Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #7 – Things that have been on my mind lately

A lot of different things have been on my mind lately. Some important, some not-so-much. The last time I did something like this, one person told me I could do a whole post about each of my thirteen. This time, I will tone down the details. If anyone sees one that they think I should do a whole post on, let me know and I will.

This is what has been on my mind lately – in no specific order:

1. YouTube – I have been thinking about doing some kind of “show” for the site. I guess the same thing that makes me blog is drawing me to YouTube. Of course, I will have to get a camcorder (i.e. digital video camera).

2. The guy that lives across the street from my house. – This guy is always looking out his front door – ALWAYS. Everytime I leave, arrive or check the mail, there he is. It is driving me out of my ever-loving mind.

3. Taxes – My living situation has changed drastically – and I have some complicated real estate (interest) things to factor in. I need a tax accountant. H&R Block isn’t going to do it, I think.

4. SuperBowl Party - I am currently thawing a turkey to take to my nephews. My wife told me she was going to opt out of going because she doesn’t like football. That’s very nice. I wish I had the same kind of choices for the things that she cares about.

5. Changing my blog over to the “NEW BLOGGER with Google and Gmail”. I have been bypassing the switch page, but today there was no getting around it. I feel like those during the coming Great Tribulation that are forced to take the mark of the beast on their foreheads.

6. My intern – she is really a piece of work. She had me fuming under my calm exterior the other day.

7. Still trying to sell my house – the cold weather and my mother’s needs have been challenging. Still, I have some people coming to look at it in the next week or two.

8. My best friend's marriage is on the rocks.

9. My diet – I have lost 19 lbs in four weeks thanks to things like crustless pizza.

10. My church – I am wanting to join a small group (it’s a Bible study, but it is the closest thing I will have to therapy ;), but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

11.My beloved IU basketball team. They just beat 2nd ranked Wisconsin last night, bless their new cheating coach’s heart.

12. My budget at work. I am supposed to get a new computer (I’m still running Windows 98). I am just concerned about what I am going to have to do to earn it.

13. My other blogs that I haven’t really started yet – one for spiritual things and the other about sports. I just started messing with the templates when my job got ultra-busy. Now with this new blogger, I think I lost the work I was doing on my templates. Hate it!

That’s it for this week. Remember, if you think any of these are blogworthy, makes you curious enough for me to elaborate, let me know.

Violating Curfew


Good news! I have another tiff to report in newlywed land. Again, the
marriage isn't in trouble blah blah blah, I just know that some of
you guys like to read the gossipy side of this psycho's life.
Uh . . . I mean some of you like to see these conflicts from a male
point of view.

Friday night, my wife and I were watching a movie. She wasn't feeling
well so she decided to go to bed at about 9:30 pm. Did I mention it
was Friday night?

I told her to get some rest because I knew how it was to not feel
well. Sometimes, one just has to go to bed - even on a Friday night.
Seriously, I had no problem with her going to bed. I have gone to bed
early before like that so it was fine with me.

After she was in bed for about a half an hour when I decided that I
would go to check on my mother like I do EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I take
off leaving a light and the TV on because I didn't think I would be
gone long and I thought the TV coming on when I get back would be
more disruptive of my wife's sleep than just leaving it on with the
volume down very low (so low that she couldn't hear it). This is not
a Jeff only practice, by the way, the wife has been known to leave
things this way when running a quick errand.

I get over to Mom's and she is in the bathroom. Mom takes a long
while in the bathroom before bedtime because she is disabled and it
just takes her a while. So, since I have an office at my mother's
house, I decide to get online and check my email, some blogs, etc. I
ended up on Ebay and I lost track of time.

I ended up coming home at about ten till one to find all the lights
out and the TV off. I decided to go into the bedroom and see if she
was awake. She was.

I asked her why she turned the things off and she read me the riot
act. It kind of reminded me of a kid being ripped by his mom, except my mom wasn't ever THAT strict. I didn't receive it too well - me being an adult and all.

