Tuesday, June 28, 2005

That's My Boy

Baseball was always Doug's sport. We even brought him home from the hopital dressed in little newborn clothes that looked like a baseball uniform. He was good enough that I'd kid with him and others when he had a good game by saying "that's my boy."

His baseball career ended when he was 14. He was playing football, got blind-sided and broke his collar bone. His doctor said a sliver of broken bone came close to his carotid artery and an inch or so more and it could have killed him. He had some loss of motion in his throwing shoulder and that pretty much ended his baseball playing days. We didn't care whether he ever played anything again - just so he was OK - and he was.

He's kept his interest in baseball just as I have. We follow the Astros and get together a couple of times a week to watch a game, talk strategy, discuss possible trades and plan our dream trip to Wrigley, Fenway and Yankee Stadium with Jen's husband, Scott.

We started throwing the ball around in the back yard a couple of months ago - just like we had for the last time 16 years ago. His arm strength is not bad but not as good as it could be. He started throwing a decent curve ball, a knuckle change and a four seam fastball.

Doug has a friend from college, Joe, who manages a team in an amateur league. He worked out with them one day and they invited him to play. It's good quality baseball with several former college players and I had to wonder if Doug's work-out had gone all that well or if Joe was being a little charitable. After all, he hadn't played since he was a kid.

Their first game was last Sunday afternoon and he thought he might get to play in the outfield a little. Surprise, surprise. Joe told him just before the start of the game that he was the starting pitcher.

He had a good first inning. In the second inning, he gave up a hit to a first basemen who looked like a gorilla. He struck out a batter, then started to run out of gas. He walked a batter, then another. Then he struck out another batter on a 3-2 curve ball that had the batter rocking back on his heels. What a pitch! It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and the temperature was about 97. He was worn out. He walked another batter and Joe took him out.

After the game he said "man, Dad, that was fun." It sure was, Son. It sure was.

Oh why not. Here's another quiz thingy.


?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Hat tip - AFSister

Monday, June 27, 2005

I love these Quiz thingies

What Flavour Are You? I am Chocolate Flavoured.I am Chocolate Flavoured.

I am sweet and a little bit naughty. I am one of the few clinically proven aphrodisiacs. Sometimes I can seem a little hard, but show warmth and I soon melt. What Flavour Are You?

Hat tip to Texas Biscuit :)

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Great Galinto vs. Rat Boy

What they called it was "raslin". What I called it was fake. They were my uncles and cousins from the deep south (where the family tree doesn't fork much) and didn't want to hear my opinion for fear I might screw up their recreational fantacy. Four of them offered to take me one hot summer night to an outdoor arena in Pensacola, Florida to watch The Great Galinto do battle with Rat Boy.

They were intent on proving me wrong and asked me to just keep an open mind. I promised I would, while crossing my fingers.

The Great Galinto was a huge Italian who looked a lot like Tony Soprano, only much bigger and with lots of facial hair. His gut hung over his black spandex trunks and he had obviously seen better days. Rat Boy was much smaller but looked to be in much better shape. He had a long nose and an asymetrical face with eyes set too close together. He really did look like a rat.

The GG I was told, used to be a good guy but had gone off up north to wrestle and he had turned bad. He was the one who we were supposed to boo. We were also supposed to watch for cheating, like pulling on the back of Rat Boy's trunks and yell about it at the top of our lungs to the referee. "That ref can't see everything, you know", said Uncle Bruce.

Rat Boy used to be a bad guy but had seen the light. He was resplendant in his white robe decorated with shiny red beads. His white spandex trunks were about three sizes too small.

Sure enough, The GG cheated like crazy. One uncle yelled as loud as he could, "ref, he's got him in an illegal choke hold, are you blind?" Another one was yelling about The GG sneaking some foreign object out of his trunks and rubbing it in Rat Boy's beady little eyes.

The whole place by now was in a frenzy as The GG was about to pin Rat Boy, and the only reason he was winning was all the cheating he was doing.

