Monday, January 29, 2007

10, 9, 8, 7, 6 .....

I'm really excited today.

Have you ever seen the movie "October Sky"? It's about four friends that grew up in a coal mining town in West Virginia in the 1940's (or 30's, or 50's). One of the friends in particular had an interest in and aptitude for building rockets. His dad, the mine foreman, didn't like, or support, his son's interest in rockets because he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps and run the mine one day. His son kept building rockets, eventually won a science fair, and 'met' his idol, Wernher von Braun (who later became the Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville). He earned a scholarship to college and then I forget what happened. All of the friends ended up being successful in something other than coal mining.

If you haven't seen the movie, you should rent it. It's a good story. If you have seen the movie, then you've seen my grandfather (Papaw).

Papaw's been fascinated by all types of rockets and aircraft since he was young. When his family moved to Birmingham from West Virginia to, go figure, work in the coal mines, my grandfather went to work with Hayes Aircraft instead. Hayes was located at the Birmingham airport, and he'd spend his lunch break watching planes come and go. He eventually retired from Hayes and took his electrical knowledge to the coal mines of west Jefferson County, but to my knowledge, he never swung a pick.

He's also fascinated by space flight. He's a ham radio operator, and he'll sit in his little radio room and listen to the astronauts talk to mission control for hours, that's when he's not watching the NASA network, of course. If you ever wondered who watches all of those lift-offs and landings, well, it's Papaw.

My Papaw turns 80 on February 16th. For his birthday, I was able to get two tickets to watch the March 15th shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida! How exciting is that? Not only will we be able to watch the lift-off from the closest possible public viewing area - which is the causeway at the Kennedy Space Center - but we also get to have breakfast before the launch with an astronaut! Afterward, we can peruse the Space Center as long as his heart delights.

I don't know how we'll get there, or where we'll stay, but I'm so excited for him. I hope and pray that there are no technical, weather, or other delays and that the launch goes off on the 15th.

But ssshhhh, it's a surprise.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Waffle House Wisdom

I like Waffle House, I really do. Eggs, grits, bacon, toast, waffles. What's not to like? Well, okay, they tend to be a little on the dirty it would be comparable to, on the durrrty scale, Paris Hilton. Sure, there are cleaner places to eat, the Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Alba type places (clean and good), but for a quick hit, Waffle House is a good place that could probably pass most health department standards.

Half of going to Waffle House is to eat, but the other half is to see who else is there and pick up a bit of worldly wisdom. Never, I mean never, in my history of eating in a Waffle House have I run in to any one that I know. I seriously can't recall a single occasion where I walked in and said, "Hey, there's _______." I don't know that many people, but you'd think that I would see someone at some point.

Sidenote: For those in the know, Chris and I live far enough apart such that there are a few Waffle Houses between us. We do not, therefore, frequent the same one. We have on occasion, met for breakfast, but driving past three Waffle Houses to get to the fourth doesn't make much sense to either one of us. Have I ever told you my idea for Cracker Barrel? Let's say that you're traveling, south on I-65 for instance, and you stop at the Cracker Barrel in Prattville for lunch. If there's a 45 -60 minute wait (which there always is at lunchtime at all Cracker Barrels every where), then I think you should have the option of asking the Prattville Cracker Barrel to call the Greenville Cracker Barrel and have your name added to their waiting list. You get back in your car, drive the 45 - 60 minutes from Prattville to Greenville, and when you arrive you are seated right away. It's a win/win/win for everyone. You don't lose travel time browsing through the John Deere Arts and Crafts store, Cracker Barrel keeps the customer (albeit at a different location) and I win for coming up with the idea. Win/Win/Win.

What was I talking about? Oh, yes, people at Waffle House. Leah, Jack and I went to Waffle House this morning for breakfast. We walk in and, of course, there's no one there that I know. THIS LOCATION IS LESS THAN A MILE FROM MY HOUSE! Anyway, we take our place at a booth next to the, surprisingly, crowded counter. There's a guy at the counter BEGGING for someone to ask him about himself. He even gives me a look like, ask me any question and I'll tell you all I know - and don't know - about the subject. I pass.