She said, "I didn't know where you were! I called your cell and
it just rang because you left it here," (next to my wallet, by the way).
She continued, "Then I called your mom's house and it was busy so I
guess you were online."

I responded, "Yeah! Where else would I be without my wallet and cell
phone." I went on to explain about mom and ebay and such.

"I just didn't know where you were!" she snapped again.

"I think you did; you just admitted it."

"I didn't know WHAT you were doing online!" she retorted.

"I am on the Internet a lot and you never have been concerned up till
now. I don't know what YOU do online either, but it has never been an
issue."

"Well," she decided to go in a new direction, "I can't afford for you
to leave the light and TV on like that." I felt like a kept man except for the simple fact that I make more than she does.

After that comment, I knew that there was not going to be a meeting
of the minds. I just said okay and walked out of the bedroom and let
her sleep. A movie (or at least part of a movie) later, I was asleep
on the couch.

The next morning, she acted like everything was normal. I left well
enough alone.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Funny Thing About Animals

I don't know what it is about me and animals, but they really effect me. Yesterday, the Kentucky Derby winning horse Barbaro was put down. I am not going to go into all the problems the horse has had. Unless you live in a cave (that doesn't get TV) you have heard all you want to hear about it.

My thing is that hearing about Barbaro's death effected me almost as much as my own dogs. I love animals - especially dogs and horses. There is something about them that pulls on my heartstrings.

As sad as it is, when I hear about a human death, even a child, it doesn't effect me like when an animal loses its life. I guess it has something to do with innocense. Humans have more power over their choices. Animals are here for us and usually are here to serve us or give us companionship. When they die, you know it wasn't because they made wrong choices - not in the sense that we have choices.

I followed Barbaro from the Derby to his tragic injury at the Preakness Stakes. When most owners would euthanize the animal right there on the spot, Barbaro's owners tried every course it could to save his life. I respect that. Every week, or so, I would read a blurb in the paper of how things are looking up for him. It was like checking on an old friend. Now the friend is gone and I do feel the loss.
I am still baffled how something like a leg injury can be so tragic for horses. I can't believe that technology hasn't caught up in the world of vetrinary medicine to overcome such problems. However, Barbaro is an example of how even after eight months after the leg injury, healing from it is still a long shot.

I think we will probably see that owners now because of the tragic ending of Barbaro's injury and treatment, will opt out of even going to the expense to try to save their horses. What I hope is that Barbaro will inspire new methods of treating horses with such injuries.
I know I am wrong for seemingly caring about things like this as much as I do. I guess I wished that people would earn my compassion more than they do.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6 - If I Won the Lottery

The Powerball went off at an estimated $240 million. I rarely play, but I did this time. This is a list of things I would do if I hit it big (in no particular order).

I would:
  1. Get out of debt. Does this need an explanation?
  2. Take care of my family and friends’ problems and upgrade their circumstances.
  3. Set up a scholarship program for kids in my area. I wouldn’t have any particular criteria that they would have to meet; I would just have them write an essay telling me why they should get it. I would love to see the creativity and the values these kids would submit to me.
  4. Set up a fund and anonymously give to people who show need (from news stories from TV and newspapers).
  5. Upgrade my life with new vehicles (the Lord knows we need to) and to a larger house outside of the city with horses and a big area to acquire dogs (I cannot stand shelters that euthanize).
  6. Move my mother into my house and have someone to look after her medical and sanitary needs daily.
  7. Move my sister with MS into the best assisted living program. As it is now, she lives in an apartment with one of those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” buttons.
  8. I would move my other sister (health problems) into my mother’s house and upgrade everything there for her.
  9. I would allow my father-in-law to retire early and move to our town (he has planned that after his retirement). I would also buy him an RV because he loves to travel.
  10. I would pay for my brother-in-law’s college.
  11. I would earmark a big chunk for my wife’s family’s needs that I am unaware of.
  12. I would give a percentage of the winnings (probably about 20%) to various ministries (those that help people).
  13. I would give a monthly prize to the person who thoughtfully (not necessarily kindly - just someone who puts thought into it) comments on my blog the most!

