 at Sam's.

A donation to Jack's College Fund. Short of a Rolex watch or Rogers Hornsby baseball card, this is probably the best gift of all from a financial perspective because it grows over time. By the time Jack reaches Brown, that $50 donation could be worth $200 or more (or less, as past performance is no guarantee of future results). He could get a grande coffee at one of the many fine Providence Starbucks.

Trak Shak gift card (but that's all the way over in Homewood, can't he get something from Academy Sports? We'll just give him money and he can go get his own gift card.)

Money to pay Changing Spaces to come out and move my treadmill. I want to put my treadmill in the garage so that I can run after Jack goes to sleep at night (and before he wakes up for the first of his 3 times - Kathy, HELP! You should charge for Sleep Lady services...open a franchise). Currently, the treadmill is in the den upstairs, and about 15 feet from his sleeping little head. If it was in the garage, I could run at 8 o'clock at night. Anyway, the treadmill weighs about 1,000 pounds, and I'm old and weak to move it, even with a little help from my friends.

Though this will do nothing to dispel the beliefs of the misguided friend of a friend, I've decided that I'm converting over to cuff links. Nothing is more aggravating than wearing a button down shirt and tie, EXCEPT that once you get the shirt on you go to button the sleeves, having the sleeve button crumble in your hands. Why can't the dry cleaners clean and press a shirt without breaking the buttons on the sleeve? The only thing worse is when they break one of the collar buttons and either don't replace it, or replace it with one of the standard size buttons. The standard size buttons don't fit through the small holes in the collar, so the net effect is the same as if they hadn't replaced it at all. You have one collar buttoned and the other one just flopping around. Aggravating.

I moved away from button down collar shirts a couple of years ago because the cleaners kept breaking the collar buttons. Now I'm moving to buttonless sleeves and the use of cuff links. Every time we meet with underwriters from London I find myself a little envious of their cuff links. (That's a 5,000 pt. credit if you're scoring at home, or even if you're by yourself.)

That's all for today. Back to looking like I'm doing work. Have a good'un.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


A couple of weeks ago, Leah and I were walking through Bath & Body Works. I had the following exchange with one of the employees:

B&BW Employee: You look like that guy on TV, what’s his name?

Me: Alan Alda.

B&BW Employee: THAT’S IT! You look just like him.

Well, my ability to be a jacka$$ painted me, once again, in to a corner. How could I possibly correct my previous answer? I’d sound like even more of a jacka$$ had I said, “No, it’s not Alan Alda. I believe you’re thinking of George Clooney.”

What if, after correcting her, she said, “No, I’ve seen Clooney and you don’t look anything like him. It’s definitely Alan Alda. You know, the guy from M*A*S*H?”

Yes, I know Hawkeye Pierce.

I just let it go and started sniffing the holiday candles. One year I’m going to buy the cinnamon one.

We had our 10th annual friends and family Christmas party this past Sunday night. At least we thought it was the 10th. Wait, it was. We started innocently and informally enough when we lived in the commune in 1997. This year makes 10. (Don't you hate it when people type out there thoughts?) Anyway, good times. Wow, the cooks have really developed with 10 years of practice. That was the best food we’ve ever had.

I did hear some rather interesting stories at the Christmas party. I’m debating on whether to use this space to address one thing that I heard, or I may just let it go altogether. Leah told me not to address it, but I’ve seen what happens if you just stay quiet. And I'm hurting for material.

I don’t know the person that started the story, although I believe that I’ve met her, and I’m not sure what she saw on this site that drove her to her conclusion. I think she just has me confused with someone else, but I may still have to break it down bean counter style to prove her incorrect, you know, just for fun – not that there’s anything wrong with it. That breakdown’s going to take more time than I have today, though.

Oh, to kind of close the loop on a previous topic, I’m not sure how or why, but Jack is now sleeping from 7:30 PM until about 5:30 AM. He sleeps later some days, like today he woke up at 6:25 AM. We still “put him to sleep” by rocking him, but we don’t have to go to his room at night to put him back to sleep (he’s able to self-soothe during the night). He also doesn’t cry immediately and constantly upon waking in the morning. He cries for a few minutes, but then he gets quiet. When we go up to get him, we find him just sitting in his crib staring at his nightlight. It’s a little sad and scary at the same time. Kind of like this blog.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Breaking News

Two posts in one day is rare for me, but WOW! We need to pass a hat and Jack needs to matriculate - whatever that means. I'm too dumb to even read about Ivy League schools, but they have a cross country team, so that's a plus.

Facts about Brown (www.brown.edu)

Tuition and Fees
Undergraduate tuition for the academic year 2006-2007 is $33,888, and room, board and fees are $9,866. The total cost is $43,754.

Financial Aid
Brown provides 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need for all students who matriculate. Forty-three percent of the undergraduate student body receives need-based financial aid. The average financial-aid package for the class of 2009 was $29,700.

With the matriculation of the class of 2010, all undergraduates at Brown were admitted under the University's need-blind admission policy.

'Dreamgirls' Premiere

Does anyone out there understand giving a standing ovation, or any ovation really, at a movie? Do people clap for rented movies that they watch in the privacy of their own homes? I can understand getting emotionally involved during a movie. I cried when the doctors told Rock Blier that he couldn't play football again in 'The Rocky Blier Story'. Of course, Rocky did play again and was an integral part of the Steelers' Championship teams of the 70s. I also got motion sickness during "The Blair Witch Project", but I don't think that really applies. So I've cried, laughed, thought and vomited at the movies, but I've never, ever, clapped at a movie. Not even at any of the 'Rocky' movies.

Have you ever caught yourself clapping at the end of song on the radio? I mean, I have, but I'm not right.

I have vowed not to check the message boards today for "updates" on the Alabama coaching search. I've GOT to do some work today. Startinnnnnnnnng NOW!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Sophisticated Palette

Why will people in my department eat a 4 day-old doughnut like it's sex with a movie star, but they won't touch the store bought bundt cake that I brought this morning? Can they sense that it was left over from the bridal tea that Leah hosted yesterday?

Maybe I should have put it in a tupperware cake container instead of leaving it in the store bought plastic container with the emblazon 'Member's Mark' seal. Maybe it just needs hot sauce. Maybe I'll just leave it there until they eat it, because it's NOT going back to my house.

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's a sad day, part 2

I've resolved not to believe any reports about the new coach at UA until Mal Moore stands behind the podium and announces a name, but it seems that our Spurrier dream is over.

