If you do not know me (I mean, really know me) then there is something you need to understand before you read this blog: I value the truth above everything else... except a good laugh. A good laugh will almost always beat the truth as far as I’m concerned. Everything you read on this blog will be true, somewhat true, or something I made up in an effort to get a laugh. Sometimes I will go on a rant that I don’t really mean (or only kind of mean). Sometimes I will mean what I write only to completely change my mind a year, month, or day later. Such is life. By reading this blog you agree not to get offended by anything I write (or, at the very least, you agree not to tell me or anyone else that you are offended). It is worth noting that my employer does not endorse my blog (or even read it, to tell you the truth). The Wife also does not endorse my blog (though she will read it from time to time). I am not paid to write this... it’s just my way of giving back to the community. I have, and will, touch on a wide range of subjects and will give my opinion on these subjects. Again, most of what I say is for laughs but every now and then I will say what I really think and feel (see my views on Westboro Baptist Cult). How will you know when I’m serious and when I’m trying to get a laugh? You’ll know. And if you don’t know, well... maybe this isn’t the best thing for you to be reading. So, sit back, read and enjoy. Leave comments if you want and don’t be afraid to publicly follow me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MBA, Protests, and Fighting

For any of you thinking about getting your MBA, let me just say “Don’t”. The last thing I need is for the market to be flooded with MBA’s after I get mine.

After having a test on Monday night and one again last night, I’m trying to remember why I decided to put myself through all of this. The Wife keeps saying that I'm doing this for our family... I think it's more because my brother and sister both have their masters. Got to keep up with the Kevin's and Teri's as they say. Of course, they got their masters in education, which anyone in my MBA classes will tell you is WAY easier than what we are doing. Still, this is it. This is where I draw the line. No more school for me after this MBA thing unless it's to learn something useful like plumbing or A/C repair.

I try not to judge people, but sometimes I just can’t help it. I know a man who belongs to a group of motorcycle riders who will go to funerals of fallen soldiers. The reason they go, is so they can set up a perimeter around the funerals to keep protesters from getting too close. There shouldn’t be a need for this. Who was the first person to think: “Hey, let’s go protest the war at the funeral of this soldier who died”. Like I said, I try not to judge people, but heartless people like that make me sick. I’m all for protests. Actually, for the most part, I’m not a fan of protests... but to each his own. I don’t dislike people who protest... it’s just not my thing. But if you want to protest a war, go to D.C. Don’t do it at a funeral of a person who had no say in the war. How can someone rationalize that in their head? There are some things done that I don’t agree with, but I can at least see what the person's thinking. But this... this blows my mind.