Rat Boy was counted out. There was loud booing, then a folding chair flew out of the stands and hit The GG right in the face. He was bleeding from above his eye, yet managed to reach down and pick up the chair and fling it back in the direction from which it came.

More chairs flew into the ring. Then Rat Boy began to help The GG throw them back! Now they were buddies, facing a common enemy.

The cops came and escorted the wrestlers out of the ring and out of sight. Two or three rednecks got arrested "just for trying to make sure Galinto didn't cheat."

Uncle Wayne said, "you saw that! It was real blood! The cops came and everything! You don't think it's fake anymore do you?" "Yes, I do. But when you guys come back can I come with you?" That was fun.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Live 8

I work in the crazy alternate-universe of live music. I've been involved in the production work of concerts with as small of a capacity as 200, all the way up to events at the old Astrodome (I think the cap was around 60k).

Whoa -- I just realized I've been in the business for fifteen years.

*pausing for a moment of silence to mourn my youth*

Knowing how much work goes in to even the smallest of shows, I have been completely fascinated by the logistics involved in the "Live 8" concert that Bob Geldof is putting together. The challenge of working on an event with "5 concerts, 100 artists, a million spectators..." must be giving that brave man bleeding ulcers. I have the utmost respect for Geldof for thinking this up with Bono and then figuring out a way to pull the thing off. Wow!

I've been watching how this thing has come together closely, devouring any article I can find on it. Today Drudge linked a "Time Magazine" article on the event. I was pleasantly
surprised by several comments made, in particular by Geldof, about our country and our President.

BONO Warren Buffett gave me the best advice on this subject. He said, "Don't appeal to the conscience of America. Appeal to the greatness of America, and you'll get the job done."

CURTIS Insert in there "remarkably accurate impression of Warren Buffett."

BONO Onstage I talk about my first impression of Americans, which was watching a man walk on the moon. We thought, Americans are mad! But look what they can do when they get organized.

GELDOF America doesn't have a lack of empathy; they just don't know the issues as well. Actually, today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American President for Africa. But it's empirically so.

…and a little later….

BONO The most important and toughest nut is still President Bush. He feels he's already doubled and tripled aid to Africa, which he has. But he started from far too low a place. He can stand there and say he paid at the office already. He shouldn't, because he'll be left out of the history books. But it's hard for him because of the expense of the war and the debts. But I have a hunch that he will step forward with something. And it'll take somebody like him ...

Isn't it wonderful when people can reach across party lines and give credit where credit is due?It's such a rare thing these days.

I can't wait to read all the industry reports on the operational aspects of these concerts. I'm a geek for that sort of thing. :)

I'f you'd like to read the entire article, click here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Found this on Drudge. It made me giggle....

Former President Bill Clinton discussed his relationship with President Bush's father last night on CBS LATE SHOW.

Clinton: "I think we're good friends. I like him very much. I've always liked him. When he was vice president, I was still a governor. We worked together on a number of things. He hosted the governors, in 1983...at Kennebunkport."

When they made an announcement about raising funds for Tsunami relief in Houston former First Lady Barbara Bush "announced us. And she said she has started to call me son. I told the Republicans there, I said don't worry, every family has one, you know, the black sheep. I told them, this just shows you the lengths the Bushes would go to get another president in the family. I wish I could get them to adopt Hillary."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Back Seat Conversation

Our niece Natalie, 8 years old, was having a discussion with 6 year old brother Nicholas as to what to name the souvenier astronaut bear she brought home from her visit to Space Center Houston.

The exchange, which took place in the back seat of our SUV on the way to a family get-together went like this: "I think I'll name her Rebecca Rowland because she flew an airplane to France and learned to speak french." Nicholas speaks up: "Well, of course she spoke french when she got there because that's what they speak there. They're french you know." "I know that, but that's not the point, Nicholas."

"Aunt Susie says I could name her Sally after Sally Ride, the lady astronaut." Nicholas again: "Ameia Earhart might be the most appropriate thing to name her, if she was really a girl that is." "Well, she is a girl." "She is not" says Nicholas. Natalie pounces. "A HA!!! See there? She is too a girl."

