Thursday, January 31, 2008

NEWS FLASH - Last Week of January '08

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________
NEWS: The candidates in both parties' primaries are whittling down. On the Democratic side, there is just Clinton and Obama left. I think this will go down to the wire. If I were to make a prediction, I would say it will be Clinton at the convention. On the Republican side, there are still, technically, four candidates. It looks like just two have a chance, though; they are McCain and Romney. Huckabee is a very long shot at this point, but politics can change with the wind.
Experts say that the longer Huckabee is in, the better off McCain is because Huckabee and Romney are competing for the same votes. These so-called experts think political philosophy is the driving force with the voters in the Republican party. Romney and Huckabee are both more conservative than McCain, so the conservative vote is split therefore giving an advantage to McCain (because his support isn't split).
However, with my political science degree firmly in my hand, I disagree with the experts. I say that Huckabee takes away McCain supporters instead. Here is why: Huckabee's base is evangelical and fundemental Christians. These types believe that Romney belongs to a cult (the Mormon church). This religious belief trumps any political ideology loyalty for this group of people. Conservative Christians are mormophobes. Therefore, if Huckabee drops out, the support will swell for McCain, not Romney because Huckabee supporters will not back a Mormon. This is just my theory. Stay tuned to see if the TV experts or yours truly has a better grip on this election.
ENTERTAINMENT: I am anxiously waiting for the new 3-D U2 movie to hit my local Imax. A friend of mine saw it in Indianapolis and said it was unbelievable. U2 is timeless and I really miss 3-D movies anyway!
WORK: Busy. My intern believes when there is turbulence in the personal life, all other things are allowed to come to a grinding halt. She will learn or become part of the homeless masses.
SPIRIT: Had an argument with a close friend about God and evangelism. He has had a major life transformation so he is inclined to believe any other path (other than his specific one) may not lead to God. He wouldn't admit it as I worded it, but that is what he is arguing. I believe all true paths go through Christ (so does he), however, I believe there are many paths that will get you there. Christ is the key, though.
FAMILY: One sister is in the hospital. One is stranded by car trouble. My wife is . . . my wife. The comments on my last blog post made me realize more that there is no one there to care for me. My wife doesn't. Twice this week, I observed that if I want to do something that doesn't interest her, I do it alone or don't do it. However, when she is interested in something - even if I am not that much, I do it with her. I believe that is what a husband does. My gosh, marriage sure can be a lonely proposition.
LOVE: I think the girl in the local Grandy's has a crush on me. Today, she asked me if I am having "the usual". I didn't realize anyone paid attention to what I ordered. Then, she went back and made my stuff fresh and added cheese to my eggs. Then she apologized for my wait (which wasn't really outside of the ordinary) and gave me my meal for half price. I guess someone is looking out for me afterall. LOL
ANXIETY: I am tutoring a kindergartner that will not concentrate AT ALL. His twin sister can, but he can't or won't. When I work with letter flashcards, instead of thinking about the card, he just rambles off random letters. I try to work with him on just the concentration but he just doesn't get it. I really want him to succeed. Any suggestions?
SPORTS: Superbowl this week. I am hoping for the upset NY Giants over the Patriots. However, that isn't likely. Maybe the commercials will be good!
HOME: I have lost 17 pounds in the last three weeks. The low-carb diet is doing me justice. Anyone want to join me with the low carb? I am inventing and discovering some killer recipes!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Day in the Life

It once again appears that I am a slacker. I haven't blogged in a while, but it isn't because I am spending my time watching TV or playing video games. Nope, this is the busiest time of the year for me at work. In addition to my regular duties, January through March adds a billion more tasks. These boring but necessary duties include making arrangements for a big annual event to educate the public, the annual report, the coming fiscal year's budget preparation, and guiding the internship towards its big project and other parent-like internship responsibilites.

So, at the end of the day, I like to go just go home, let my wife wait on me, watch TV or a movie and turn in early. That is what I LIKE to do, but I never get to do it. In fact, I don't even know what that is like. Here is what a typical day looks like for me:


Up at 6:00 am to feed the dogs and let them outside and bring them back in. That sounds simple enough, but it isn't. I have FIVE dogs and they all believe they are the only one when it comes to feeding. So, I have to feed these gluttons in a manner that keeps them quiet so not to wake up my wife. This is nearly impossible, but somehow I manage it or come close to it. Getting them out and back in only works quickly if the dogs are on the same page as I am. Unfortunately, the dogs don't read.