So there was a fight last Friday night between some of the players after the Summerville/Stratford football game. Let me start by saying that fighting is bad and all that. Having said that, I don’t think there should be any huge punishment for either team. There has been talk of placing the teams on probation (which would mean no playoffs) and kicking kids out of school... Come on now. There are ways to teach kids that fighting is bad without going to the extreme. Let’s not forget, we’re talking about 16, 17, 18 year old boys here (at least for Stratford... probably more like 18, 19, 20 year olds for Summerville... yeah, I said it). To be honest, I’m shocked more fights don’t breakout after/during sporting events. Words are said, things are done, people get mad... stuff happens. My brother played on a baseball team at JI that got in a fight with the Goose Creek baseball team. It was so bad that dads came out of the stands to pull guys off of one another. I remember having the police come out to our game against a team from NJ my JR year at JI because things had gotten so heated on the field and in the stands (for the record, we beat those damnyankees). There was another game when I (the second baseman) shoved a base runner because he ran over my shortstop. (****SIDE STORY: This was during a fall baseball game in Atlanta. The team I was playing on was made up mostly of BE and Wando guys who all played American Legion together for the Charleston Legion team, so to be honest I didn’t really have a ton of love for them. But the shortstop, who was a sophomore at BE, was a good ballplayer and we got along ok. Anyway, friends or not, there is an unwritten rule in baseball that says if a runner going into second base does not slide, but instead runs over the shortstop, then it is the obligation of the second baseman to let the runner know that such actions are not appreciated. So that is why I shoved the guy... and probably said some things that I would rather not post on a blog. END SIDE STORY*******BEGIN FUNNY PART OF STORY: So, growing up my number on sports teams has always been 4, except for the two years I played football when my number was 44. Well when I joined this team, someone already had number 4, so my number ended up being 25. After I shoved this base runner, the players and fans on the other team kept yelling mean things at #25. Some of them were funny, but most were pretty mean. I spent a good part of the game trying to figure out who the heck #25 was on our team and what he could have done to piss off their fans. I don’t know why, but I kept thinking I was number 4. It wasn’t until I was talking to my Dad and my brother after the game that I realized I was #25 and the people had been yelling at me. END FUNNY PART OF STORY*****). The only reason we didn’t get in a fight was because the guy got up and left the field. Oh, and the shortstop I stood up for? He used my actions as inspiration and went on to have a pretty good baseball career for himself at USC and is now playing in the minor leagues somewhere (I think he’s played a bit in the bigs, too). I don’t really like to name drop... but if you ask me if his name is Drew Myer, I will say yes. My sophomore year at JI, we almost got in a fight at Holly Hill-Roberts. It was the playoffs and we were getting beat. My friend Carl Moore was pitching and he hit their batter. Their batter looked at Carl in a way that may not have been legal. Our coach, not wanting us to be intimidated, jumped up and yelled at the batter saying (and I quote) “Get to first base! You’re lucky I told him to hit you with his curve ball and not his fastball!” It was at this moment that I thought I would die. You see, I was the closest player to Coach Hatley at the time, so it would have been my job to get in front of him should the other player come over for a fight. It would help if I tell you the other player was Adrian Dingle. Adrian Dingle, as you may or may not know, went on after high school to be a defensive end at Clemson and later played for the San Diego Chargers. This was a fight I’m sure I would not have won.

My point in all of this is this... fights happen. No, they aren’t good. No, we don’t want to teach kids that fighting is the way to solve all problems. But I don’t think people should over-react when kids fight. And unless this is something that happens over and over and over and over, I wouldn’t kick anyone off the team. This might come as a shock, but the only reason some kids study is so they can stay eligible for sports. Take away sports, they won’t care about class. That might not be how it should be... but that’s how it is. I have often been asked, “How can we as a society get young men to care more about academics?” Ok, I’ve never been asked that... but if someone would ask me I would tell them the answer is simple. There are two ways to get young men (or at least 99% of them) to care more about academics (probably in this order):

1. Get the hot girls at the school to only date smart kids.
2. Make the standards for being eligible for extracurricular school activities higher (make them a ‘B’ instead of a ‘C’). It might be hard at first, but if the minimum you need to play is a B, kids will find a way to get a B (more times than not, that way will be legal).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Favorite Quotes Part II

Here is the second part of my favorite quotes. The quotes in this post are from speeches, movies, TV... I read about them in various books (or saw them in a movie or TV show)... all of them can be found on wikiquote.org.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – JFK

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” – JFK

“Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war.” – Marc Antony

“Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell; and George the Third — ["Treason!" cried the Speaker] — may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it.” – Patrick Henry

“United we stand, divided we fall, Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.” – Patrick Henry

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

“It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace! But there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry

“If you ever get hurt and you feel that you're goin' down this little angel is gonna whisper in your ear. It's gonna say, 'Get up you son of a bitch 'cause Mickey loves you'. Okay?” – Mickey (from Rocky V... perhaps the only good thing from Rocky V).