Being the gray minded person that I am, I could make arguments both for and against hiring Spurrier as Alabama's coach. I will say this, however, I am happy that Mal at least thought of hiring one of the greatest college coaches any of us have ever seen.

When it's all said and done, however, I don't know if Spurrier will be mentioned in the same breath as Knute Rockne, Joe Paterno, Bear Bryant, or even Bobby Bowden because (irony or no?) of his penchant for chasing the challenge. His longest coaching stint was a very successful one at Florida, and that's, unfortunately, where we'll always remember the Ol' Ball Coach roaming the sidelines. He's quest for the challenge won't allow him longevity any where.

Alas, good luck, Coach Spurrier.

Alright Bama Fams, in the words of Don Quixote, we must continue:

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Lastly, good luck and best wishes to Brandon as he competes (not just participates) in the Memphis Half Marathon this weekend. Run where the brave dare to go, friend.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's a Sad Day

I don't have any news about the Alabama coaching search. My source - an Auburn fan that told me last Wednesday that Shula and Kines would be retained (see my tirade below) - keeps telling me the same names that I read about on al.com, tidesports.com, and any other forum wherein rumors are started. He just likes to yank my chain, I think. I guess we'll just wait 'til we know.

It is a sad day for Birmingham radio. WRAX - The X, is no more. The one time GIANT of alternative music has been shut down so that WJOX can have an FM platform. The station that jump-started many of the alternative bands of the 90's has been closed in favor of the Scott Griffins, Herb Winches, Kelly Hunters, and Jim Dunaways of the world. Oy.

Under the guidance of Dave Rossi, WRAX literally started the mainstream careers of Sister Hazel, Cracker, Hootie & The Blowfish (Monica kissed a blowfish!) and many, many others. I know all of you may not have liked them, but that's my kind of music. After Matchbox20 became known across the country, the band was asked how it felt to be famous. Members of the band answered, "every day is like Birmingham". Rob Thomas wouldn't be who he is today without The X. The station was never really the same after Rossi left.

So today, I say goodbye to an old friend. I may go home and find my X-Fest 1 t-shirt and wear it for old times sake.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Wait 'til we know

William F. Buckley was on The Tonight Show in 1992 prior to the Bush-Clinton presidental election. He was asked for his prediction and he answered, "The American people have a tough choice. They have to decide if the unseen devil is worse than the devil they've seen."

Wait 'til we know, Tide fans, wait 'til we know.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Football Pool Final Standings

As they've done a gathousand times the last few years, Noter Dame screwed me again. If I pull for them, they lose. If I pull against them, they win. I had the Irish +1.5 Saturday night. They lost by 20.

Congratulations to Karly on her 6th place finsh in the football pool this year. Although my win-loss record was actually better than her record, she did a far better job assigning confidence factors to her games. She finished ahead of both me and JRod. Congrats also go out to Katrina for her 11th place finish. She did an excellent job picking winners this year, having the same win-loss record as Karly, but her points came up just short. She does, however, claim the title of Best Teet in the OFP. Wow, Gary Coleman finished with the best overall win-loss record, but doesn't finish in the money. That's gotta hurt.

1. WHAWKS 463 pts. (80-50-0)
2. DENNIJO 448 pts. (78-52-0)
3. CRK5 439 pts. (72-58-0)
4. GARY COLEMAN 432 pts. (82-48-0)
5. KEYWON 425 pts. (76-54-0)
6. DREWS MOM 416 pts. (74-56-0)
7. KINGCONCH 407 pts. (75-55-0)
8. JRODJACK 407 pts. (71-59-0)
9. BANG-GU 398 pts. (73-57-0)
10. DIAMOND TRIM 395 pts. (68-62-0)
11. FULMERSRIGHTTEET 389 pts. (74-56-0)

There's always next year!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's not you, it's me

I realize that this isn't going to be good read for many of you, but it's what has dominate my thoughts the last five days (well, this and all the talk about who's zooming who...WOW). This is just me adding my two cents worth to a situation in which my two cents aren't worth two cents.

A couple of things before we get started. I found out recently that more people read this garbage than I thought. Hello to everyone that’s not Kathy, Katie, Leah, Karly, Jarrod, or Lee.

The 1997 Iron Bowl in Auburn, Alabama was one of mine a Leah’s first dates. I actually don’t remember all of our dates, but this had to be one of the first because I didn’t get mad at her when she spilled beer in my car and then used the new shirt that I bought to wear in to the stadium as a towel to clean up the Coors Light. Also on that day, one of the longest running questions in Alabama football history was born. It really started as a joke. My friend Jim, acting as if he was calling in to the Alabama pre-game radio show, was prefacing his question with, “Coach Gold, I love Alabama.” Since then, any question about Alabama football is required to begin with, “Coach, I love Alabama”. This is similar to Auburn fans beginning, ending, or comprising a statement, question, or entire conversation with War Eagle. War Eagle. War eagle? WAR EAGLE! OH, war eagle.

Including the 1997 game and the nine Iron Bowls since, Alabama has managed to win three games against Auburn. Still, “Coach, I love Alabama”.

This has been a rough week for me. Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula remains one of my favorite collegiate players of all time. He was the quarterback at The University of Alabama when I was a sophomore quarterback at The High School of Tarrant. I had pictures and newspaper articles of him on my wall. I liked him as much as any straight teenaged boy should like another man.

Quarterback Shula, while under center, would keep one leg straight, bend the other at the knee, and turn almost his entire body in order to give himself a 360-degree view of the field. (That’s important because you want to make sure that your running backs are where they’re supposed to be.) I liked Mike so much that I started doing that move in practice. Coach Hulsey, the offensive coach at THS, yelled, “Jammy, cut that $hit out”! He must have really not liked it, because he never cursed on the field, or in the locker room for that matter.

Quarterback Mike Shula was knowledgeable and insightful, a quick thinker, a decision maker, and someone that every one else around him could believe in and rally behind. He was ‘The Field General’. As a coach, he is none of these things. I’m not going to detail all of his mishaps as a coach – I’ve broken two keyboards since Iron Bowl week started and the ensuing aftermath and I don’t want to break another – suffice to say, in my unqualified opinion, he is not a good coach.

I don’t think that there is any doubt that Alabama is contemplating a coaching change. Why, other than the administration is incompetent from top to bottom, would they allow such uncertainty during this recruiting period? If Shula was a 100% LOCK for next year, an announcement would have already been made.