Somewhere around 6:20, I take a quick shower and get ready for work so I can clear out of my wife's way when she gets up at 6:40. While my wife gets ready, I review my day's activity making sure that I am as prepared as possible.

My wife and I leave at the same time. She goes to work (on days that she works, otherwise she is asleep when I leave) while I go to my mother's to give her medicine and make sure she has breakfast. (My mom is disabled).

I arrive at work at 8:00. I won't bore you with the work stuff; besides I already did that some in the first paragraph.

At lunch, I go home to let the dogs out and back in, go back to my mother's to make sure she has lunch, and try to feed myself along the way.

In the afternoon, I take time to tutor some at-risk elementary school kids, thus, making me stay at work late.

When I get off work, I go home and greet my wife, and confirm any plans we have. Then, I go back to my mother's to make sure she has dinner and do little chores for her. Then back home usually stopping at the market or food joint to get dinner for my wife and myself and try to spend some time with her. Often, I either have to go visit a sister in the hospital (like tonight), or tutor some high school kids to help prep them for their SAT's. I squeeze that stuff in as early as possible.

Around 9:30 or 10:oo, my wife goes to bed and I lie there with her for a short time for a little quality time. Then, back to my mother's to make sure she has her nightly medications and address any other issue she has at bed time.

Then, I return home to prep for the following days work or tutoring and make sure I don't have clothes issues in the morning. I get to bed sometime around midnight.

About half the nights, I am woken by my wife because of my snoring. Therefore, I eventually make it to the couch where I have to fight dog whining and other canine noises until it is time to start the day over again.

That is my daily routine in a nutshell. I would like to workout again or get some kind of exercise, but I would have to get up an hour earlier to do it. Right now, I don't know if I can handle that, but I am sure when it warms up outside, I will manage to do it.

Conclusion: Until my work and/or tutoring schedule lightens, my blogging will be more sparse. The readers of my blog can always turn to another blog to fill the gap (assuming my blog leaves one for some of you), however I have to do without the thereapeutic value of it more often for a while.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NEWS FLASH - Third Week of January '08

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________
Today's word, boys and girls is SACRIFICE!


NEWS - Senater John McCain has won some respect back from me this week. He was speaking in Michigan to group when he encountered a heckler in the front row. Instead of ignoring him or trying to make him look small, he invited comment from the man. The man told him that he would love to be able to talk to him sometime about the differences in issues and McCain told him that he would call him. Two and half hours later, McCain actually called the guy and SACRIFICED precious time for a guy that wasn't even a supporter to have a ten minute conversation. That shows good character.

ENTERTAINMENT - American Idol returns tonight on Fox. Everyone talks about how this show is waning. I don't know if that is true. I imagine it is going to have a surge in ratings this time because the writers' strike will eliminate a lot of the competition. So, the scripted shows will be SACRIFICED for these type of reality programs. Anyone ready here to talk about Idol this year?

WORK - Big meeting coming up tomorrow. It is so big, mind you, that it is amazing that I am making this post today. I lined up a great speaker for the annual breakfast workshop my commission sponsors every February. There is an elderly nun that runs a nonprofit organization that helps hispanic and latino people that have migrated to the area. This fine lady has SACRIFICED her whole life and has done so much for the area over the years that she is sometimes referred to as the "Mother Theresa of Owensboro, KY."

SPIRIT - I have been thinking a lot lately of SACRIFICE. A lot of people seem to believe that God wants us to give up things just for the sake of denying ourselves - for instance some give up things for the 40 days of Lent. I don't think God is much interested in this type of SACRIFICE. If giving up meat, sugar or alcohol for 40 days enables you to contemplate on God more, then more power to you. Don't stop the practice! Jesus, indeed, SACRIFICED his life for those who believe - to bridge the gap between man and God. We should SACRIFICE, also, but not unto death or pointless denial. I believe that we SACRIFICE unto life. For believers, we identify with the human death of Christ, but SACRIFICE our lives unto Him. Got more than you bargained for in "Spirit" this week, eh? ;)

FAMILY - I discovered this week, that my "long lost brother" is back living in the area. Last I heard, he was living in Florida. My brother runs his own game. He disappears and we find out through various channels that he is living in another part of the country - that sort of thing. It has been years since I have talked to him. He doesn't call. It turns out that he lives in the area and works in my city and has been here since before Thanksgiving. He didn't care to let anyone know or share the holidays with his family for whatever reason. The latest theory is that since my dad died when I was 18, it affected my brother so much that he didn't want to be around the family much after that lest he would have to deal with another loss. So, he SACRIFICES time with those who truly love him in order to not hurt so much when his family of strangers pass away. Who really knows, though? I tried to ask him before about this stuff, but he really doesn't have an answer.

