Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Crisis of faith...

I attended a church where the preacher thought the Bible was the actual inspired word of God.

He thought God’s grace was enough for whatever came up.

And then a bomb fell on his house and family.

(Not a real bomb, that might have be easier to explain.)

I know he knows God is still enough, but God appears to be standing by, waiting to see what the major players in this situation do.

I have some experience with this. I remember thinking a bolt of lightning might have been useful, if only God had decided to use it.

So the story goes on, slowly, without closure…pain is resurrected and recreated. And the people that are trusted with the next step seem to be doing help.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's all fun and games until the truck comes...

Gracie watches this show called “Piggly Winks.” It’s about a pig, a duck and a cow that are friends as children, told by the adult pig (years later) to his grandchild (or is it grandpig?).

Anyway, it never makes mention of what happened to his buddies. And it makes no sense to me that of all of them, the pig made it to adulthood.

Why rub out the duck? I guess the family (although they never are seen...what is this..Animal Farm?) was snowed in one Christmas and couldn’t get to the market to buy the Christmas meal. Otherwise, who sees a duck as ready cash?

And the cow? He could have been of use for years, and not just as a hamburger.

Why the pig survived, I have no idea. They produce nothing but waste and stench until they head off to the abattoir.

I’m waiting for the reunion show… with pate for an appetizer followed by filet mignon. But without, apparently, bacon bits on the baked potato.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The bad news is I have to buy a lawn mower...

We have to buy a house.

We need at least four bedrooms and would like to have five with an office. But I think I need some other stuff too.

1. A separate room for my golf clubs and golf related stuff. I have a couple extra sets and golf bags. I don’t want them in some closet somewhere, all jangled up. Same goes for my banjo and my guitar.
2. In the bathroom, I need a “new bar of soap” dispenser that I can reach from inside the shower. Or…I need a warning light that the soap is almost all gone that I can see BEFORE I get in the shower and get wet.
3. A workbench in the garage with my tools displayed. This way, if I want to cut off my finger with the circular saw, I’ll be able to easily find it and get started before the emergency room gets really busy.
4. A small refrigerator and pantry in the living room to easily get drinks and snacks without missing anything on TV. (I had thought this was why I got married, but I turned out to be mistaken.)
5. Basketball hoop.
6. Putting green.
7. Helicopter.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Did Nostradamus know I’d be posting about him today?

Frankly, I’m skeptical of his powers of prophesy.

First of all, his wife and children died of the Plague. Didn’t he see this coming?

And the rest of the “prophesy” was only apparent AFTER the event occurred. Yeah, he predicted a big fire in a major city…duh…when, where, why, how? Come on…

He is credited with predicting the rise of Hitler and Napoleon…really, you mean some guy would gain power and try to take over the world? His predictions are as useful as someone saying, “I told you so!”

He didn't predict anything really useful, like the invention of Bartles and Jaymes Wine Coolers or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

They say he predicted his death. Do I need to spell this out for you?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

20 years clean this April...

I slid hard into second base and heard a scream. It didn’t come from my lips.

When I looked up, there was Scott bleeding from the nose like a sieve. I had broken it. When he realized the blood was his, he jumped up and began to chase me. The reason he was chasing me was that I was running. Seemed like the thing to do.

I cut through the yard next to the ball field and jumped over a hedge. The house was about six blocks away.

He was gaining...angry is faster than terrified, apparently.

When I cut across the next street, I remembered that Tommy (an older friend of my parents) was home recuperating from knee surgery. He was a block away. I ran around the fence that had the dog, cut to the right, ran two more houses and ran up their driveway.

I slowed down and knocked on the door. “Tommy,” I asked, out of breath, “You there?”

“Yeah, come on in,” he said.

For the next couple of hours I sat with Tommy, talking about things (I skipped the part about the broken nose)…we played a game of Strat-O-Matic Football…and I had lunch with him. About 2 p.m., I very carefully made my way home.

I’ve only broken three noses since. But none since 1988.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Things Wikipedia won't tell you...