I’m not breaking any news when I say that Alabama is looking else where for a coach. Rumors abound that an offer is on the table for Coach Steve Spurrier, who I would have LOVED to have been hired immediately after the Dubose firing and in the face of NCAA probation. Can you imagine his answer to the question, “What about the NCAA investigation?” I can only imagine that it would have been something along the lines of:

“I don’t care about the NCAA or their investigation. I care about Alabama football and making this program a champion again. As long as the NCAA leaves me 11 players, we’re going to work hard, believe in each other, fight, claw, and try to win some football games. We may not win them all, but by golly we’re going to play every game with all the pride and determination that Alabama football deserves. Next question.”

The other rumor making the rounds is that an offer is on the table for former LSU coach and current Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban. Here’s what I know about Saban:


For our Spanish speaking readers, that list goes:


Honestly, I know that Saban won a couple of SEC titles at LSU, and hoisted one National Championship trophy above his head.

What I like about both of these coaches is that they believe in themselves and, therefore, those around them are gravitated to believe in them also. In the office or with your friends, don’t you like the person that can actually make a decision? Do they always make the right decision? Probably not, but at least at that moment, they made a decision and believed in it and executed upon it with conviction and determination. When, in his four years at Alabama, have we been able to say that about Coach Shula?

For you political types, I believe that Mike Shula is the collegiate football equivalent to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. He can't make a decision with out the input of at least a half dozen people.

At the end of the day, I’m not really as concerned with WHO is in control at Alabama as I am with knowing the SOMEBODY is in control at Alabama.

What started as a joke nine years ago remains an unanswered question today.

“Coach Gold, I love Alabama. Why do we suck so bad?”

Happy Turkey Day every body! Thanks for coming by.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm Audi 5,000

Just wanted to let yous guys know that I'll be unable to post anything of substance this week...yeah, yeah, yeah, hardy-har-har.

I'll be at a seminar in Palm Beach, Florida...with some accountant/finance type peeps. It's a seminar for those who manage self-insured trusts or small insurance companies...I know you're jealous - don't even try to hide it...I do neither, but my boss is big on the whole, "If someone gets hit by a bus, we need someone to step in to their place." The seminar "Board of Directors" sent me 26 pages of memos and financial data to "familiarize" prior to our Wednesday night meeting. That's right, these go-getters are meeting Wednesday night from 6 - 10. Oy vey. It's going to be like GBA 490 all over again.

I gots to go pack my pocket protector, HP 800 business calculator, and someone else's business cards. See you next week.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Just a couple of tid-bits that I didn't want to bother you with yesterday.

A lady in our office has the "Jackson Browne Greatest Hits" cd on her desk - I had to pick it up and look at it. There were a few songs that I recognized, Tender is the Night, being the most notable. (Tender, tender is the night....when I hold my baby tight) I was disappointed, and honestly mildly offended, that Lawyers in Love didn't make the cut. Any JB greatest hits cd without Lawyers in Love is not a greatest hits cd.

A sampling:
Last night I watched the news from Washington, the capital.
The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them, like Russians will.
Now we've got all this room, we've even got the moon.
And I hear the U.S.S.R. will be open soon, as vacation land for
Lawyers in love.

Yet another travesty that I'm blaming on the breakup of the USSR.

Okay, major shift in gears here, so hold on.

That piece of furniture in your bedroom in which you keep your clothes - how old were you when you realized that was a "chest of drawers" and not "chester drawers"? I think that I was 16 or 17. Leah thinks that is HYsterical.

Have a good'un.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


The most interesting part of this little tidbit is that WENN used to be 107.7 FM right here in Birmingham, Alabama. They played "urban music".


Jessica Simpson is worried that her tabloid notoriety will hurt her love life. “My fear is that I won’t ever date anybody, because they’ll think I’m going to ruin their career,” Simpson said, according to WENN. “That they’ll be on the cover of every tabloid and it will automatically take away their credibility, to be bluntly honest with you.”

These opposites, they probably don’t attract

As both off you know, Jack has been Mr. Sicky Pants since last Sunday. Whiny, fussy, lethargic…if it weren’t for the high fever and Alabama pajamas, he could have easily been mistaken for his Uncle JRod. Ba-domp-ching!

After eight consecutive double doses of Motrin and Tylenol, and only about 3 sleepless hours during the day, he was feeling much better last night. No surprise, when it came time to wind down for bed, he was raring to go. He had four days of play to catch up on. Being the stickler to rules that I am, I dutifully tried to enforce his bedtime rituals. “Jesus Loves Me” is his key to settle down. Last night it didn’t work – I mean, defiantly didn’t work. I mean – the song just wasn’t in him last night. That made me wonder – as most everything does – what song represents the opposite of “Jesus Loves Me”? That’s the song that Jack was singing.

Even with my limited knowledge of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and KISS (understanding that those are probably the more commercially “clean” bands in the category) I came up with several possibilities.

What could be more defiant than “With a rebel yell…screaming more, More, MORE!!!”?

Though not quite as defiant, and he’s probably a little young for this one, but “feel like making…(doh-domp-chee, doh-domp-chee, doh-domp-chee)…I feel like makin’ love”.

I’m sure Quiet Riot had some doozy of a boozing, sex-it-up song on their one album, which I owned at one time…got it for Christmas along with Stevie Nicks’ greatest hits. I kid you not. Both were crystal clear black vinyl. 33s if I recall. Any way, the Quiet Riot song that you’ve all heard is, “Come on feel the noise, girls rock your boys! We’re getting’ wild, wild, wild – wild, wild, wild!” except that’s not how they spell ‘come’.

That was a long way for me to go to ask, what do you think is the opposite of “Jesus Loves Me”? And good luck getting Rebel Yell out of your head. It could have been worse, I could have broken out some "Eyes without face, face, face, face..."

Thursday, October 19, 2006


When I’m wrong, I’m the first to admit it. Even when I’m not wrong I’m usually the first to say that I’m wrong, just so I don’t have to hear people bitch and moan and whine. What I wrote yesterday was wrong. Not the candy piece, that was spot on, but what I said about Leah was completely inaccurate.