Employment Manager: Do you have a criminal record?
Rocky: Nothin' worth braggin' about. – (from Rocky II)

Rocky: It's Apollo.
Mickey: Who were you expecting?
Rocky: I was hoping he wouldn't show. – (from Rocky II)

“I'm a superstitious man, and if some unlucky accident should befall him, if he should get shot in the head by a police officer, or if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he's struck by a bolt of lightning, then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room. And that, I do not forgive. But that aside, let me say that I swear on the souls of my grandchildren, that I will not be the one to break the peace that we have made here today.” – Don Corleone (from The Godfather)

“Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests - we did. [winks at Dean Wormer] But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but I for one am not going to stand here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!”
[Leads the Deltas out of the hearing, all humming the Star-Spangled Banner] – Otter (from Animal House)

“Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” – from Billy Madison

“Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon... you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time.” – George Costanza (from Seinfeld)

How do you tell a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin. – Ronald Reagan

The ten most dangerous words in the English language are "Hi, I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." – Ronald Reagan

“Despite our repeated warnings, Qadhafi continued his reckless policy of intimidation, his relentless pursuit of terror. He counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong. I warned that there should be no place on Earth where terrorists can rest and train and practice their deadly skills. I meant it. I said that we would act with others, if possible, and alone if necessary to ensure that terrorists have no sanctuary anywhere. Tonight, we have.” – Ronald Reagan

Monday, September 28, 2009

Favorite Quotes Part I

I talked a few days ago about being in awe of veterans. I am also in awe of great speeches. Or at least the great part of great speeches (let’s be honest, great speeches are usually great because of one part of the speech... the part everyone remembers). I have a list of these quotes that I will read from time to time. Every time I read them, I can feel my adrenaline shoot up. I’ll read them and picture the way I would deliver them and think ‘How could people not be inspired by this?’.

I also enjoy funny quotes. From movies, TV, anything... Of all the people, most of my favorite quotes come from Winston Churchill. Here are my favorite Churchill quotes. Most of these are from WWII. If you don’t know what was going on around the time of the quote, look it up. I will tell you that around the time of the first few quotes, things weren’t looking good for Britain. Germany was on the way and most people thought they were unstoppable. Keep that in mind when you read what Churchill said. (FYI... I got most of these from various books that I’ve read... however, you can find all of them, and more, at wikiquote.org).

“You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” – Winston Churchill

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.” – Winston Churchill

“Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'” – Winston Churchill

“Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt: Put your confidence in us. ... We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.” – Winston Churchill

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – Winston Churchill

“Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill

“For myself, I am an optimist — it does not seem to be much use being anything else.” – Winston Churchill

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile — hoping it will eat him last.” – Winston Churchill

“The day may dawn when fair play, love for one's fellow men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.” – Winston Churchill

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Lady Nancy Astor: Winston, if I were your wife, I'd poison your tea.

Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it.
Bessie Braddock: Sir, you are drunk.

Churchill: And you, madam, are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober. You will still be ugly.
Young man (after seeing Churchill leave the bathroom without washing his hands): At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet.

Churchill: At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands.
Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?

Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill... Well, I suppose... we would have to discuss terms, of course...
Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Churchill: Madam, we've already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

All I have is a song...

I just got done putting Mary Ruth to bed. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do. When I put her to bed, I lay down in the bed with her and sing songs. Sometimes I let her pick the song, but I usually just sing whatever comes to mind. Here’s the thing, I’m not much of a singer. I seldom sing in public. Even in church. See, we are told to lift up a “joyful” noise to the Lord. My singing doesn’t really sound all that joyful. So the only time I really sing is if I’m in the car alone (or with The Wife and Mary Ruth) or when I’m putting Mary Ruth to bed. One time I sang baseball songs one after the other all the way home from church just so I wouldn’t have to hear The Wife tell me what she wanted me to do the rest of the day. Don’t judge me. Oh, and I do sing with Maverick from time to time. He’s not that bad. We sing a version of Me and My Shadow that would put Frank and Sammy to shame. We also do a good job singing Happy Birthday. I have a picture somewhere of the two of us singing. Maybe I’ll post it on here one day.