Yesterday was Earth Day. Back in 1970, a bunch of people convinced that we were about to enter into another ice age proposed an awareness day to promote the environmental movement.

It also doubled (same crowd, why not?) as a trade show for drug paraphernalia. There was a screening of "Reefer Madness."

The day was set as April 22 for a few reasons:
1. The birth of John Muir was April 21. He founded the Sierra Club. But, the people in charge thought his birthday was April 22. Oops.
2. Eddie Albert of the show Green Acres was born on April 22. In his honor, people shouted, “Give me that countryside!” at the opening ceremonies.
3. Julius Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day, was born on April 22. This was a nice honor…but now that Earth Day has largely overshadowed Arbor Day (only Nebraska still has it as an official holiday), I would suspect ol’ Julius is a bit miffed.

The FBI thought that there was another reason. The would-have-been 100th birthday of Lenin was April 22, 1970 and the boys from the bureau thought Earth Day was connected somehow. Ok, whatever.

Finally, yesterday was Holli’s birthday.

Honey, sorry the crazy people took over your special day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The pass that kept me out of Canton...

When I was nine, I played a year of football in Danville, Illinois. Helmets, pads, the whole thing. We had a pretty good team…only lost one game.

In that game (the only one I remember) the opening kickoff came to me…I juked left, then right, then backwards as I was driven into the ground. I still remember how much it hurt. I still remember how much I didn’t like it.

This is the moment I think back on as to why I didn't play a second season.

Later in the game, we scored a touchdown and went for two (we never kicked) but we had a false start…or rather, I had a false start. The coach decided we would try a pass play. And he put me in as quarterback.

I remember calling signals, and dropping back to pass…I saw three guys coming and threw it as hard as I could toward the designated receiver before I was smashed into the ground. It was incomplete. I never found out where the pass went…was it short? Long? Where?

I don’t remember much else. We lost 33-31.

I don’t think I handled the ball again for the rest of the year. For my wide receiver career, I never caught a pass. I had one thrown to me, but I dropped it.

Hit me right in the chest. I still think about that.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Giving Back...

I haven’t watched much TV lately. I feel bad about it.

I need to do a better job of keeping up with the people who helped raise me: Hawkeye Pierce, Alf, Bob Newhart, Gilligan, Jimmy Walker, Maxwell Smart and Fred Sanford. I’m sure there are many I’m forgetting.

I know I haven’t paid much attention to them lately, but I hope they don’t think I’ve forgotten them.

We need to plan a vacation together, and have some quality time to renew the friendships and create new memories.

I’ll take them by Wal-Mart and get them a soda. We’ll sit on the bench in front of the store and people-watch for a while. We won’t talk much, but we won’t need to…just some time together will be enough.

With the hustle and bustle of life, we need to remember those who were such a huge influence on our lives.

Have you hugged Scooby-Do today?

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I heard someone say this morning that one of the players in the tournament I am running is a cheater.

“Yeah, but,” replied the other person, “It’s part of their culture.”

Now, I’m not going to argue the validity of this. There are people that cheat at golf and they aren’t limited to only one demographic or nationality, but it seems that almost all of a couple of cultures either cheat on the course or on their handicap. Seems that way...I'm sure there are exceptions.

Where this comes from, I don’t know. But to hazard a guess, it seems to trickle down from the top…if your leaders (political and business) are known for dishonesty, the citizens will cheat also.

I’d write more, but my taxes are late (I filed for an extension) and I have some bogus charitable donation receipts to print on my computer.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

And petting a pit bull with a rib-eye in your pocket...

One of the definitions of insanity (the other being mixing tequila and wine coolers) is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Eight women came into the office yesterday with their bikinis on and demanded that we change the format of the golf tournament to accommodate them. When we explained why this couldn’t happen, they repeated themselves. We explained again. They repeated. It was like directions for shampooing your hair.

After three whinings and three explanations, they asked to speak to the boss. I told them I didn’t know exactly where he was at the time (he was upstairs, but I didn’t know EXACTLY where).