Good try Nic, but you lose. I'll explain it to you some day if you haven't figured it out on your own by then.


One of the few negative things about blogging is that some bloggers apparently feel free to forget about manners and common sense, if ever they had any.

I looked at one far left blog because one of its' authors had purposely or callously caused embarrassment to another blogger (a friend of mine)and was flippant and confrontational about it rather than willing to show any contriteness or regret for any harm he'd done.

After looking at the content of his blog, I understood. What a vile mess. The entire thing was an agglomeration of pornography and insults with some profanity thrown in to demontrate the pestiferous author's pathos for the subject.

Oh well. The less time spent dealing with such dis-sprited people the better. In the meantime let's have a party and celebrate the good that comes from this medium we call a blog.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Sibling Redemption

Our nephew Jason of Tulsa, Oklahoma, his wife Gretchen and their two kids Natalie and Nicholas visited with us last week-end. Both kids are in the gifted and talented programs in their schools and are as sharp as they can be. Natalie is eight years old - going on eighteen, smart, giggly, very competetive and a risk taker. Nicholas is six, smart, funny, thoughtful and anything but a risk taker. He finished the first and second grade last year and was still bored in school.

We took them to the Boadwalk in Kemah, www.kemahboardwalk.com, to feed the stingrays and ride the ferris wheel and train on Friday. On Saturday, we took them to the park to play on the playground and feed the squirells. We spent a lot of time riding ATVs in the back yard especially when the water sprinklers were on.

The most fun they had though, was playing a simple card game - "Battle." Those kids both woke me up on Saturday and Sunday with a deck of cards in each hand, ready to rumble. Natalie almost always won and did her best to totally humiliate the losers after every game.

The highlight of the week-end for me was when Nicholas finally beat her, then launched into his version of Queen's "We Are the Champions". He went on and on - "and we'll keep on fighting till the end. We are the champions, we are the champions..." When he was finished, he added one last "ohhhhhh, yeahhhhhhhhhh." Natalie threatened to tell her mother on both of us - him for singing and me for laughing until tears ran down my face.

They went back to Tulsa yesterday. We miss them already and I haven't played a game of Battle in over 24 hours. I'm in semi-withdrawal.

Party invitation

Party at Neverland, all week long.

Free to anyone who believed Michael was innocent.

Price of admission -- two young (or at least petite) children per adult, preferably male.

Adults must be trusting, gullible, and as dumb as a box of hair.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall....

from eonline.com
CRANK CALLERS IN PARADISE: The busboy who found Jimmy Buffet's lost cell phone confessed to police that his friends may have used it to crank call Bill Clinton.

They "may" have? Why am I suddenly thinking about what the definition of "is" is.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Philadelphia Phreedom

I read that the Philadelphia schools will begin next year to require all students to take a course in African-American studies. They already had the freedom to take the course as an elective. Now, they have fewer choices as the school board has made a choice for them.

I don't know for certain how Philly schools perform compared to suburban or private schools and have no intention of spending the time to research it. My guess, however, would be that they stink, they suck, they bite the big one, (sorry, I watched a little MTV the other night) just like most inner city schools.

Will this curriculum change help the performance of the students of Philly schools? Will they be more employable because of this change? Will they be more prepared for college? The answer is emphatically, "no." The only people who will become more employable will be the teachers who teach African-Amercian studies.

You won't find many politians or anyone else who is brave enough to speak the truth, but I am so here goes. Other than slavery, there is very little Black history in the U.S. prior to 1865. Since then,the country has made great strides to make amends for the abomination of slavery. We need less diversity, not more. We need more emphasis on America and less on Africa. High school students, be they black or white, shouldn't be required to study African, German, Italian or Irish history. If they have inquiring minds, let them take such courses as electives. America comes first. If being ethnic appeals to you more than being an American, then be prepared to be treated like an ethnic curiosity rather than a fellow American.

Look, slavery was wrong. It was an awful thing. I didn't do it but I'm sorry that my country allowed it for so long.