She did really well last night putting Jack to bed. She put him in his crib at 7:30ish and I’m not sure what all went down, but from my hidden vantage point I heard Jack laugh, and then Leah laugh back at him. I thought, ‘Oh no…he thinks she’s playing a game’. Alas, within 20 – 25 minutes he was asleep. Way to go Leah and Jack! This will come as no surprise to anyone that knows her, but Leah was TOTALLY bored just sitting in the shuffle chair. And I thought that she'd be so good at sitting quietly for 30 minutes or more.

Leah also wanted me to let everyone know that she didn’t throw puppies from the deck. They fell.

I broke down and watched ‘Lost’ last night. Still no answers, but ANOTHER POLAR BEAR!!! Really? In the tropics?? And he still has all his fur??? Stupid bear. I was a little disappointed that in the airport scene, I didn’t see Maggie Grace. Maybe I saw her and just didn’t recognize her. Wow, Claire. She lost the baby weight and got back in to clingy, slim-fitting hot momma clothes REAL fast - like Jen fast. Locke, he’s lived life.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Random thoughts...

A couple of random thoughts that I was thinking about developing in to full columns...but I decided to just shotgun them out there instead.

1. If you have to tell me that you're candy, then you're not candy. This goes for candy corn, candy canes, rock candy, cotton candy, hard candy, and former Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Candy Maldonado. At halloween time, the fat kid inside notices these things.

2. The toothpick is used for a lot more things that just picking barbecue out of your canines. Likewise, baking soda is used for everything except baking. What other products have seen their actual daily use grow beyond that for which they were intially created?

Shuffling along....

Ignoring the fact that I’ve spent them on Jack’s floor somewhat covered with the previously mentioned cutesy lap blankets, nights two and three of The Shuffle have been really good (relatively speaking). It kind of makes me regret that I answered K-Harper's "How's the parenting gig going" question with a rather tart, "Awful". In my defense, sleep time was rather trying and, quite honestly, awful. He doesn't know me well enough to give him that type of answer, though. I think that it put him in an uncomfortable spot.

Each of the last two nights Jack only cried, stood, reached, and pouted for about 20 minutes. I put him in his crib at 6:49 on night two (he was really, really tired). He fell asleep at 7:10. Last night, night three, I put him in his crib at 7:24 and he was asleep at 7:42. I consider him “asleep” when he puts his head on the bumper and doesn’t move for a couple of minutes. Though last night’s crib-to-sleep time was actually shorter, it seemed like a lot longer. I think I put him down in a less drowsy state last night. Those were the slowest 18 minutes ever.

Nightly wake-ups have gotten much better. Night two, he awoke at 1:33 for about 10 minutes, and at 4:55 for 40 minutes. He woke up for good at 6:15. Night three (again, last night or this morning), he only woke up at 4:25 for about 10 minutes. He did wake up a little earlier this morning, at 5:40, but we left him in his crib until 6:00.

Last night, I thought that he was going to wake-up at 11:19 PM because he was stirring around. I moved to the ottoman - that is still positioned at station 1 - but a funny thing happened, he didn’t even look at me. He sat up, looked around his crib, found a pacifier (he obviously has better vision than me, which isn’t saying much, but still), put it in his mouth and laid back down. He’s a good boy.

Tonight is night 4, and I’m a bit apprehensive for a couple of reasons:

A.) It is time to move the ottoman to station 2. I’ve had to put some thought in to where station 2 actually should be, but I believe that I’ve found a solution. We can’t go toward the main door of his room, because in later nights we have to sit or stand in the doorway while he falls asleep. The problem with the main door is that it opens to the upstairs den, which is where Leah works at night and is, therefore, kind of noisy. We’re instead going toward his bathroom door, which leads to the Jack and Jill bath and provides an escape route for us without risking him being exposed to all the noise in the den. It also leads to the guest bedroom, where we’ll probably sleep for a few more nights in order to be responsive to his calls. I don’t want to break the little trust that we’ve built the last few nights. I’ve probably put way too much thought in to this.

B.) It is Leah’s turn to do The Shuffle. I’m a little apprehensive because I think Jack sees her and thinks “Ahhh, there’s a sucker.” I also think that he’s right. This is the same girl that threw newborn puppies off her deck when she was young for heaven’s sake, but now she can’t resist a little whimpering? She’s going to have to do it, though, because I’m going to be out of town in a couple of weeks and she’ll have to do it then. I must resist the urge to ask her to step aside and let me handle it.

That's enough about sleep shuffle. What else is going on? I saw where Steve Wynn poked a hole in a Picasso painting that he owns but had agreed to sale for $139 MILLION. He’ll now patch it with duct tape and put it in the basement with Britney Spears’ career.

Did you see where Britney was sponsoring a contest wherein the person that helps sale the most copies of Federline’s new CD “Playing With Fire” gets to party with the FederSpears on Halloween night during the release party? Second prize is a pair of sneakers worn by Federline at the Teen Choice Awards, third prize is $200 gift certificate, and 10 runner-ups will receive a replica hood ornament and dog chain like the one Kevin wears around all the time. That is 13 prizes in all. Do they really think 13 people care?

That's all I got. G’day.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Shuffle, Part One

A few things before we begin:

  1. Leah found on the Internet that there’s a push to make “ya’ll” an acceptable spelling for “y’all”. The reason is that “ya’ll” more accurate reflects the pronunciation of “y’all”. What are we doing? If we’re going to start changing the spellings of words because of the way we pronounce them, we’re going to have to change ‘there’ to ‘thar’, ‘fire’ to ‘far’, and, last but definitely not least, ‘hello’ to ‘yellow’ (hey Paw-Paw).
  2. When did it become acceptable to begin a sentence with ‘And’?
  3. When did it become acceptable to begin a sentence with ‘But’?

These things really bother me, and I’m from Tarrant. I can only imagine how people that scored better than me (over 19) on the English portion of the ACT feel about all of this.


I know that epilogues are supposed to go at the end, but this is a follow-up to the previous post regarding Friday night/Saturday morning, so I’m putting it here.

Jack woke up as soon as I clicked ‘Publish Post’ – no lie. I was between a question mark and a rock and a hard place. I didn’t really know what to do when he awoke. I was willing to go back to the 15 minute intervals until he fell asleep on his own, but I also knew that if he (or I) didn’t get a little bit of sleep, we wouldn’t be able to go to the Alabama – Ole Miss game. I selfishly caved in and rocked him back to sleep. Then I had to do it a couple more times through the night.