They began to repeat their reasons and pulled out the “we need to talk to the boss because YOU can’t do anything about it.”

This used to bother me. But now I just smile.

The “and it needs to be right now,” made an appearance.

They said they had to speak to him now, because the opening night dinner wasn’t the right place. (I guess the best time to discuss the format of a tournament is 13 hours before the first tee time in a bikini.)

And then they used “we won’t be coming back next year.”

I was hoping we’d get to that. These are just the kind of people we hope for…self-centered, impatient and demanding.

I sure hope they were serious.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I was going to post this yesterday...

Once upon a time there were these people who were always late. Their friends were annoyed so they started telling them to show up to things about a half hour early. When the late people came about a half hour late the next time (thus being on time) they noticed that the event they were attending hadn’t begun yet.

They figured that their hosts were a half hour late. So the next time, they came 45 minutes late to give their hosts a little extra time (that they needed) to get ready.

The hosts noticed this and told their friends to come an hour early next time. The friends, not wanting to be early came an hour and 15 minutes late…and noticed that things had just begun.

You see where this is going. If you want to see where it eventually gets, come here for a visit.

Here, the more important you think you are, the later you show up for things. A lot of things begin when the most important guy shows up. Until then, everyone waits.

What happens though, is that people (of lesser import) then figure that things won’t begin on time anyway, so they come late (and nothing happens) all the time. Now, everyone is late.

Eventually, time means nothing. We need someone to rise up and smite (not literally, just start on time) those who perpetuate lateness.

Somewhere there is a young man with guts, a consistent timepiece, and a determination to change the world regardless of the consequences.

I hope he also keeps his resume up-to-date. He'll need it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

From my favorite Airline: How Your Luggage Travels

From the ticket counter, your baggage is placed on a series of conveyor belts. We don’t know where they go, but sometimes they go to a location where bags are loaded into carts according to flight number and destination. Baggage handlers are on site to rummage through any interesting looking bags in order to remove things of value for sale on e-bay.

The baggage is loaded in the cargo compartment of the aircraft, usually thrown or dropped from a distance or height of not less than 24.5 feet, usually using another conveyor belt. Due to the amount of space in the compartment, bags will be placed flat, crushed, bent and stacked on top of each other. Although the baggage compartments are secured with nets or straps, bags will violently shift during flight due to the plane's angle during take-off. Your golf clubs won’t make it.

Tip: As this is the standard or normal way all bags are transported, breakage or damage to fragile items is unavoidable. Do not pack fragile items inside your checked luggage. Baggage handlers will be on site to make sure all fragile items are broken.

In the likely event your baggage is damaged, it must be reported in person to a Baggage Service Representative within 24 hours for domestic itineraries and within 7 days for international itineraries after the arrival of the flight on which the bag was checked.

The service representative will ignore your first five calls, then argue with you. If you persist, you will be asked to fill out a form that is as thick as the Milwaukee phone book. This form will be lost. The second time the form is filled out, it will be rejected for lack of completion. A campaign of phone calls, letters and threats will need to be carried out before your claim is honored for 1.7% of the value of the damaged items. Please allow 2-4 years for the claim check to arrive.

For lost baggage, just hope they find it. When you inquire, the Customer Service Representative will either claim to know where it is and not send it to you or claim to not know where it is located. Either way, your bag will arrive when they are good and ready to give it to you.

Good Luck!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's not raining...I'm not wet...

Last night’s midnight debate took place between a PHD’ed researcher doing an obesity study and a guy with a big gut.

The guy with the big gut put down his beer and cigar to tell us that he felt that his method of controlling, or maintaining…or maybe just not dying of a heart attack was working just fine. He told us of low cholesterol. He told us of low blood pressure…obviously achieved from his lack or worry about his health.

The PHD-type made his points and the guy with the big gut just whacked them aside with the ever popular, “I’m doing just fine.” I guess he won the argument because he wasn’t hooked up to a respirator or anything.

This is largely the same approach the atheists take when they say they see no evidence of God. I guess they are daring God to show up and prove that He exists.