LOVE - The other night, I had it out with my wife. It wasn 't a yelling match or anything like that, it was a state of the relationship speech. The Reader's Digest version is that I told her that I have done all I could do with the marriage and it is on borrowed time. I listed how I have worked hard and SACRIFICED for the marriage everyday, listed the things I do to put her and the marriage's interest before my own personal ones. I asked her what she does for the marriage and she listed two things that she would do anyway even if she wasn't married to me. When I reminded her of that, she responded that she must not do anything for the marriage, then. I wasn't sure if it was sarcasm or realization but I left it right there.

Having talks with my wife is like taking antibotics for an infection. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Either way, one won't know for a couple of days. The rest of that day was shot for anything good; she was surly as ever. However, the next day was better and yesterday was awesome. Then today I get an e-card that read, "Jeff, I'm sorry for not being my best for a long time. I get apathetic and hopless pretty easily and I know it sucks for you - probably more than for me. Anyhow, I want us to be good again and to have those babies someday! Today was good and I want to have carbon copies of it for the rest of our lives!"

We have been through short spells of good days before just to be devistated when the hopelessness sets back in. However, all I can do is take one day at a time and today is a good one.

ANXIETY - I discovered that my car has another problem. It no longer blows hot air for heat or defrost. I suppose that the thermostat needs to be replaced. Sheesh, it is always something.

SPORTS - My wife and I watched my Indiana University Hoosiers defeat her University of Illinois Illini on Sunday. She wasn't too happy about it, but seemed to be happy to watch the game with me. By the way, Brian, if you are still out there, I am still waiting to hear about our IU/UoI bet. They play again Feberuary 7th.

HOME - I went to the visitation at a a funeral home the other day. One of my best friend's father-in-law passed away. The place was packed; undoubtedly this was a beloved man. The deceased's elderly sister passed out next to me in front of the casket.

Death is funny. People work their whole lives for this station or that thing. They SACRIFICE for their families and then all of the sudden they are gone. If this is all there is, than what a pointless waste life is! Fortunately, I know that there is something bigger, something that gives meaning to the multiple lives touched by a single person, and that death is REALLY just the beginning of a larger thing. Truthfully, I don't understand how nonbelievers cope.

This could have been in the SPIRIT part of this entry, but I really was thinking of my family and friends - my friend and his wife with the loss and those who are troubled with no understanding. I hope you aren't in that number, my friends.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

Back in November, I rented my house at a bargain to a man that agreed to fix it up and probably buy it. This was a godsend to me. Those of you that have been following my house saga can attest to this. There was one thing that I failed to fill you in on back then that was quite the bur under my saddle and had to do with the city water department.

My tenant called me after he moved in back then and told me that he couldn't get the water turned on because there was an outstanding bill on it. "Poppycock," I said, or something akin to it. I happened to know that my nephew, the previous tenant, squared his bill with the water department after he moved out because I was with him when he did it.

I called down there to get to the bottom of it, and the customer service representative (and I use the term incorrectly) told me that water had been flowing through the meter and the owner of the property must pay for it. "Someone must have turned it on illegally," she said.

Then it dawned on me that the previous spring, I discovered that the technician who shut the water off when my nephew moved out, failed to turn it off all the way. Water had leaked into my back apartment building, broke a seal on a pipe joint and leaked out for months ruining the floor in two rooms. I was irrate, but decided that I would just deal with it. Easy mistake.

So, I told the woman on the phone that very item and she scoffed at me like I was a water thief trying to get away with something and restated that the bill must be paid before water can be turned on the property. I asked, "Do you mean to tell me that I have to pay for the water that was a result of a mistake YOUR EMPLOYEE made at my property that caused all this damage?"

Her reply is that POLICY states that if it flowed through the meter, it was my responsibility - and it was ALSO my responsibilty to inspect it after it was turned off to see if it was fully turned off.

I asked her if she had ever had brakes put on a car. She didn't answer so I assumed that she had. I asked, "Should a customer take the car home, put it up on blocks, take the wheels off the car and inspect the brakes, or should they assume that the tech that worked on the car had enough expertise to do the job correctly?"

She didn't like the question and avoided it by restating the policy. I finally asked to talk to a supervisor who also stood by this policy manual to the "t". I told him that if they were so worried about every drop being paid for, why do they allow the fire hydrant in front of my mother's house to flow years after I called to notify them of it. No answer. The hydrant in front of my mom's house has been flowing since November of 2005. They actually did some work on the corner and still left it that way.