After about 10 minutes, he gets a bite from some older gentleman that was there by himself, no doubt there to enjoy a brisk Saturday morning's breakfast of coffee and waffles. Poor old man never saw it coming. I don't have the time or heart to cover every thing that the man at the counter said, but here's a rundown of the highlights:

He lived in Chelsea for 8 years and recently decided to move to "this side of town" because he didn't know anyone. I was confused if he meant that he didn't know any one in Chelsea, or if he knew EVERYONE in Chelsea and he had to move here to get out of Chelsea's blinding spotlight.

He runs his own company which, not surprisingly, has made him a fortune. He has "enough socked away that he could sit on his couch and do nothing for the rest of his life", if not for his go-getter attitude, which I'll discuss in more detail shortly.

When the older gentleman told him that his granddaughter was just accepted to Auburn, he responded that his daughter had just been awarded a soccer scholarship to Alabama. He, because he's worth a fortune, would have written her a check for the tuition to Auburn for her personal use AND THEN would have paid for her to go to Alabama. Of course he would be an Alabama fan.

Jack just realized that I'm on the computer, so I'll have to hurry. The best thing that he said, and the Waffle House Wisdom that I picked up for this trip was:

I let business walk away all the time because, and I've told my kids this, if you let people know that you need a job, then they'll walk all over you. If you act like you don't give a damn and couldn't care less about them or their work, well then you'll go places.

Let's all practice that theory today and then report back our findings.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Quick Question

Both American Idol and Grease: You're the One that I Want have held auditions in New York City this year. Isn't that a little like hunting on a baited field?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Just Gristle and Fat.

There are several things that I think would make the world a better place. Primary among them would be if Queen Rania of Jordan ran the show. Who could tell her no? Her prime time addresses would own the males 18 - 49 demographic, and I tend to appreciate her progressive social policies. Progressive is relative term, though.

I had to go to the eye doctor Monday for my annual exam. My eyesight is terrible, but it wasn’t always that way. My first pair of glasses - that I didn’t need until I was 20 - held lenses with not so powerful -.50 and -.75 strengths. Sitting in the waiting room I was wearing –4.75 strength contacts. Anyway, while I was waiting I flipped through a brochure for InfantSEE. The brochure recommended an eye exam for infants some time before their 1st birthday. Since Jack missed that deadline, I asked the eye doctor when we should bring Jack in to see him. He said that, since there wasn’t anything overly problematic in our family vision history, we should bring Jack in some time between his 2nd and 3rd birthdays. I half-jokingly said, “nothing problematic except that his parents can’t see.” He didn’t really laugh, then he handed me a sample pair of contacts with a new prescription. –5.25 in each eye. Do I win?

OHHHH, Karly will like this the mostest. My boss lady and I are co-authoring and submitting a column for publication! It’s not going to be in any publication that any of you would read; it’ll be in the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) Journal, but still. The topic is “Managing Broker Relations”, although, by asking me to help, she knows that I’ll take the angle less traveled. I’ve already decided to divert the focal point to “We’re ALL in Sales” and highlight the fact that Risk Managers know their organizations better than any one and should – instead of passing the chore off to the broker - take the lead in ‘selling’ the organization to insurance underwriters in order to achieve the best pricing and policy conditions. The problem with taking the angle less traveled is that there isn’t much previous research to steal or anyone else’s work to plagiarize.

Still awake?

I know that it’s boring to most everyone, but it’ll be fun and, if published, I’ll get 300 bucks!