Descendants of slaves have made a tremendous contribution to the country and we are grateful.

Now let's get back to math and science or get prepared to say "you want fries with that?"

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

You Can't Go Home Again

I've been bothered by the fact that when I drove by my Mother and Dad's house in East Texas recently, the place where I grew up, it looked abandoned. The yard needed mowing, the paint was peeling and all the fruit trees that my Dad so carefully attended looked dead.

The huge live oak trees that were in the front yard were gone, as was the white fence. I think they were victims of a road widening project but all the rest of the carnage was caused by the neglect of the people who bought it after Daddy died.

My brother and I took a trip to Pensacola, Florida a few days later. We were both born there. Our Mom was from there and we still have aunts and cousins who live all over the Florida Panhandle. If we couldn't go home to East Texas, at least we could visit our second home.

Not quite. Things change. Our aunt, Mom's older sister, was not anxious to allow others in the family to spend much time with us. We were "her company" and she was in no mood to share. Instead of telling one of her famous funny stories, she mostly wanted to talk about her failing health.

It was great to see cousins Chancey, Bobbie and Faye. I have two second cousins, teen-aged boys JD and Luker who call me "uncle" and seeing them alone is worth the trip.

A favorite uncle had other plans and we never saw him. Another uncle was out of town on business. Several cousins called to say hello and explain how busy they were and that they'd be sure to come by next time we were in town.

You really can't go home again, can you?

You're Fired!

Ala at Blonde Sagacity mentioned the other day about hard it is to fire someone. Some people actually enjoy it. I don't.

The first time I ever had to do it, I was working at an insurance company in their worker's compensation hearings department while finishing up law school. The worker in question was an older lady just trying to hang on a little longer before she retired. The problem was, she was the most incompetent person I'd ever run across and she'd already been "transferred" out of every other department when her boss discovered the degree of her incompetence. My department was her last chance to keep her job.

Adding to the problem was that she was likable and sympathetic. She was raising her two grandchildren and was a widow. I assigned her a job she couldn't mess up - answering the phone.

I had to have instructions as to how to properly answer the phone and what to say when she did, taped to her desk right next to the phone. Still, she messed up a lot but we all covered for her. She was nice and there were these two little grandchildren.

All was fine until I received a phone call from our New York office from Mr. Gibbia, a fiery Italian with a vocabulary like Tony Soprano. Mrs. Incompetent answered his call and accidently hung up on him while tranferring the call to me. Before I could say "I've got it", the phone rang again, it was him and she hung up on him again.

The third time he called, I did answer it. He asked me who was the "crazy sounding bitch" I had answering the phone. I explained her situation, that she would retire soon, she was a widow, two cute grandchilren, etc., but that she indeed was totally incapable of doing anything that was remotely beneficial to the company. Without hesitation he said, "well, fire that bitch then."

I was stunned. I didn't want to do it and wasn't even sure how to go about it. I asked that she be given another chance and he said, "if you don't fire that bitch, I'll fire you." I said something like "sir, that bitch is history."

And she was. There was lots of crying and begging. It was awful.

I did manage to point her in the direction of a company that was looking for experienced office help. I ran mock interviews with her on my lunch hour. I told her what to say during an interview and how to dress. Then I received a call from an interviewer asking if I could recommend her and telling me that if I could, they'd hire her. I told him what a nice lady she was. I mentioned that she made the best lemon pie I'd ever tasted. I talked about her grandchilren. I avoided saying anything at all about her abilities, or lack thereof. I never mentioned that she was totally incompetent and he never asked. He just got tired of listening to me ramble on, thanked me, and then hired her.

I heard that about a year later, she retired when she reached her goal of full retirement age.

Sometimes you do what you gotta do.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I love my family.....

.....gosh they crack me up.