I told the guy that when he died that I hoped he had a copy of that policy manual with him in his death bed, because it obviously meant more to him than the contents of ANY other holy book.

I ended up paying the bill. I emailed the mayor about it, but didn't even get a response. They haven't heard the last of it, though. The mayor periodically has these town hall type meetings in various parts of the city. I will be at the next one and everyone there (including local media) will learn of the policy and of those who follow it as if it was written by the finger of God. I just don't go away.

Here is the hydrant in front of my mothers house just last week:

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

NEWS FLASH - Second Week of January '08

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - Despite all pollsters and TV types, Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary. I found myself kind of pulling for her because of all the flack she has been receiving lately. I don't know that it will translate into me wanting her as president, but the NH primary was pretty satisfying. The same thing on the GOP side with John McCain. I used to like McCain a lot - enough to vote for him, but thought he cowered to GW Bush too much after Bush fought a dirty campaign against him in 2000. It seemed to me that he didn't hold on to the principles he had established then just to make peace with the Republican party. That, and the fact that he tends to be an Iraq monger will prevent me from supporting him. I guess that is two down.

ENTERTAINMENT - Thanks to the writers' strike, Big Brother 9 will air this month instead of in July. So, there is still time for those of you that have been missing out to climb aboard!

WORK - It is getting busy at the office again. I hate this time of year because I have a big event to work on, the yearly budget, and the annual report. I always look forward to the end of March at this time each year. It is usually just in time for the NCAA tournament.

SPIRIT - There is a big swelling lately in the local paper of the town in which I work about the whole Evolution vs. Intelligent Design debate. I would love to see a debate here with scholars of both camps. I have been studying this topic for over ten years and I am just into it. My conclusion, and feel free to argue with me, is that it takes more faith to believe that humans originally came from wet rocks than it does to just believe a higher being created them. Of course, that is just in a nutshell. I can get into as much detail as you like.

FAMILY - My sister is still waiting for her disability. Let's be clear about what this means. Disability is part of the Social Security system. This is a system that she paid into for years and years. It is not a gift from the federal government. That being stated, yesterday they turned off her utilities again - against policy and despite her having a receipt that showed it was paid. There was a problem with the mode of payment, but it was no one's fault. The utility company just refused to be reasonable and customer friendly. So, I got pretty irate with the folks at the utility company on the phone which is rare for me because I am usually more diplomatic. However, sometimes hostility is appropriate, I guess, because her utilities are back on. My sister can't stop thanking me.

LOVE - Same ol', same ol'. However, my wife just returned from her hometown to visit her family and had a bad time there. She felt rejected by one family member - the one she went to see. Even though there is kind of a gulf between us, I was touched and it helped me not to want to leave her. That may be bad news for her; I don't know.

ANXIETY - Let's see . . . my jobs, my marriage, my finances, and the fact that I only got a couple of feedbacks on my humorous Giuliani post below isn't helping my nerves. ;)

SPORTS - Indiana University, my alma mater, cracked the top ten in basketball this week. I truly believe they can win the championship this year. I haven't said that since Bobby Knight left - or there abouts.

HOME - I failed to mention this last time, but I now have FIVE DOGS! Count them, five! My wife always wanted a beagle since she has(d) one while she was growing up. That dog is pretty old now and she has been lamenting over its inevitable demise. I made the mistake of taking her to Petsmart a couple of weeks ago. Guess what was there to be adopted from a local shelter! No, not a horse, a BEAGLE! Actually two beagles were there. They were in the same cage and they really looked like they depended on each other. So, I told her that we couldn't take one because it would be cruel to separate them. You can write your own ending to this story but it might help to know that the shelter agent uttered these words, "pay for one, get one free," and "we will even throw in this kennel that they share!" Sheesh! Here's the new roster: Casey, Boone, Marley . . . and . . . Linus and Lucy

Monday, January 07, 2008

Giuliani Outed

With the primary season underway, I have decided that I have to get busy figuring out who is going to garner my vote. It is a very difficult task. I don't know if it is because there are so many good and worthy candidates, or if there aren't ANY good candidates. So I decided that I would go at it differently.

In my mind, I am going to put all the candidates in a reality show in my head. Each week I am going to eliminate one till there will be one winner. I am not saying I am going to do this process on my blog, but at some point, I will come up with my choice for president.

The first candidate to be eliminated is Rudy Giuliani. Why is this guy even a Republican? He adheres to all the things I don't like about Republicans (running on fear, policies of greed, etc.) and abandons the parts of the party I like (morality and spiritual issues).