This isn't all I would do. I would certainly invest and make sure my family was taken care of for the future. I also wouldn't quit my job. Time to check my numbers!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tired . . . Must . . . Have . . . Sleep . . . zzzzz

I am usually not one to write about my day like my blog is a diary (not there's anything wrong with it), but I need to vent. Yesterday wasn't tragic, but very annoying.

I get up at 5-ish to run/walk my dog Marley. So far so good except that it was early. My wife later asks me why I didn't come home last night. WHAT? She was asleep when I got home and asleep when I left with Marley. She woke up to freshen up at 5:20 and I wasn't there. Duh.

At work, I have unteen dozen projects going on with the clock ticking. I take off to take my mother to a neurolgist. The neurologist is annoying because she is the kind of doctor that doesn't listen. Today, I have to take off to take Mom to get an MRI.

Later, I rush home to make sure Mom has dinner and her meds ready and take off to meet a friend at my old high school's basketball game. Here in Indiana, high school basketball used to be huge. We had a one-class system (meaning all schools big and small compete for ONE state championship - see the movie "Hoosiers"). We even had the state championships on ESPN. A few years back, the lack of wisdom showed up and now we have four classes and no one really cares about high school basketball anymore. But I digress. This year our team has a good shot at a state title but last night they got beat and looked horrible. This always leaves a bad taste.
Then I rush home because I am suppose to meet another friend (a particular needy friend) to go for a walk and talk. I am late because of the game. I rush over there and I don't get home till about 11:00.
Then, I watch my beloved IU Hoosiers play Illinois that I tivo'd just to watch them lay a major egg and get beat (Hey, I made a funny: egg - beat). I really could have used the sleep instead of watching that fiasco.
So today, after getting up early again am very tired and hating sports.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Put up the Cart, Blanch!

As I reported earlier, the next number of weeks will be very busy for me. So it doesn't get too far out of hand, I decided to put a quick post - rant in today.

I hate it when people do not put shopping carts into the little cart corrals they have in store parking lots. Why is this so hard? Instead of pushing the cart any where from 6 to 30 feet, some folks just leave them to take up parking spaces.

Is it that they think they are too good to deposit them in the right place? Is it that they can't be bothered? I have a theory that these people are the same people that throw trash out their windows. It is just a trashy thing to do.

Wouldn't it be great if stores monitored the parking lots electronically and noted the license plates of these offenders? They could ban them from the stores. I know, it is just dreaming. Money plays to big a role. Maybe they could just hire thugs to scare them on the sly. That way, it doesn't look like the store is responsible and a little fear gets put in them. People respond to fear, you know? How do you think GWB got re-elected?

Here is a challenge for you. ALWAYS put your cart in the little corrals or return them to the store front. AND, for the best among you, grab an extra one on your way and take it with you. I'd like to hear about it if you do!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Interesting Take on Do-Gooders.

Reg Henry writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette. He is originally from Australia and has a unique perspective on life. I am almost always amused by his column. I particularly enjoyed this one:

To my mind, one of the oddest slurs hurled against anyone is that he or she is a "do-gooder." Apparently our society has decided that it is a terrible thing to do good, although this is not what we tell our children.

Public prejudice against the "do-gooder" is enshrined in an unflattering dictionary definition --"A person who seeks to correct social ills in an idealistic, but usually impractical or superficial, way." This meaning reflects the understanding of an old proverb: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

That may be so. I have never actually been in hell -- I just remember high school algebra class.

But it occurs to me that the road to hell is more often paved with bad intentions or their close relations, which are indifference and/or arrogance. (If it's a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation project, potholes may also be built into the paving.)

I reckon "do-bad-ers" with their hard hearts also help pave the road to hell, but it is only "bleeding hearts" that are seen as the problem. "Bleeding heart'' is a popular alternative epithet to "do-gooder."