The guy with the gut is daring his body to prove him wrong.

After a while, the PHD-type said “ok, whatever” and went back to eating his cheeseburger.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

On the short end of the battle of wits...

Gracie follows directions pretty well for a 3-year old, but I think she is training to be a lawyer.

Here’s my end of the conversation.

“Don’t write on your hand please…”

“Don’t write on your arm please…”

“Don’t write on your leg please…”

“Don’t write anywhere on your body!”

“No, don’t write on John…I don’t care if he doesn’t mind if you do. He doesn’t know any better.”

“Don’t write on the bedspread. No, write on the paper. Grace….only on the paper. Yes. No where else. I don’t care what ________ gets to do. Yes, you can get other paper. Wait. No, not that paper. That’s a book. Yes, I know books are made of paper. No, don’t write in it.”

This is clearly my fault. I need to learn to be more specific.

Maybe she is training me...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Must see TV...

Los Angeles, CA -- This fall, the Fox Network will add to the reality show list with a creation designed to challenge players to learn the art of sincerity.

“You can be serious!” hosted by John McEnroe will be placed into the Monday 9:00 Eastern Time slot.

Contestants will be chosen from nominations submitted by friends, co-workers and family members, who wish to see the nominee drop their narcissistic, caustic, sarcastic persona and soften their tone.

Seven contestants will vie for $200,000 each show, with the winner taking home $125,000. There will be two criteria for success: Talking and Listening. In the talking portion, questions the contestants will need to answer could include: “What do you want me to do with this?”…”What will we do if it rains?” and ”Does this skirt make my butt look big?”

Contestants will not have an opportunity to see the questions beforehand. Instead, their spontaneous answer will be judged by a panel of experts, the audience and the internet community.

The panel of experts is yet to be finalized, but the short-list includes Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, and Jerry Springer.

Players will be eliminated during the hour-long show until only two contestants remain. The audience will then team with real-time internet participants to pick the winner.

The listening portion of the competition will ask the contestants to pay attention during a recount of an important event without inserting an attempt at comedy, a story about themselves, or falling asleep. They will be judged on their timing, tone and facial expression as they say, “I see”…”uh huh”…and “that’s interesting.”

The road to not being such a self-centered jerk begins September 21.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I was kicked out of debate club for arguing...

I wrote a letter this morning that may ensure that some people never speak to me again.

If that’s how it goes, so be it.

Many people are afraid to stand up and say what they think. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because what they think might not stand up to scrutiny.

I’ve been accused of being blunt. From some, it a compliment. From others, it’s an accusation.

I like a good debate. If you think I’m wrong, just tell me. I can deal with it. Those are the qualities of my favorite people…unafraid to argue their point with the assurance that we will remain friends.

Even if when they’re wrong. Or when I am.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Love letter, sort of...

The polygamists are in the news again.

I think the media’s fascination with the polygamists is that they can’t believe everyone involved isn’t stark-raving mad. They may be right.

First of all, there are multiple mother-in-laws. Now I have a great mother-in-law, but the law of averages dictates that you are going to get a bad one 50% of the time. At least. And you don’t think they’d complain (the bad ones) about you having more than one wife? Even the good ones might complain about that. And the bad ones would poison the good ones against you. Count on that.

Then, there is the entire 12-day a month the world is coming to an end theory. This means that a little less than half the time, things aren’t right and you may be to blame. So, no matter what, someone is mad (or disappointed or just plain crazy) almost all of the time.

Paper products. You’d need a warehouse.

Good luck with the toilet seat debate.

And when it’s time for a polygamist to go out and recruit another one, how does he break it to the others? This must be an interesting conversation.

And wedding rings…do you order them in bulk?

As for me, I’m not interested in having more than one woman (wife) at a time mad at me. Or happy with me, for that matter.

I’m thrilled with the one I’ve got.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Divorce sucks...

I have kept my mouth shut for a long time on this one. It may be a record.

My friend is out of work. We don’t need to pass the hat…he has been blessed, deservedly so, I think.