First, I found out my baby brother Doug caught a 40 pound tuna on his 30th birthday in the Bahamas last weekend. How cool is that? While I'm thinking about it...what the heck do you do with 40 pounds of stinky fish anyway???? Ack! Good luck Melodye! Glad it's you stuck with 40 pounds of fish in your freezer this time!!!! heheheheee

And now, a glimpse in to a gathering en famile........My cousin Julie, who baked a pie for her son, put birthday candles in the pie, immediately after it came out of the oven. As my Mom, Scott and I stood there stunned and laughing, the candles melted in to a puddle of green, blue, pink and yellow wax. YUMMY!

Same cousin then makes pervy remarks about candle wax.....which sends my husband running for cover, and makes my Mother's jaw drop. "Candle wax? What on earth do you do with candle wax?". Thank goodness at that point I had consumed so much wine in a valiant effort to avoid consuming pie and cake (I was victorious!) that whatever happened next is fuzzy. I highly suspect that either Julie or I told Mom exactly what to do with the previously mentioned candle wax (sorry Mom).

Favorite random movie quote used by my Mother --
"You just cannot handle my Guatamalaness. My HEAT!"

But the greatest.....the thing that has had me laughing for two days....said by a female in a thick Southern accent because we had, as I mentioned, been drinking....
"Whadda WE know about humpin' DAWWWWWGS!"

Dad, that may have to take the place of "Does annnnnybody know wherrrrre we arrrrrrrre?" as my previous alltime favorite thing said by a relative.....


Monday, June 06, 2005

Local vernacular

Only a Texan knows the difference between a hissy fit and a conniption fit, and that you don't "HAVE" them, you "PITCH" them.

Only a Texan knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess."

Only a Texan can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder."

Only a Texan knows exactly how long "directly" is – as in "Going to town, be back directly."

Even Texan babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.

All Texans know exactly when "by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.

Only a Texan knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana pudding.

Only Texans grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far piece." They also know that "just down the road" can be 1 mile or 20.

Only a Texan both knows and understands the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

No true Texan would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

A Texan knows that "fixin" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.

Only Texans make friends while standing in lines. We don't do "queues," we do "lines"; and when we're "in line," we talk to everybody.

Put 100 Texans in a room and half of them will discover they're related, even if only by marriage.

Texans never refer to one person as "ya'll."

Texans know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

Every Texan knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin'," you know you are in the presence of a genuine Texan.

Only true Texans say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates need for sugar and lots of it -- we do not like our tea unsweetened. "Sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk.

And a true Texan knows you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway. You just say, "Bless her heart" and go your own way.

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Texan stuff, Take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Private Petey Poulet-Bete Noire

The BW's (beautiful wife) side of the family can boast of a sterling military background including Army Ranger Robert Derrick, Marine Corps veteran Gill Bashforth and of course, General Jimmy Doolittle.

My dad was a retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer and several of my uncles served in all branches of the military in World War II and Korea but without the BW's side of the family, my kids wouldn't be related to anybody important except me.

I'm a lot like many of my generation, including Bill Clinton and George Bush when it comes to military service in the 60's and 70's. There was this thing called Viet Nam. While I didn't actively avoid service, I sure didn't complain when my number wasn't called and the draft ended.

I can't say the same about all my ancestors. My cousin Joan, the family genealogist, discovered that we had ancestors on both sides of the civil war, including Private Petey Poulet-Bete Noire, who did it all by himself. He was a private in the 2nd Illinois Brigade from 1860 until 1862, then apparently served the Confederacy with General Edmund Molholland St. Vincent Millay's Mississippi Sissy-Boys-Hiding-Out-Til-The-War-Ends Brigade.

Private Poulet Bete-Noir was in only one recorded battle - The Massacre at Fort Kissurassgoodbye in 1865. It wasn't a real massacre. In fact, it wasn't a real battle. Private Poulet Bete-Noir was gathering food - he wasn't a hunter, when he fell out of a peach tree and broke his neck. He was the only casualty other than a few peaches. He received a military burial with no honors but with the undying devotion and sympathy of his fellow brigadets.

His direct descendants returned to France where they opened a caberet and learned to speak fluent German.

And that's the truth.