I called Karly and Brandon bright and early Saturday morning and asked if I could borrow The Sleep Lady book. She will henceforth be referred to as SLady, if my spell check will allow it.

That brings us to Sunday…

I read the first three chapters and the chapter on nine to twelve month olds yesterday. Quite a feat for a slow reader like myself. It’s not that I’m illiterate I just don’t read fast.

A couple of quick observations: SLady is a bit less heartbreaking than Ferber. I, however, kind of like the rigidity of Ferber’s Method. With Ferber, I know that regardless of what happens, I DO NOT pick the child up from the crib. SLady allows a pick-up, if absolutely necessary, but that moment of compassion just presents me with more questions, i.e., when is it absolutely necessary? Is that one pick-up a night, or one pick-up each time that he cries? If he’s sitting up, but not standing, can I help him position himself in a sleep position and, if so, does that count as the one pick-up or can you re-position as often as necessary? I guess with SLady, like most other parts of parenting, you just make the decision that you feel is best and hope that the your wife doesn’t notice the bruise, I mean, you just do the best that you can. There are people a lot dumber than me that have done this. Lastly, every article and sleep book that I read has been geared to the mother.

I decided to give The Shuffle a try. I can stand the crying, but I don't like the screaming. Although I really think that I could endure it for the short run (heck, he screamed solid for the first three months of his life and it didn't kill us, or him for that matter), and it would be easy to tell him "good luck" and just walk out of his room, I kind of feel like I created this problem, so I should be part of the solution. I would have been a good little guilt ridden Catholic.

To start the process, we decided to give Jack his bath a little earlier, thinking that his bath objection was related more to him being tired than it was he not liking the water. We put him in the tub at 6:45 and, voila, he loved it. He played with his toys and splashed around. At the first sign of him losing interest, we plucked him out and started drying him off. We lotioned him up and dressed him in his pajamas without him having a meltdown. That hasn’t happened in a few weeks. I read him a book and let him play a little bit. Shortly after 7:00, I went and sat in the rocker. He followed. I picked him up and gave him his bottle. We turned off the lights, shut the doors, momma said goodnight, and Jack and I sat in the rocker as he drank his milk.

After his milk, Jack started squirming and wiggling. Is this one of his sleep cues – fighting sleep? Was the sleep window closing, or was it not even open yet? I was confused. I made him sit in my lap, trying to get him comfortable. After a few trying minutes, he relaxed and seemed to be winding down. Although he didn’t act very drowsy, I tried to put him in his crib anyway. No surprise, he objected. Did I put him down too soon?

SIDEBAR: Have you ever drunk a quart of milk and done anything strenuous? I think milk defies the gravitational downward pull more than helium.

As Jack was crying, he started hiccupping. He also started that pre-puke gag that anyone that’s ever been to college understands all too well. I didn’t want him to hurl on the very first night, so after only a few minutes, I picked him up.

He stopped crying immediately and put his head on my shoulder. SLady would say I was duped, I prefer to think that I saved us from having that spoiled milk vomit smell emit from the carpet for the next 8 weeks (especially if I am going to sleep on that carpet for a few nights while he gets used to sleeping alone in his own bed).

He hiccupped and gagged a few more times, but he fell asleep rather quickly. In to his crib he went. No objections this time. It was about 7:35. I took my place in the chair that is, in our case, the quadrangular shaped ottoman for the rocking chair and it is not very comfortable. SLady really needs to develop and market the Shuffle Chair. She would make a quadrillion dollars. I sat on the ottoman for a few minutes, just in case he awoke, then I went and did some things on my own, after 7:30PM, for the first time in months. Leah and I watched the online final episode of Two-A-Days. It was kind of nice. I felt free for a few moments. Afterward, I got my Spanish course book and a small flashlight and went back in to Jack’s room for the night. It was about 8:30.

Jack slept fine until 12:24 AM. We awoke and sat up. He started whimpering a little then he stood in his crib. I was in the chair in my spot before he stood up good. I told him it was okay, ‘sh-sh’, and all that jazz. After 15 minutes, he sat down in his crib. I rattled the pacifier so that he could hear it and know that it was near. He picked it up, put it in his mouth, and leaned forward, resting his little head on the bumper of his crib (YEA!!! He’s trying!). He's a good boy.

It didn’t take. He went through various stages of semi-consciousness for the next two hours. He leaned his head to the bumper a few more times at the 30, 40, 55, 70, 80, and 100 minute marks. It was like he was flipping the switch, but the lights wouldn’t turn off. Maybe the peeps that say that he’s just not neurologically wired to sleep are right. If that’s so, let’s break out the Paxil, or Zoloft, or LexiPro or something. KIDS GOTTA SLEEP! You can’t just accept that they’re going to be awake until they go to college and pass out. After two hours exactly, he went back to sleep. It was 2:24 AM.

He and I slept until 3:33 AM when he awoke again. I took my place next to his crib and we resumed the process, then I realized that my feet were freezing and so were his hands and feet. He didn’t even have the benefit of socks or two of those cutesy little throw blankets that are good for watching TV, but no so good for stretching out and actually sleeping. I went to the thermostat, which is right outside of Jack’s room, so he YELLED when I left despite my comforting words. It was 65 degrees in the house. I turned on the heat for the first time all year. I kind of like the smell that the heater gives off the first time you turn it on for the season. Then I worried about carbon monoxide. As the room warmed, I watched and listened carefully to Jack, who was holding his binky (blanket) and gnawing on his pacifier. He fell asleep by himself, with his head resting on the bumper at 4:25 AM. After a few minutes, I repositioned him to a more traditional sleep position and he slept until 5:41 AM.

I sat, again, next to his crib from 5:41 until 5:58 listening to him cry louder than he had cried all night, with the exception of the initial crib placing when he threatened to puke. Jack has always been an early riser, usually not sleeping past 5:30 and, most mornings, not past 5:00. He may be one of those babies that wakes up at 6:00 every day that SLady says you just have to accept. 7 PM to 6 AM is a long time, after all.

At 5:58, I went downstairs to wake Leah and tell her that I was about to bring Jack downstairs – so put on a happy face. I made his morning bottle and went back to Jack’s room for the big dramatic wake. He was still crying, but I turned on the lights and picked him up. The big opening of the blinds production that I did lost a little of its effect when the opened blinds revealed only the darkness of a sunless sky. He warmed up a little when Leah came in to his room and, after a few minutes, was laughing and playing.