Yes, bleeding hearts and do-gooders are a risible lot, annoying interferers in the tough, no-nonsense, practical-minded business of life. But I have to think that good intentions and pulsing hearts have also paved the road to heaven.

Slavery and Jim Crow discrimination were intractable in their day, weaved tightly into the social fabric. The tough-minded people and the ones with the coldest hearts knew that nothing would ever change. As it happened, they knew nothing at all because their souls did not know the power of good whereas those pesky do-gooders always had a sense of it.

If it weren't for do-gooders and bleeding hearts, kids would still be down the mines. There would be no social policy built on compassion -- no Social Security, no worker protections, no access for people with disabilities, no universal health coverage -- wait, scrub that last one, the do-gooders are still working on it.

Why, if it were up to those darn do-gooders, capital punishment would be banned universally, even for the worst tyrants and criminals such as Saddam Hussein and his lieutenants.

Do-gooders have an irritating way of spoiling the fun. They are not put off by standing up for principle even when very bad men like Saddam and his fellow butchers are involved. And who could possibly be against killing Saddam? The Vatican, for one. That pope is an incorrigible do-gooder.

Fortunately for the hardboiled realists, no one listens. Saddam Hussein and his mates went to the gallows. To be sure, there were -- ahem! -- glitches. Saddam met his end after being taunted by sectarian enemies. The head of Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim was severed during his execution. All this served to inflame an already combustible situation. Hurrah for us!

I suppose this is what you get when guys who couldn't organize a booze-up in a brewery (the Bush administration) team up with others (the Iraqi government) who couldn't execute arch-butchers without making them martyrs. But then our road to hell in Iraq is a parody of do-goodery, as we proceed in "an idealistic, but usually impractical or superficial, way."

These macabre scenes moved Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to say: "We were disappointed there was not greater dignity given to the accused under these circumstances."

Dignity? Well, a head rolling about is a tad undignified but really it is all a sliding scale. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, but we say that we can be vengeful with dignity or else we pretend it isn't vengeance at all, even as the execution video circulates like pornography.

In the interests of dignity, we have taken public executions out of the public square where vendors used to go around selling treats to the slavering crowd. We have invented execution lite, strapping people to gurneys and injecting them with fatal drugs.

But even if we killed criminals by making them watch public television fund drives until they expired, it would still be undignified. Premeditated killing is always undignified. The crowd outside still drools in its imagination.

The biggest ones drooling are often those who should be doing good. The One they follow once stopped an execution with the words "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." Later, he became the most famous example in history of the unfairness of capital punishment.

Does anyone notice the irony? Nah, only those blasted do-gooders do.

Thursday Thirteen #6 - States I have been in.


Last week I wrote a book on Thursday Thirteen. This week I will give you a break. These are the thirteen states* that during my life up to now, I have lived in or visited. In no particular order:

1. Indiana - born and reared (sometimes raised).
2. Kentucky - work there now. I remember as a kid coming across the bridge at the Ohio to go swimming in the lake at John James Audubon State Park. Of course, swimming in lakes now seem to be passe'.
3. Tennessee - I have been there a number of times. The first time was when I was 13 when my mother took us to the Elvis Presley museum among other sites.
4. Florida - When I was in grad school, a friend of mine took me to Orlando and Cocoa Beach for a long weekend. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and wanted me to accompany her since the trip was already planned and most importantly, paid for. It was a totally platonic trip, but she wanted to rebound. This was the first time I flew anywhere.
5. Illinois - Been there quite a bit. The first trip to Chicago was on a field trip in high school. If you ever go, stop by Geno's East for pizza!
6. Missouri - My first memory of St. Louis was my mother taking me there for a baseball game. Mom was great!
7. Nevada - When I got my present job, I cancelled a trip to Detroit for a conference and opted for a different conference in Las Vegas. It was one of my better decisions. I went back to that conference a couple of years later. They no longer have it now and I have neon withdrawl.
8. Arizona - During one of my trips to Las Vegas, I saw the Hoover Dam. Close to it was the state line of Arizona and they make a big deal about the time zone change. I walked into Arizona and back.
9. Ohio - First memory was my mother taking me to a baseball game - good ol' mom. Since then, I have been there a ton. I went every weekend there for six months when my mother had her 34 hours of brain surgery there. It is a four hour drive!
10. West Virgina - Went there for my college fraternity's national convention. Wheeling is a neat town.
11. Pennsylvania - I went to the outskirts of Washington, PA when I went to Wheeling - just to say I have been in Pennsylvania. Since then, I have flown into Pittsburgh.
12. Virgina - I visited Arlington National Cemetary when I went to DC for a conference. It was very sombering.
13. Washington D.C. - Yeah, I know it isn't a state, but it kind of acts like one. It is a city in the US that isn't in a state. If you think about it, it is very strange. What is a "district" anyway and why don't we have more than one?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Other Side