But he didn’t work for the money, really. He led a church that I attended for many years. He told me the truth and expected it from me.

His leaving has seen people who sat next to each other in church for years, who ate dinner together and who shared their lives separate.

He didn’t ask them to separate, but the reasons given (or not given) for him leaving are vague and contentious. The ruling body (we are Presbyterians) found that there are no chargeable offenses by either the elders of the church or him. This is good news. We knew it all along, but now we have the backing of an outside ruling body.

There is much being said on both sides. The saddest thing is that there are sides.

I’ve read the thoughts of wise men. On both sides.

I have also read the thoughts of one person who should have the SEND button on their email taken away.

I’ve argued over email. I’ve talked on the phone. I’ve prayed.

But I haven’t worried. They will someday reconcile. I hope it is soon.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sandra Boynton is more interesting than Daddy...

I was going to write a thing today about a new airline that has appeared in the Dominican Republic called “Take Off!” I had jokes about whether Doug and Bob MacKenzie owned it and before I got on they would have to change their name to “Take off AND Land,” but something else happened.

The fifth-hole at Teeth of the Dog played 156-yards (Blue Tees) yesterday. I selected and 8-iron and swung. It went into the hole.

I brought the scorecard home, but I don’t know what I’ll do with it. There probably won’t be a museum exhibit dedicated to me and if there is, I think the golf accomplishments will be overshadowed by whatever prompted the reason for me being in the museum in the first place.

I told Gracie that I made a hole in one. She asked, “You made a what?”

“A hole in one,” I repeated.

“Why did you do that?” she asked. “Let’s read Snuggle Puppy.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In this corner...Obama Creed...

I don’t know if this has been said yet, because I didn’t stay up last night and watch the endless drivel that is the coverage of the Obama-Hillary pandering contest.

Hillary’s statement that she is like Rocky (not the squirrel…the guy from the movie) is true in some cases and I hope continues to hold true.

The similarities:
1. Rocky’s brother in law was a ne’er do well alcoholic. Check.
2. Rocky did odd jobs (or whatever it took to get money) for what appeared to be, the mob. Maybe she hasn’t, but if a donation is possible…she would. Check.
3. Rocky got his butt kicked in Pennsylvania by a slick-talking black man. Let’s hope so.

To be fair, the differences:
1. Rocky dressed better.
2. Rocky actually HAD experience…and didn’t need to lie about it.
3. When Rocky got knocked down, he didn’t cry. He just got back up.
4. Rocky didn’t compare himself to whomever the local hero was…not even fictional ones.

I could write more…I’m not an Obama fan. But I prefer a sincerely wrong candidate to an insincere power-mad lunatic.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

He did like 28 in a row once...

I’ve been on the lam for more than 20 years.

When I was 19 or so, I rented a trailer with Mike, a guy I graduated high school with. He was the Senior Class President. During commencement, his speech (the President and Valedictorian got to speak) included a hello to his wife and baby.

A couple of years later, he was divorced and living the bachelor life in a trailer park. The fun lasted until Mike got a DUI and lost his license. With no way to get to work (the grocery store he could walk to from the trailer park fired him for stealing beer – his ex-girlfriend turned him in) he had to move back in with his parents and went to rehab, where his legendary talent in the game of “Quarters” just wasted away. Tragic, really.

I guess there was a lease involved with the trailer, but Mike had handled that. I paid the full rent for a few months, but decided to move away and go to college in a town that didn’t have a liquor store every 100 yards or so.

After a few months, the landlady put out a warrant for my arrest for failure to honor a contract. Also, I had left about 30 plastic milk crates that were the backbone of my home entertainment center. The people from Land O’ Lakes wanted to have a chat with me.

To add to it, the week after I left, the post office forwarded a letter to my new address from the Kentucky DMV, telling me my license had been suspended for six months. Something about speeding and points. I think I was framed.

By then, I had already gotten a West Virginia license, so I WAS truthful when I checked the “no” box next to the “is your license currently suspended in another state?” question.

I often wonder where Mike is...