So, that was night one. I messed up the ‘drowsy but awake’ part, but I still think that we made some progress. He learned to find his pacifier on his own and he went to sleep a couple of times on his own. I learned that giving a baby 6 ounces of milk right before you know he’s going to cry rather strenuously is not a good idea. I also learned to keep an eye on the temperature in the room, and that Jack can go to sleep without me rocking him. I also observed that he doesn’t like me to leave the room when he’s awake, but, alas, it’s only night one.

I am open for feedback.

Friday, October 13, 2006


It's 11:00 PM, and I'm blogging - but Jack's crying - so I guess things could be worse, although I'm not sure for whom. Here's the rundown.

7 PM -- Bath. He's gotten in to a habit of standing in the tub. Any advice other than the regular ol' spirit breaking beat down?

7:15 -- Read his Alabama book to him while he drinks his bottle

7:30 -- He and I fall asleep in the rocker in his bedroom. I make a conscious effort to NOT actually rock him. He just lays (lies, just whatever Stephen - if you're out there) across my lap.

8:25 -- I wake up and put him down in his crib. He's a good boy.

10:00 -- He wakes up and cries. Leah tries to comfort him back to sleep with words and her motherly touch. That doesn't work well because we've ruined him. She rocks him back to sleep (he falls asleep instantaneously) and puts him back to bed around 10:20.

10:25 -- He wakes up and starts crying. I go upstairs and try to comfort him. Nothing doin' until I pick him up. He's asleep before we make it to the rocker. I sit in the rocker with him, but don't rock him, for ten minutes and then put him back in his crib.

10:35 -- I swear he's awake and crying before I leave the room. I almost instantly decide that the Ferber Method is worth a try. I go downstairs to get my stopwatch and water -- this is going to be a marathon, I can feel it. I love a good foot race.

10:38 -- I tell him 'what up', and then I leave his room. He's still standing and crying.

10:43 -- The first 5 minutes pass. I go in to his room to find him standing in his crib - wailing (of course, I already knew that). Tell him that I love him and that I'm sorry that my earlier decisions have created this problem, but two wrongs ain't ever gonna make a right. I try to lay him down (not sure that's part of Ferber's Method), he stands right back up. I leave him standing at 10:46.

10:46 - 10:57 -- Balance checkbook and make Officefootballpool picks. Wow, the picks this week are gimmes. I'm sure that I'll go 10-0.

10:57 -- I enter Jack's room to find him crying and standing, just as before. He vocally explodes when he sees me. I give him a kiss on the forehead and again tell him that I'm sorry - sins of the father and all that - I try to lay him down again. Again he's having no part of it. I leave his room. It's 11:00.

Now the 15 minute interval...I've heard about this interval...how many of these will I have to endure?

Crying, crying, crying - oh that was pitiful - crying, crying but not as strong, whimpering, whimpering followed by moments of silence, silence followed by moments of whimpering -- HOLY SHNIKEY!!! Is this really happening??? -- and then..........

Silence. Silence followed by silence. Silence followed by silence followed by silence. It's like a train of silence. I wonder if there are dancers, like on Soul Train. The Silence Train dancers would be dressed as sleep fairies. Watch, somebody will read this, turn the Silence Train in to a product that Disney will buy from them for 100 gazillion dollars.

Is the silence good??? I'll have to admit, it's a little scary. It's 11:09. I've got to wait six more minutes before I can check on him? That doesn't seem right! What if something's wrong? What if he vomited? What if he cried up a lung???

11:15 -- I enter his room. I can hear breathing, but no crying, so that's good. He's not moving, except for his normal breathing movements. It appears that exhaustion consumed him while he was sitting up, because his torso is laying forward and his legs are pointing to his head. Can that be comfortable? Can it be safe??? He's not complaining. Do I help him out anyway?? Why didn't I buy the book??? Oh, and there's his pacifier - in his crib but not in his mouth. Did we, in a mere 31 minutes, break two sleep associations at one time??? I doubt it, but he's asleep, and he did it on his own. He's a good boy. He may hate me in the morning, but I have to believe that this is for his own good. I have to keep telling myself that, right? I guess I'm sleeping on the couch upstairs tonight, though.

11:39 -- Ferber worked in less time than it took me to recap what all happened. Was it just beginner's luck? Probably so, but I'll take it. We'll see if his sleep lasts through the night or just until I click 'Publish Post'. What do I do if he wakes up? Do I start over again at the five minute intervals, or do I go straight to the 15 minute intervals? I should have bought the book. Let's all just pray he doesn't wake. Goodnight.

Monday, October 09, 2006


9 days in Florida go by just as fast as 3 days. I had a good time, I really did, but I don't think that it's completely fair that you have to use vacation time for a trip involving an (almost) 9-month old baby and two generations of mothers-in-law. You should only have to take one vacation day for every two days of such a trip.

So many things to talk about, so little time. I only have a couple of minutes, but in a nutshell, the trip involved:

1. 72 very effective showings of the Little Einsteins in The Birthday Machine (thank you Karly and Brandon).

2. Jack sleeping just about the entire way down there and back.

3. Restaurants that peeps didn't like. I had never instantaneously regretted a restaurant choice. I now have.

4. Jammy winning his age group in a very non-competitive 5k. (The prize, a rosemary plant. Not quite as good as the lima beans that Brandon won a couple of years ago, but not too shabby.)

5. Jammy going to the running store that has evaded him the last four trips.

6. A Bud & Alley's Cuban sandwich, a cup of the soup of the day (doesn't matter, just bring it) and a Kalik.

7. Biting beach flies.

8. Cold pool water. (I WAS IN THE POOL!!!!)

9. The roda virus. (Which stands for Rotten Ol' Dirty A$$)

10. The hottest October week ever in Florida. Really.

11. The alternative life styles of Rosemary Beach.

12. No outlet malls. Not sure how that happened.

13. I have never been as happy that my son's name only has four letters as when the lady at Pretty Please said, "They're only $22 a letter".

14. 9 days...I could stay longer, so still no answer to the question "How long would it take for me to get tired of staying at the beach?"

More to come...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Conch Shack

I'm glad that I'm off of work tomorrow. I've been a day ahead all week, so I've thought that today was Friday. In a way it is, because we're headed to the beach tomorrow for 9 days! 9 days - that may be a new record.