Anyway, I sing to Mary Ruth at bedtime. One reason I do that is that she wants me to. The other reason is that I know there will come a day when she doesn’t want me to. The songs vary. One day soon I’m going to have to learn all of the words to the songs I sing her because she’ll know if I’m just winging it. I’m waiting for the day when she calls me out for inserting the chorus of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds into Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (it flows nice… you should try it… though I’m sure it would make John and George roll over in their graves and probably send Paul and Ringo to their graves). I’ve already learned that she is learning these songs as I sing them to her. Without prompting, she will now yell “Play Ball” at the end of the National Anthem. She pretty much now knows the words to Take Me out to the Ball Game. She is getting better at singing Old Rugged Cross with me. There are parts of Battle Hymn of the Republic and Dixie that she will sing with me. Some of the other songs I sing her include In The Garden, Because He Lives, Living on a Prayer, My Way, Devil Went Down to Georgia, Let it Be, The Mary Ruth Song (something Jennifer made up) and any other song that might come to mind (that I know at least some of the words to).

I’ve been doing this with her for as long as I can remember. I think I started doing it as soon as we brought her home from the hospital. I would recommend everyone try it (if you have a baby). It at least will give you something to do while you sit and rock a baby that won’t stop screaming. It might even help her (or him) settle down and fall asleep. Try it sometime.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Friday Night....

Went downtown with The Wife last night. Hope to never do that again. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Wife… it’s driving downtown that I hate. For one thing, we couldn’t just go straight to the place. There is very little downtown that you can go straight to. We had to circle around until we found a One Way street that was going the one way we wanted to go. Then we had to find parking. THAT was fun. Why go downtown, you ask? It was for an art show/fund raiser for Pattison’s Academy. That was the ONLY reason I agreed to break my “No driving downtown” rule. Of course there are already exceptions to this rule anyway. I drive Mary Ruth to the aquarium. I sometimes have to drive downtown for work. But in those cases, I already have a path that I follow. This was different. Anyway, Pattison’s Academy is a great thing, so I agreed to go. Even though I wanted to go to a high school football game. There was some good art there, just none that we could afford.

So as we were leaving I had to break yet another rule: “Absolutely no driving downtown in the dark”. This all comes from when I was in high school. I think I was a junior at the time. A group of us went out to eat at some place downtown after a baseball game. I got lost on the way back home. Somehow, getting from downtown to JI was just too much for me. I ended up in North Charleston. Anyway, as we are leaving downtown we get to the Market area. As we come to a red light, a group of people walk by. The only reason I noticed them was that as the driver I must always be aware of my surroundings. The Wife, however, brought my attention to a young lady who was walking in front of us. The Wife did not agree with what this young lady was wearing (or at least, how she was wearing it). I myself had not noticed, but it seems the young lady had somehow pinned her dress in the back causing it to hug her body and let everyone know what kind of undergarments she was wearing. Of course this brought great concern to me (How did I not see this?!), but fortunately the young lady was behind a slow moving group allowing me the opportunity to see what The Wife was talking about (also allowing me to make the appropriate comment “Oh that’s just sad. Why would someone go out looking like that?”). Of course, had I not said that, The Wife would have been mad at me for looking (even though she was the one that pointed out what the young lady was wearing). Go figure…

Friday, September 25, 2009

Think you've had a bad day? Think again....

Here’s a little secret, I’m in awe veterans. This is because they do (or have done) things that I can’t do. I love reading books about wars. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not a huge fan of wars. I wish we didn’t need them. But there are times when they’re needed... and it’s at these times when brave people step up. The majority of war books that I’ve read are from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War. I can remember the first time I read about guys being out in the jungle in Vietnam at night. Thank God it wasn’t me! You do NOT want to be with me in a jungle (any jungle) at night if I’m armed. First sound I hear I’m shooting in a 360 degree radius until I’m out of ammo. I have a healthy fear of the dark.

Anyway, in a lot of these books I’ve read about guys who were in desperate situations. We all have ideas about how we would like to act in these situations. At least guys do. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only guy who at some point in my childhood used my imagination to pretend I was a soldier. In those times, no one pretends they’re the guy that is too scared to move... they pretend that they’re the guy that saves the day and wins the battle. But it’s one thing to imagine it... it’s a whole other thing to live it. The guys I’ve read about have lived it. Here are a couple of books I think everyone should read. This isn’t the entire list of war books that I’ve read, just the best of the best. Each of these will give you a great appreciation of what people in war go through.