I guess I am giving my marriage a bad name. I tend to write about the spats and the negative stuff because it evidently is more interesting. Those posts and the ones immediately following have the most hits on my blog. Let's face it, marital soap opera stuff sells copy.

However, Jerry from The WriteJerry has made recent comments that made me think that I am misrepresenting it. Jerry makes great comments and he is very knowledgeable about marriage and relationships so I take all his comments very seriously. At any rate, I thought I would give you a snapshot that I normally don't give.

Two nights ago, the wife and I were watching television. At about 9:00 pm, I left to check on my mother (she is disabled so I check on her nightly making sure she has taken her medicine and is good to go to bed). I get back about 20 minutes later and find this note on top of things that I need for bed that she got out for me: "In case I am asleep when you get back, I want you to know that I love you very much. Love (the wife)"

The next morning (yesterday), my wife found on the bathroom mirror when she got up (I was out jogging with the dog): "I love you very much, too! Your husband"

(I WAS INTERRUPTED BY THE MAIL CLERK RIGHT HERE - read on this interruption is pertinent)*

Last night, when my wife got home from class (she works all day and takes nursing classes some evenings), I met her at the door with a cup of her favorite tea. As she unwound on the couch enjoying her tea, I gave her a back rub and a foot massage.

*To top it off, right in the middle of typing this post, the mail clerk came in with a puzzled look on her face. She escorted me down to the mail room where she handed me a big, red ball that had postage on it. It read, "You have bounced right into my heart! - Surprise! I love you (the wife)."

So to all who read my blog and are concerned that my wife and I hate each other and are headed for disaster, it isn't really that bad. ;)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Worn Out

It is high time for another marriage complaint post. As a newlywed, from time to time I will complain about the matrimonial state that I was dragged kicking and screaming into. This is one is just kind of funny, so it is no big deal. So let's just consider the obligatory "I love my wife . . ." and all that disclaimer stuff as rendered.
Saturday, the wife and I stopped at O'Charley's and had dinner in the bar. SIDENOTE: I LOVE my city's new anti-smoking ordinance (with apologies to Walt and Bonnie). Now, instead of waiting 20 minutes for a table, we can walk into the bar, seat ourselves, watch sports, get the bar specials (e.g. half-price appetizers) and not get pelted with vaporized tar. It is wonderful! Anyway, the first playoff game of the day was on the big screen and it was winding down in the last quarter. Our local team, as local as it gets around here, the Indianapolis Colts had a small lead. I wanted to sit where I could at least keep track of the score and get updates. However, my wife gets testy and proclaims, "I am sick of you and your sports!"

Ladies, I can hear your mindworks as you read this. Let me address your concerns and your temptation to jump to the darkside on this issue: First, I do NOT have a track record of ignoring her when a game is on. I have my priorities straight when it comes to these things. I can keep track of a game without being neglectful. I don't WATCH the game in situations like this I check in with it every 5 or 10 minutes or so - and it IS the PLAYOFFS for criminy's sake.