Have a good week. If you need something to discuss, what about this: products that you WILL NOT purchase because the ads make you hate the product. Example: I hate the Toyota Camry commercial wherein the girl is going on a blind date with some guy. They're talking on the phone and he's trying to convince her that he's outside her apartment - parked and waiting on her. She's all stupidly, "I don't see a Camry. You're not out there..." So he drives off and she sees the car and says "Call me!" Who are these people? Who does that? I went on a couple of blind dates a lifetime ago, but I never sat out in the car and called the girl down to the car. Of course, I didn't have a cell phone until a couple of years ago.

Anyway, toodles.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery,

Except When It's Not.

I don’t know if you guys are watching it, but I really like the “Studio 60”. It comes on NBC at 9:00 PM on Monday, which means that I’ll probably have to Divo it most of the time. Last night, however, I felt wide-awake at 9:00. Jack hasn’t slept well the last, well, 8 ½ months, but he really hasn’t slept well that past three or four nights. Thank you ear infection #2. Point being, I felt wide awake, but I may have been at that point where you’re so far past tired that you actually feel pretty good. The same thing happens when I’m so hungry that I my body figures it will never receive another morsel of food, so it doesn’t think about eating. That doesn’t happen much, though.

Anyway, “Studio 60” by Aaron Sorkin. I read that Sorkin also did “The West Wing”, otherwise I wouldn’t have known him from Brenda Hampton. You might assume that “Studio 60” leans a little to the left, and you would be right. Leah rolls her eyes about a dozen times an episode and has, more than once, announced, “I CANNOT WATCH THIS SHOW!” She’s watched the first two episodes with me, though, because she’s a little trooper. And I had the remote. And she was too tired to go to another room. And she knows that “Grey’s” doesn’t do much for me.

The fictitious “Studio 60”, broadcast on the fictitious NBS network (ah, N’BS’ network…just noticed that…I wonder if that’s something) gives a possibly realistic glimpse in to the behind the scenes world of “SNL”. At least realistic in the sense that it has to be nerve-wracking coming up with 90 minutes of comedy every 7 days. Of course, given SNL's performance the last few years, it's tough to just come up with 90 minutes of content every 7 days. Still, think about how hard it is to come up with something interesting to write about in your blog - and you only have to update your blog when you want.

The pilot episode began with the show’s Executive Producer (or Director, doesn’t matter) lambasting the network, the FCC, the Christian right, the Enlightened left, everyone in-between, and the viewing audience for the dismal state of American television shows. For 53 seconds he skewered the aforementioned while the network's standards guy – who had ordered the Executive Producer to pull a skit called ‘Crazy Christians’ minutes before airtime – tried to get the producer to cut the live broadcast. Needless to say, the rant gets the guy canned. Enter two guys that left, or were fired from – we’re a little unclear - the show four years prior. Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) comes in as head writer, and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) as Executive Producer. Yes, every time one character talks to Matthew Perry’s character, I have to remind myself that his character’s name is ‘Matt’ also, and that they didn’t just screw up and I was the only one who caught it.

The dialogue is quick, but not “Dawsons” quick. The writers don’t try to impress you with their use of multi-syllable words they found in an overused thesaurus (again, see “Dawsons”) and they don’t try to cram a lot of small words in to every delivered line (see “Gilmore Girls” – not that I’ve ever watched that show, not since Rory went off to college anyway). Matthew Perry has done remarkably well. He seems to have landed the jump from comedy to drama with relative ease.

The show does lean to the left. In last night’s episode, a reporter from Rapture Magazine showed up at the news conference to inquire about the Crazy Christians skit. (Rapture, it was stated, has a circulation four times that of Vanity Fair). When the head of the network (Amanda Peet) wouldn’t guarantee the Rapture reporter that the skit would be buried forever and never shown on “Studio 60”, the network started receiving calls from affiliates and advertisers stating that they would not show or support “Studio 60”. The Terre Haute, Indiana and Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Arkansas markets get a little jab for their less than critical statures in the world of network affiliates. In the end, we do not know if the skit aired or not. We only see the opening number – a quirky little musical number making fun of the previous weeks lambasting, and promising that “Studio 60” will be a model for quality television. The closing scene was Matthew Perry looking up at a digital display that tells him how long it is until the next show airs - 6 Days, 23 Hours, 57 Minutes, 19 Seconds.

So far, I’ve enjoyed the show, but tune in next week and make up your own mind.

I’ve also gotten in to the Sudoku, so we can talk about that if you like. I try to play online at work, but the fun Nazis (a/k/a, IT censors) won’t allow it.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Maybe I Expect Too Much...

First off, the funniest little story that I read this week, again from Jeannette Walls’ column at MSNBC.com:

BeyoncĂ© Knowles has created an alter ego named Sasha, and she turns to Sasha when her own ego gets a tad fragile. “When I feel uncomfortable about something, I tell myself, ‘I’m Sasha, I’m a diva, I’m fierce, I can do it.’ And then I can,” Knowles tells Blender. “Sometimes when BeyoncĂ© slips through, I’m like ‘Hold up, come back!’ Sasha protects me. It’s a good way to keep sane.”

1.) The part, “and then I can”, kills me every time that I read it.
2.) I guess “sane” has become a relative term.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week wondering about this whole ‘blog’ thing. Specifically I’ve tried to apply the “well-if-it-was-easy-then-everyone-would-be-doing-it” theory to the blog world, but I’m getting an unexpected result. On one hand, blogging is easy and it appears that everyone is doing it, but the reality is that isn’t really that simple. Sure, it’s easy to cut and paste an article that you read on another website in to the little box and click ‘publish’. On the other hand, actually producing something of value is rather difficult.

Maybe it’s just because I’m not as well read as Karly and Katie and, therefore, am not able to speak even semi-intelligently on a world of different subjects. I’m not even sure where this month’s Runner’s World is. I know that it was delivered to the house, and usually I check out the ‘I’m a Runner’ page to see who’s a runner, but I didn’t even do that this month. It’s not that I didn’t want to read it, the magazine has just disappeared…like sleeping late on Sunday mornings, it’s just gone.

Maybe it’s because, unlike Beyonce, I don’t have an alter ego that takes over my very being, allowing me to break through the writer’s block and produce something inspiring and entertaining, or at the very least, mildly amusing. I mean, my alter ego takes over sometimes, but usually only when I’m sleep deprived and peeps keep asking dumba$$ questions.