However, the clincher for me was discovering who Giuliani REALLY is. As it turns out, he isn't from an Italian family in New York after all. No, he is a NAZI military man from Germany. His real name is Colonel Wilhelm Klink and he ran POW camp Stalag 13 during World War II. Even California Governor Pete Wilson looks like he knew the real truth about RG in the picture above. The 60's television program Hogan's Heroes chronicled his shenanigans.

Don't believe that Giuliani is the Nazi Colonel Klink? See for yourself!



Scary isn't it? Those of you in the states owe me a debt of gratitude now, don't you think? I know Guiliani is taking his blitzkrieg to Florida right now so beware, Sayre!





Wednesday, January 02, 2008

NEWS FLASH - First Week of January '08

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

Vacation from work kind of kept from blogging like I should. I did manage to come back at the same time that this little short story haunted my mind till I got it down. Some of you read it; it's called "Leave it All on the Field" and it is sitting just below this NEWSFLASH. Actually, it is a rough draft. I wanted to see what people thought when they read it without introduction. I want to get into the habit of writing more this year so this is how I kicked that off. I am not sure that I will continue to put it here - especially now that one of my reader's feedback said it would be a better idea to put it somewhere with my own domain - I don't really know what that means. I can only assume that it involves money that I don't have. Does anyone have an opinion on the appropriateness of throwing that stuff out on my blog from time to time?

Anyway, for a not so upbeat NEWSFLASH:

NEWS - I hate it that a tiger got out of its exhibit in California and attacked three teenagers killing one. There is some liability there with the zoo as the walls of the containment was about four feet two short. However, there is also some talk of the teens taunting the tiger with sling shots. If this is true, the story is just tragic all the way around. That would mean that both a kid and a beautiful animal had to die at least partly because of stupid decisions these young guys made. I hope there is a lesson there for all involved.

ENTERTAINMENT - The writers' strike is creating a comeback of the reality show. Most of these shows are junk but every now and then there is one that will captivate my attention. Here's hoping for the best. BTW - has anyone other than me wondered why HBO and or other pay channels haven't gotten into the reality show business? You would think that unedited (for content) shows would draw much more attention than their watered down counterparts. I know that Showtime showed live footage of Big Brother this past summer, but it was just a mundane live hook-up (that was still edited when something unfavorable to the program was happening).

WORK - Work is picking up again. My intern who drew rave reviews from me earlier in the school year is MIA right now. I have been working on her assignments all morning. (sigh)

SPIRIT - My spirit life is starving right now. I guess it is a combination of things but the blame ultimately lies with me.

FAMILY - We had a pretty nice Christmas. It is funny how my evaluation of Christmas has changed over the years. At some point, it stopped being about what I got and turned into what I was able to give. I had to go into debt, but I helped my "pre-disabled" sister get back into her apartment before she lost it and all of its contents. Two of my sisters were in the hospital over the holidays. One with health insurance, one without. Guess who was treated better and longer? Hopefully, my uninsured sister will get approved for disability soon so she can get healthcare. Somewhere there is an office pool where the winner predicts what will come first, her disability or her funeral. If she dies first, at least she won't die a socialist. What a disgrace that would be, no?

LOVE - This is the year that something must happen with my marriage either good or bad. New Years Eve was a disaster. We went to a neighbor's house that we didn't know very well. She didn't like it so we left early. Then we tried to go somewhere that had a band. However, when we arrived at the venue, I noticed I didn't have any cash for the cover, so I announced that we have to go by an ATM. Well, that sealed the deal. She just wanted to go home instead. I don't know why. On the way home, we stopped at the store to pick up something to drink. I don't drink alcohol, not much anyway, but despite it being a point of contention between us in the past, I thought for New Years Eve, it would something I could give in on. I told her she needed to eat something or she might get sick. When we discovered that our plan to order a pizza was foiled by the pizza shop being closed, she was yet discouraged again and just decided to go to bed at 12:10. The ball dropped. No kiss, no happy new year, just "I'm going to bed". Whooopie!

ANGUISH - I will give you three guesses.

SPORTS - It is a boring college bowl season so far. Illinois, Hawaii, and my beloved alma mater, Indiana were major disappointments. Let's hope the NFL playoffs are better. I did manage to make to the Superbowl of my fantasy league, however. I lost.

HOME - I have to take down two Christmas trees still and recover from bad financial decisions over the holidays and after. My jeep requires a major repair with the door. Right now, I am crawling over to the passenger side to enter and exit. Home would be better if I had money and good head on my shoulders to manage it.