Halsey’s Typhoon – A book about a typhoon during WWII that tossed around a bunch of aircraft carriers and battleships like they were little toys.

In Harm’s Way – About the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. One word... sharks.

We Were Soldiers Once... And Young – The movie was very close to the book... but the book was 100 times better. Amazing book.

Breakout – A book about the Chosin Reservoir Campaign in Korea (1950).

If you are like me, reading these books will cause you to look at life in a completely different way. You might think you’re having a bad day, but you read what these men went through and you’ll quickly realize that you have no clue what a bad day is really like. God bless these men and the men and women like them who don’t have their names in books.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Some thoughts...

The other day I talked about the whole President Obama calling Kanye West a “jackass” off the record thing. While it’s not 100% the same thing, it did remind me of something I read about in a Ronald Reagan biography. It seems that then-President Reagan was joking around during a microphone check (unaware that he was being broadcast) when he said, “My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”. I’m sure people got upset over it... but I think it’s funny.

I’m not saying what Governor Sanford and Congressman Wilson (more on him later) did was right, but let’s not blow things out of proportion here. Is it really news when a politician cheats on his wife? Maybe right when people find out, but I think it’s time to move on. Besides, it’s not like either one of them got drunk one night, drove off a bridge (and into the water) with a woman in the car, left the woman in the car, and didn’t tell anyone about it until the next day (however you want to word it, it’s called killing in my book) only to be re-elected over and over and over and over. I’m just sayin...

I didn’t vote for Gov. Sanford to be a role model husband/father. I voted for him because I thought he’d do the best job at getting the state’s finances in order. I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago about states with budget deficits of over 1 billion dollars (That’s $1,000,000,000.00). There were 27 states on the list and most of the states listed had deficits well over the 1 billion mark (I think California was around 40 billion and NY was around 20 billion). South Carolina wasn’t on the list.

Congressman Wilson called President Obama a liar. Am I the only person who finds it ironic (and pretty dang funny) that one politician called another politician a liar? Kind of like the pot calling the kettle black if you ask me. (And no, Jimmy Carter, I don’t find that saying racist).

If the actions of politicians could embarrass me, that would completely change who I’d vote for.

I’d only vote for Jeremy.

And Danny for Mayor, of course.

Funny story, I voted for Jeremy for a few different offices last election.

He didn’t win any of them.

I think SC public schools get a bad rap. Education is like a bank... if you don’t put anything into it, you won’t get anything out of it. Most families don’t want to put anything into it... and they get mad when they don’t get anything out of it. I say families because if parents don’t value an education, their children won’t.

At some point, kids have to take responsibility for their own actions (including, but not limited to, education).

What do all of the big companies (like Enron) that have been caught lying, cheating, and stealing have in common? None were run by graduates from SC public schools. Let’s start bashing the education system that those people came out of. Just a thought...

South Carolina isn’t perfect, but I still love it. I live here because I want to. I’ve always wanted to. That’s why I don’t understand people who move here and then complain about the state while talking about how great things were back home. If things were really that great back home, they’d have found a way to stay (or they’d find a way to go back). I’m just sayin....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I must be getting old. I’m only 30, but I’ve started feeling old lately. It’s not my health or anything like that. It’s other stuff. Who said working with kids keeps you young? I work mainly with juniors and seniors at BUMC. I’m not 100% on birthdays for these kids yet, but let’s say the juniors are 17 and the seniors are 18. That means the seniors were born in 1991 and the juniors were born in 1992. I have vivid memories of things that happened before these kids were even born (The Challenger, Hugo, Berlin Wall, the first Gulf War, Clemson’s last ACC Championship...).

Another thing making me feel old is the famous people who have died recently. These are people that I “knew”. I saw them in the news or on TV or in the movies. These aren’t just people that I’ve heard about. And it seems like they’re dropping like flies lately. Just to name a few of the famous people who have died this year:

Mary (of Peter, Paul and Mary)
Myles Brand
Patrick Swayze
Ted Kennedy
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Robert McNamara
Ed McMahon
Michael Jackson
Farrah Fawcett
Bea Arthur

I know I’m leaving some out, but those were the ones that popped in my head first. Ok, enough of this old talk. It could be worse...