Did anyone else see the Sneak Peak of "The Hills Season II"? I laughed out loud when Lisa was talking to Whitney about the summer in Paris and then she turned to Lauren and said, “And Lauren didn’t go to Paris, opting instead to rent a beach house for the summer with her boyfriend. How’d that work out for ya?” What a beeyotch…that was classic. I got a little defensive, however, because I’m on Team Lauren, I think…at least, the good boy inside of me would like to be Team Lauren. I might be on Team Kristin, though, because Kristin rocks a two-piece and she just used Stephen (although, I don’t know why when she could have used anyone), while Lauren was really in to him…and that’s a bunch of strikes again’ ya, LC.

I’m REALLY on Team Taylor.

What am I talking about? I’m 36 years old and have a one year-old. I’m on Team Wags and Team Pizza Guy.

Let’s see…what else…oh, between More or Less and The Conch Shack, I’ve been blogging for at least 2 years now. In that time I’ve started and finished one book, The Innocent Man, by John Grisham. Good book, but it will really make you wonder how many innocent people were found guilty, sentenced to death row and executed in the US in the 70’s and 80’s. In present day, I think that it would be harder to execute an innocent person because of DNA and other advances in crime scene forensics. Thirty years ago, that wasn’t the case and without a doubt quite a few innocent people were executed. By "quite a few", I mean more than one, and the part of me that sits left of center finds that to be deplorable.

Of course, 30 years ago a lot of guilty people probably ran free because the police didn’t have the tools or technology to evaluate evidence, either. So it’s really ying and yang…but life pretty much sucked for the guy in The Innocent Man. And Barry Scheck helped him…the same Barry Scheck that helped OJ go free…so there’s some real dichotomy going on.

Did I ever tell y'all that my great-grandmother shot and killed a man? She sure did.

The man, who was in a wheelchair, was somehow threatening my great-grandfather. The story goes that my granny had heard enough and when the man rolled on to Granny's front yard, she shot him with a 12 gauge shotgun. The underground rumor was that my great-grandfather actually shot the man and that Granny took the blame because, back then, they didn't have prisons for women, so women generally got off with a warning. Granny spent one night in jail and was released.

We've got copies of old news paper clippings. It's a true story.

I remember Granny, as do most people who remember their great-grandparents, as one of the sweetest persons I ever knew. She also didn't mind passing gas in public, which was very funny to my cousin Tony and I when we were 7 and 8, respectively. I'm giggling now just thinking about us in TG&Y and Granny letting one go. "Who opened the stink bait" was Papaw's standard. Still golden.

Back to reading, I've now started The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer. I like Meltzer’s work. While he’s not the writer that Grisham is, his chapters tend to be shorter. I love me a 3-page chapter. It makes me feel like I’ve done something and it encourages me to read a little more every night. If I see that the next chapter is only 4 pages, I'll probably keep reading. If the chapter is a long one, say 8 pages or more, I'll have to save it for the next night.

I’m now going to Google all of the sayings that I can remember my grandmother (Nana, not Grandmother) saying, like “what in tarnation?”, “Jim Sullivan fit” and “$hit fire” to see their origins. That should be fun.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What a weekend.

If you came to Jack’s party last Saturday and had to park down the street, I hope that you understand.

If you came to Jack’s party last Saturday and thought it odd that the man of honor didn’t like the large gathering, please understand that he comes by that honest. It was a lot for his father also.

If you came to Jack’s party last Saturday hungry and ended up with a headache because the food wasn’t there at 4:00 as advertised, please know that Leah ordered the pizzas at 12:30 and told them that we’d be there at 3:30 to pick them up. When we tried to pick them up at 3:30, we were told that the order had just arrived at the store and that it would be 30 – 40 minutes. 90 minutes later, at 5:00, the pizzas were finally ready. The bitchy store manager blamed the call center, the call center blamed the store, and the customer service rep gave us a $25 credit and the wrong phone number for the district manager.

If you came to Jack’s party last Saturday hungry and left hungry, I’m sorry. By the time that I got to the kitchen, there was one piece of thick crust pepperoni left…and that was it. Peeps like to eat pizza sans moderation.