Maybe it’s because I’m really not that good of a writer. Karly can take something as simple as a wasp hanging out in her house and make it sound interesting. Katie talks about buttons and pins and other people’s kids in such a manner that you KNOW that she believes in what she’s doing. Even first timer Michelle was able to post an entertaining, organized and well thought-out piece that came across as very free flowing. Me, I ain’t that good.

Some blogs have agendas. They’re pro-Bush, or pro-Anyone but Bush or some other such nonsense (at least to me). Me, I’m not really for or against much of anything, and it’s kind of important to have some relatively strong feelings about something in order to rally behind it. To have been born and raised in Alabama, a member of a Southern Baptist church (not just an “SBC joint”) my entire life, I think that I’m a little more left of right than most people would think, but I’m not off the scale on any one topic. I’ve never voted for a Democratic presidential or gubernatorial candidate, but that’s probably because I look and see who’s campaigning for that candidate and get so repulsed that I can’t bring myself to pull the lever for the donkey party. If any Dem candidate would ever tell Hollywood, “Thank you for your vote, and once I’m elected y’all can jump up and down, get high on the Greenhouse gases and talk crazy all you want, but until then, let’s keep the insanity on the down-low”, I think I might could get behind them.

I’m not voting for Lucy, though, because she’s “too liberal, too liberal, too liberal for Alabama”, but Bob Riley’s taking advice from someone who fought alongside the Mujahadeen - that can't be good for the kids...and it's about the kids, y'all. This might be another year that I vote for the write-in candidate. I do find it interesting how Riley has been able to absolutely bury the $1.2 BILLION tax package that he proposed during his first year in office. It probably wouldn’t make much political hay for Lucy to bring it up, what with her voting for it and all.

See, providing anything of value and substance is hard. Maybe I’m aiming too high. Maybe I should keep it to sophomoric humor and just tell you about the guy that I saw walking down the stairs in our building this morning. He entered the stairwell on four, I was walking down from five to go to Harbin's to get some cough medicine/nasal decongestant (just in case you were wondering). He was wearing his ID badge so he was either leaving work or going on break, I’m not sure which, but he had been at work so it really doesn’t matter where he was going at this moment. Apparently he felt appropriate Friday work attire to be a light blue t-shirt with MIAMI VICE in large, colorful block lettering across the chest, blue jeans, and flip-flops.

I wish that I could bring myself to wear something that laid back, but I guess I’m a little too right of center for that. And I didn’t come straight to work from the Kathy Griffin after-party.

I hope you saw, or Tivo’d, The Office last night. Funny stuff. My favorite line, “I watch The L-Word. I watch Queer as F#&k.” “That’s not the name of the show!”

That's all I got. More mediocrity.

Have a good weekend.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Been away...

I know that I haven't posted in over a week. Thanks for all the get well cards and well wishes, but I was just in San Antonio. I would have rather been sick.

San Antonio was okay, and it should be real nice once they finish building it. We got bumped from the conference hotel because the hotel overbooked. We didn't get in until Sunday, so we got moved to the Residence Inn (from the Marriott) two blocks away. It was still hot (90+ every day) and it rained every day that we were there. The cab driver said that it hadn't rained since April. Lucky us...walking back and forth to the privileged hotel with stupid presentation handouts.

Okay, Jack is calling. Adios amigos.

Friday, September 08, 2006


This is going to get a little confusing with all the quotation marks, but you can read the original text on Jeanette Walls' page. The article was about Lionel Richie taking his daughter, Nicole, to a clinic in Sweden because he was concerned about her weight loss.

"“I stood in front of [the doctor], just like you and I now, looked him in the eyes, and I said ‘Is it anorexia?’ And he said ‘It isn’t anorexia,’” the musician told the Swedish newspaper Expressen, according to our translator."

"According to our translator"? Isn't Lionel Richie from Tuskegee, Alabama? What language was he speaking that needed translated? I mean, I haven't needed Lionel Richie translated to me since that creepy "Hello" video where he stalked the blind girl. Oddly enough, I could relate to "Dancing on the Ceiling".

Tuesday, September 05, 2006



I’ll have to come up with blankety blanks, and that will take some time. So instead, I’m going to recap a couple of things that happened over the holiday weekend.

1. I went 9-1 in the football pool, but that was only good enough for 4th place. Katie went 8-2 (or maybe 9-1) and leads the pool. I missed my 8 point game, Katie and two other peeps missed some lower point games.

2. Brandon got one year older. I’m not sure what that makes him (33?), but I’m pretty sure that I’m still older than he.

3. I went to the Auburn – Washington State game in the loveliest village on the plain(s) with four Auburn fans. We had a good time, but I was ready to leave before the game started.
Some observations/funny stuff:

A. Heard outside of Tiger Rags: “I just don’t like these new armor all shirts. The Russell shirts were better.”

B. I know this will ruffle some feathers, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree: Auburn fans are somewhat delusional. They believe not only that they have a campus, but also that it is one of the loveliest in the nation. They have some nice buildings, Samford Hall makes a nice backdrop, but their campus is UAB-esque. It’s all parking lots and Toomer’s corner. One of the guys I was with said, “I think that Auburn and Ole Miss have the most beautiful campuses in the country.” Seen ‘em all, have you?

C. Apparently, the four inch denim skirt is in. I’m guessing you stand the entire day if you wear one of those.

4. Family heirlooms don’t mean beans to some people.

Here’s my take on keeping items that belonged to a now deceased family member. If the item reminds you of that person and gives you a warm, happy feeling, then keep it. If you’re keeping the item because it was grandma’s and you think that she’ll haunt you for giving it away or throwing it out – buy yourself some garlic and get rid of it. My parents have a basement full of furniture from my grandmother’s house that is doing nothing but growing mold. I have a couple of boxes of cookbooks, but I’ll get rid of those when Leah lets go of her Zaps!

It seemed like a much busier weekend.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Welcome to The Conch Shack

I missed posting to a blog. I know my friends, what few I actually have left, got tired of me not posting. Not because they waited with anxious breath my newest, most insightful post ever, but because I replaced posting my thoughts with sending a plethora of meaningless email messages to everyone in my address book. Mis amigos clevered up, however, and stopped acknowledging the emails. Alas, I'm back!

So, draw up a cup of conch chowder, grab yourself a fritter and a Red Stripe, and enjoy the colorful, and slightly askew, thoughts of me, your host, King Conch.

Now, how do I fix that picture......I'll just delete it.