***Oh, just to update something from my first post… I’ve seen Patrick Swayze on the cover of most magazines. I also saw a few of his movies on TV over the weekend. Still not like was done for Michael Jackson, but nice anyway. I guess this just shows how powerful my blog has been since day 1.***

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Building a little off of yesterday’s topic... yesterday and today mark the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo. Boy how time flies. I was living with my parents at the time (because I was only 10). We lived on James Island (my parents still live there). My Dad was working for SCE&G, so he had to go stay at the office when Hugo hit. Maybe the thing I remember the most about Hugo is that I hardly got to see Dad any in the months after it hit. I think he pretty much lived at the office for the first few weeks after Hugo. Even after that I would only see him for an hour or two each day because he had to work such long hours. I also remember how me, my Mom, and my sister evacuated to Summerville. Hey, we were getting the heck out of town. Summerville seemed a lot farther away from James Island back then. Not so much anymore. The only reason we left was they said the storm surge was going to be high (I can’t remember how high, but I remember it would have been higher than our house). So we packed our bags and headed up to Summerville where we stayed with Dr. (Jimmy) & Mrs. (Jan) Martin. The plan was to head up there for the night, ride this sucker out, and then get back home the next day (or maybe the day after). I remember Dr. Martin walked around all night with his video recorder (I wonder if he still has that tape?). I remember walking around their neighborhood the next day and seeing a two story house split in half by a tree. When I say ‘split in half’, I mean split from top to bottom. Trees were everywhere. Houses were in bad shape... yet some houses looked like they weren’t even touched. It was odd (to me, at least). I remember when we got to go back home, just seeing all of the trees on the ground. I can remember our back yard had a lot of trees in it before Hugo. A large majority of those trees didn’t make it. It was kind of a shock. I’ve got some pictures that I’ll try to put on here of how our yard looked post Hugo. I think there are two pictures of yard debris on the side of the road in front of our house. It looked that way for months. I can’t remember how long we were without power, but it felt like forever. We had a generator, so that helped. Our house didn’t get too much damage, so that was good. It could have been worse. Some friends who lived down the street had pluff mud all in their house. That was bad. Considering how close our house was from Charleston Harbor (about a street away), I don’t remember there being any water damage. Anyway, that’s my Hugo story.

Monday, September 21, 2009

World Alzheimer’s Day

Memories, good and bad, are great. They make us who we are. I think it's funny sometimes the things we remember. I remember it poured down rain the day I got married. I remember The Wife and I spent 90% of the next day flying... and in bed... sleeping, because we spent the night before (after the reception) driving from Charleston to Atlanta and then had to get up at 4am to go to the airport for flight #1.

I can’t remember what The Wife’s favorite color is to save my life... but without much thought I can tell you that in 1987 with Georgia beating Clemson 20-16, the Clemson defense was able to come up with a huge safety. Clemson was then able to drive the ball down the field and with time running out (Clemson was out of timeouts) David Treadwell went out and kicked the game winning FG.

I can’t tell you what songs were played at our wedding, but I can hear with perfect clarity the chants of “Rodney! Rodney! Rodney!” that came from a packed Death Valley as Clemson QB Rodney Williams was pulled from the game after leading Clemson to a victory against USC in his final home game.

There are classes that I took in high school and college that I have no memory of, but I can tell you where I was when I saw the Winthrop Eagles beat Notre Dame in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

I can’t remember what my boss told me to do an hour after she says it... but I remember everything Coach Hatley told me to do when I played baseball for him in high school.

I could go on and on and on... but you get the point. Memories are great. Sure, every now and then there might be a bad one... but good memories can get you through hard times. So how much would life suck if we didn’t have memories? How sad would that be? What if you were a Clemson fan and didn’t have the happy memories of 63-17 or of 1981? What if you were a USC fan and didn’t have the happy memories of... well, you get my point.