Secondly, I had just spent the WHOLE day with her SHOPPING!!! I hate shopping. Men and women have different ideas about shopping. Men go get what they need and get out. Not women.
Taking a woman shopping is like taking a dog for a walk. Even when you are winding the thing up - heading towards a cashier, she stops at every rack and display on the way like a dog needing to stop at every tree and fire hydrant to mark its territory on the way back to the house.
Shopping to women is like sports to men. It is entertainment! Well, I for one, am not amused with it. Still, despite me hating it (and she knows I do), I still urinate away about 5 hours at the mall and a department store (looking for registry items for her friend's baby shower). So, while the Colts are trying to stay alive in the playoffs, I am answering questions like, "does this make me look fat?"!
So, after a day of torture, should I not be able to keep track of the last ten minutes of playoff game? Well . . ., I did. ;)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #5 - Random Childhood Memories

Originally, I was going to do another "new year" type of list, but it is already a little tired - like me. So instead I am going to list memories I had when I was kid. These just popped in my head and have no order or are necessarily important. I just happen to remember these things.

1. I remember sitting in my winter coat on the step of my neighbor and playing with her dog. It was a white chiwauwa. I can't remember the dog's name, but I know I wanted one. I was two years old.

2. When I was 11, I was at little league practice and was hitting fly balls to the outfielders. I reached down to pick up a ball and another ball came from nowhere and hit the ground below me, bounced up and hit me in the mouth. It knocked out a tooth, busted my lip, and there is still a dark spot on my lip from it. I was yelling at everyone to find my tooth because I can get money for it.

3. My neighbor across the street, who volunteered to walk me to kindergarten, took me under her apple tree and kissed me several times. It was my first experience with an older woman (I think she was 8).

4. Again, in little league, I was an eleven year old pitcher pitching the last inning of night game under the lights. We were playing our rival. We had a small lead and I had to get their best hitters out for us to win the game. The thing was that I was sick as a dog (why does this phrase exist?). I struck the first two guys out and the third guy hit one back to me. I fielded it and tossed it to first to win the game. The whole team went to Pizza Hut to celebrate on the coach's dime, except me. I went home to bed.

5. I remember when I was three or four, I found these little balloons in the sliding compartment of my parent's bed. I asked my mom what they were, but I don't remember her answer. I think she avoided the question.

6. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, a bunch of the neighborhood kids and I started our own sandlot baseball league in the school yard. We lined the base paths with flour and used our bikes as the home run wall. My team was the Red Sox.

7. One time I spent the night at a friend's. It was kind of a male slumber party although we never called it that. Someone made prank calls to a girl's house down the street and we all got in trouble. To determine who did it, the kids decided that we all had to pull our pants down in front of the girl. To this day, I don't know how that would prove anything. I told them I had to use the bathroom and lit out for home on my bike to escape. I was too bashful. All the kids chased me home but they didn't catch me before I got in. I was blamed for the dirty deed although I had nothing to do with it. I was about ten.

8. The same neighborhood kids formed a sandlot tackle football league. We even played other kids in other neighborhoods.

9. I traveled to Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, KY (an amusement park) with my best friend and his two brothers. His father took us in a little Volkswagon Beetle. I was stuck in the middle in the back seat - packed in like sardines. The dad got mad at one of the brothers and turned around to hit him on the leg. He got me instead. He apologized, but told me that I got in the way. I remember thinking, "Where could I have gone?" I was about ten.

10. I remember playing junior league football. It was my first year and I was small so I didn't play much. One day after practice as I was waiting for someone to pick me up, I played catch with the coach's son. He threw me long bombs (passes) and I caught all of them over my shoulder on a dead run. After that, I played more in games.

11. I was in a group of kids that decided we were going to hunt at the levee. Two of us carried BB guns and the rest of us made spears out of large dining utencils, broomsticks, and duct tape. We speared fish(very large carp) in the stream that ran along the levee.