If you came to Jack’s party last Saturday and you went upstairs and were uncomfortable because the air conditioner wasn’t on and it was hot upstairs, then I’m sorry. You should have said something. I would have opened a window or turn on the air. Mi casa es su casa. This apology does not apply if your name is Brian.

If you came to Jack’s party last Saturday and my dad told you that the last time his sciatic nerve flared up he couldn’t walk because his balls were so sore, you may be able to overcome this trauma without therapy. But please, don’t try to be a hero.

If you came to Jack’s party last Saturday, you have probably been to his last birthday party for a while.

Let’s see, what else happened this weekend? OHHH, how could I forget!!! It had been hyped for months, and the premiere was this weekend. Four episodes over the course of two days! It had it all; fast cars, strife, conflict, and unconventional alliances. I hope that you guys liked Johnny and the Sprites as much as we did.

The Golden Globes Award show was on last night. I wish that I could have kept a running blog. I liked doing that a couple of years ago. Nonetheless, I was glad to see that Sex and The City wasn’t in the running for Best Comedy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Wasted Comedy

My funny comment that no one got last week story:

JRod's female friend, NatLee, was at our house last week. She's a lady druggist in training (that's a holla to Elly Walker, the lady druggist on The Andy Griffith Show)...anyway, she and Leah were discussing a drug that Leah is going to start marketing in the next few weeks. It's not a new drug, just a new "line" that Leah will "carry". It's a sleep drug, similar to Ambien.

As Leah was discussing the medication with her, NatLee said that one of the drugs causes a "little bit of amnesia". Leah's mom, who is not afraid any medication, very non-dramatically asked, "What? It causes AMNESIA?"

NatLee tried to calm her down by saying, "Yes, but just a little bit of amnesia."

I jumped in to help further by saying, "It's such a small amount that you'll forget that you have it."

And that was my funny comment that no one got last week.

This just seems wrong...

Which marketing person at thought this would be a good tie-in story for their advertiser ( (Oh, I'm sure it was random...)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jammy is popular...worldwide

I know that I have more time than most people because I don't ever do anything constructive or important, but when you have a moment, click the 'Search Blog' button above and type in "Jammy".

Suprisingly, it's a fairly common name in the Netherlands, UK, and possibly even Manilla. I wonder how it's pronounced...There's also the Whammy Jammy Awards every year here in the US. Of course, they make Jammy rhyme with Whammy, but it's still fun to see in print.

Back to being worthless.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

BACK: Part 2

Leah just called and said that it took two mover mens about four minutes to move the treadmill from the den upstairs down to the garage. It would have taken my OCD self 4 minutes to decide whether to take the treadmill down heavy-end first, or light-end first. My nights of parking inside are over, I guess, but my nightly runs are about to start. For that reason, I am BACK. Boston '08! Or maybe '09!

Hey, Leah's going to San Diego in a couple of weeks and I'll get to park inside while she's away (because she'll drive her car to the airport and park in the deck).

Leah doesn't like Pop-Tarts.

Jack is one year old today. He was on NBC13 this morning. We have it DiVoed if any of you didn't see it. He was born at 6:17 PM, so we have a couple of more hours before he is one year EXACTLY.

I'm going to reserve complete judgment until I've actually heard or read the speech, but President Bush is going to be on TV tonight asking for some more money. And some more troops. Given the alternatives that the Democrats gave me (AlGore2.0 and the Mike Shula of Politics John Kerry), I'd still vote for Bush if I had it to do all over again, but wow.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bama is.....


We are BACK.

You Aubs can say you're not scared, but deep down in a place that you don't talk about in mixed company, you're feeling a little rumbling. The cake walk is OVER! The great MYTH that is Tommy Tuberville will be exposed!

I'm sure that Phat Phil is on a conference call right now with the Roys Adams and Kramer and they'll invite Rich Johanigmeier and Tom Culpepper over for a cup of tea and to concoct some crazy "Alabama's cheating" story.

But for today, WE ARE BACK!

Notwithstanding, we're going to wait 'til we know.