12. Again at the levee, in the winter we used to sled on those plastic boat-looking sleds down the levee. My best friend and I were the only ones brave enough to aim towards the woods and risk hitting trees at full speed (which we did) - not to mention sliding over frozen water. We were idiots and it was great!

13. One of the most fun memories was of bumper riding. This happened in the winter when snow and ice were over the roads. As cars drove down the road, we would grab the rear bumper and slide along the snow until the car arrived at a busy intersection. Sometimes we had permission. Sometimes we didn't.

Those are what comes to mind. No wonder I am a warped individual. ;)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Late for Winter

What an adventure! SIX FEET OF SNOW, but we had to get the syrum through. It was mush, Mush, MUSH, I tell you. Then we heard the crack like a mighty oak splitting down the middle. It was an avalanche! Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggghhh!

Well, it wasn't quite like that, but this morning when I was walking my faithful canine Marley, it started out fine. The weather had turned a little colder since we have been having a downright balmy winter here in Indiana. Still it wasn't that bad as we walked away from the house. I heard a lot of wind in the trees, but didn't really feel much . . . until we headed back towards the house.

The wind that was only an ear stimulant was pelting us right in the face. Marley didn't care, but I sure did. It must have picked up because it seemed like I had to lean forward to get through it. Yet, I didn't feel it pushing me just minutes before.

This winter has been very strange. I like it warm. I do like to see snow every once in a while, but I do enjoy not having to lug around a coat.
Some blame the mild winter on global warming. Some credit el Nino. I don't care, but I like it. One can get spoiled, however.
____________
Michelle tagged me about - wanting me to describe six weird things about me. You can see my quirks here where I already listed them back in December. You can check out Michelle's unique list at "Once upon a time . . ."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Misnomers

I am starting the busiest time of year at work now. It won't get slow again until mid March. That will probably mean posting less often and reading other blogs less also. I will still be able to things a couple of times a week, but not as much as I would like.

A number of people have added me to their blog rolls lately. I appreciate that. I have to update mine soon, so if I have commented on your blog, and you aren't presently listed on mine, let me know. Further, if I hadn't commented on your site and you want me to check it out, let me know. However, it IS busy season, so be patient with me.

Okay, I have one rant today for you. It involves rap or more accurately rappers. Why do they "name" themselves something strange? Why do they even have a "rap name"? Isn't "Sean Combs" enough? Why have all this "Diddy" business?

Listen up, rappers, YOU ARE NOT A BAND! You have a name. As crazy as Michael Jackson is, he didn't go by Prince Poppa Mac.

I can understand why bands have a name. I mean who would buy a record from a group called "Paul, John, George, and Ringo"? However, Paul McCartney has always done pretty well in his solo career by putting "Paul McCartney" on his albums.

However, we have Snoop, Ja Rule (what is that?), and my personal favorite - 50 Cent. You know, I may just change my mind about this topic. Maybe I will just out-gangsta Curtis Jackson (50 Cent). Maybe I should change my name to Fitty Sin. Nice ring to it, no? My new blog name could be Psycho Wit by Fitty Sin. Yeah man, that is tight!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #4 - 2007 Predictions

This is the first Thursday list of the year. I thought about resolutions, but I don't really make them. I wanted something timely, though, so I decided to make predictions. These predictions are not based on anything but gut instinct and something else (maybe imagination, maybe something supernatural). It remains to be seen how accurate these are. So, here are my 2007 predictions - in no particular order:

  1. President Bush's popularity numbers will go up in the next few months, but bottom out again towards the end of the year.
  2. Some celebrity that we would not think had the moral credentials to guide kids will write a children's book.
  3. A celebrity will convert to Christianity and will talk too much about it.
  4. A female celebrity will die and it will be drug/alcohol related.
  5. The San Diego Chargers will beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.
  6. Someone who reads this blog will make a life-changing decision and it will work out great for him/her.
  7. There will be a surge in video game playing among baby boomers - and there will surface one particular game that will usher these people in.
  8. This summer will be one of the hottest ever in the midwest.
  9. There will be a new pest related problem (insect, etc.) that will either threaten people's health or damage major agricultural production.
  10. A high school kid will make the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of a number of people and will be proclaimed a hero.
  11. Something will happen that will put Omaha, Nebraska on the news for a number of days.
  12. The Boston Red Sox will win the World Series.
  13. There will be horrendous killing somewhere in the US that will inspire at least one copy-cat killing.

Most of these aren't very good things to hear, but I guess that is the nature of the beast. Things tend to get worse and not better. Here is hoping that in YOUR individual lives only the best things surface in 2007! So, consider yourself blessed by Jeff if you are reading this post (for whatever that is worth to you).

Unsolicited Advice

I was thinking about what my Thursday Thirteen would be tomorrow. It is a new year so that is something I kept in mind. As I was thinking about "new year" type things, I decided that I would spend today's time wishing everyone a Happy New Year and to give them the benefit of what little wisdom I have to see that the New Year will be all it can be. So, here is my advice:

Always challenge your thoughts and beliefs. Truth and wisdom, like cream, always rise to the top. Therefore, if something you believe in is true, it will survive your challenge.
I have found that people believe what they want to believe and are more comfortable with that notion than actually adopting truth to their lives. Always living in a comfort zone is a waste. There will be no growth there. Therefore, you will not do yourself any good nor will you add anything to those who are always around you. You will merely be a stopping point for those who pass by in your life.
How does one go about challenging their beliefs? They do it by listening to those who have a different opinion or belief. Not just hearing, but LISTENING, and listening openly. Does that mean that people should believe everything they hear? Absolutely not. You should challenge all you hear with the same spirit you challenge your own beliefs. Truth is what we all should be after.
One is never too old or too set in his/her ways to do this. If you are breathing, you are living. If you are living - then really live and seek truth. Where there is truth, there is real beauty and fullness of life. Anything less will ultimately be exposed as unfulfilling. You retire from jobs, not from life.
If you don't like this advice, then challenge it. Expose it for the fraud that you think it is and throw it into my face. If am wrong about this, I want to know about it so I can actually follow my own advice and grow.
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BTW - I decided that I would make thirteen predictions for my list tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Amazon Women Drink Diet Coke with Lime

Happy New Year, everyone. It has been a while since I have been able to post. I have not been able to catch up on reading others' blogs either. For that, I apologize and will get on it. It may take me a few days to catch up, though.

I spent a few days in Champaign, IL with my wife at her dad's house. It was decent time, but my observation about the natives there has been confirmed: Tall women live in Champaign-Urbana.

I notice this because I am not a tall person. As a matter of fact, my Champaign-born wife is taller than me. Think Billy Joel - Christy Brinkley. Well, that's how I like to think of it, anyway. Hopefully it will be a happier story than that one, though, but I digress.

Anyway, everywhere we went, women were at least 5'8 and more closely to 6'0. It got to the point where I saw a woman in Walmart that was about 5'5 and told my wife, "Look at that freak!"

So I took my wife, the Amazon, out of Amazon land - while she still had both breasts intact, btw.* She never has thanked me for that.

On another note, I found a good supply of Diet Coke with Lime there in Champaign. For those who have read my blog for a while, you remember when I whined about not being able to get it here anymore. I can only assume that this Diet Coke w/lime inspires growth in stature. Too bad I didn't have it earlier in life.
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*The Amazons of Greek myth not only participated in fighting and controlled politics, but exclusively made up both the population and the fighting force. They supposedly lived in the area north of the Black Sea about 700 years before the fifth century BC when the historian Herodotus reports hearing stories about them. According to myth, the Amazons were an all–female society of fierce warriors who got pregnant by neighbor–ing societies’ men and then practiced male infanticide (or sent male babies away). Supposedly they cut off one breast to make shooting a bow and arrow easier. (http://www.warandgender.com/wgamazon.htm)