Think how hard it would be if you had to take care of someone who had lost their memories. Some days maybe they know you, most days they don’t. They forget how to do simple things that we take for granted. Forget about enjoying the happy memory of David Treadwell kicking a game winning FG at Georgia in 1986, they don’t even remember how to use the bathroom. It’s sad. I see it a lot at work. Think of all the history and happy times lost because of Alzheimer’s. Think of all the stress put on friends and family members of people who have Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association does a lot of good work for patients with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. My office works with them a good bit. They are having their Memory Walk on October 24, 2009. Our office is raising money for them. For the past 2 years, I have raised the most money at our office. As I write this, I am in 3rd place. So, if you don’t want to donate for the patients or caregivers... do it for me. Don’t let me come in 3rd place. Help me stay at #1. Give here. Don’t forget.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thoughts/Questions from the pew

Does a ‘preview service’ count like a regular service?

If I attend said ‘preview service’, can I just give a ‘preview offering’?

I don’t think my church should ask me to give money until they at least try one of my fundraising ideas. Seriously, selling PSLs would bring in a ton of money.

Did Paul ever take vacations? Is that how he found Corinth?

I think church services should include a Q & A with the pastor after the sermon.

It cracks me up how people put preachers on such high pedestals that it’s almost like they aren’t human. Why is that? The disciples (who were taught and trained by Jesus) weren’t perfect… so why expect preachers to be perfect? Even I’m not… well; let’s just agree to agree that preachers aren’t perfect.

If an imperfect preacher makes you question your faith, perhaps your faith is misplaced (your faith should be in Jesus, not people). Just a thought…

If King Solomon was so smart, how did he end up with 700 wives?

He also had 300 concubines… maybe Gov. Sanford should have brought that up in his press conference. Kind of makes one woman on the side not look so bad.

Is a preacher’s pay based on how long he/she prays? Really, I’ve heard some last so long that I actually started praying that they would end. (Is that bad that I do that?). I think preachers should take a look at Matthew 6:7 before they get up to pray.

I think a church should celebrate after a baptism like a football team does after a TD (with a fight song being played and everything).

Why do churches call trips ‘retreats’? We are in a war between good and evil. Since God is on our side, I see no reason to retreat. I say we call them attacks (or just trips… but I like attacks). After all, the song says Onward Christian Soldier… not Retreat Christian Soldier. Think about that…

Do you think the disciples made fun of each other (like the friends that I have do)?

Did Jesus ever get frustrated with them? (Romans come to arrest Jesus. Peter cuts off a guy’s ear. Jesus: “Really? Are you kidding me right now? Honestly Pete… have you heard anything I’ve been telling you? Come on dude, you’re better than that”).

Maybe there is a preacher out there somewhere who will be able to answer these questions and implement these ideas….

Saturday, September 19, 2009

So you may have noticed The Wife is following me. That means, of course, I now can’t say half the things I was going to say here. Nah... I’ll still say ‘em.

You might think that the second pregnancy would be easier than the first. After all, she’s already gone through everything once before... so she’ll know what to expect this time. You might think that... and you’d be wrong.

It looks like Baby #2 (let’s call her Susie... because that’s the name we picked for her) is going to be a big baby. I think that’s great. I want us to set some kind of record. Doesn’t have to be a world record... just some kind of record (biggest baby born at that hospital would be fine). The Wife doesn’t agree with me. I think she just lacks ambition.

Speaking of Susie, the due date will be here before too long. For me, it’s like the best of times and the worst of times. Here’s the thing, if this one is anything like the last one, my back is going to be KILLING me by the end of the day. And get this, nobody will care. We’ll be in a freakin’ hospital... I’ll be hurting... and nobody will care! Oh, but when it comes time to pay the bill... THEN they’ll care... they’ll care if I have enough money. I’m just sayin... being a man in a delivery room is like being an offensive lineman, the only time you hear your name called is if you screw up something.

The bad news is we’ll be in the middle of the college football season when this birth happens. The good news is this will all go down before the start of the college basketball season. I should have no problem making it to Winthrop’s first game of the season. I’m sure Big Sister Mary Ruth can help mommy take care of Susie.

I’m a little worried about the dogs once we bring Susie home. Well, I’m not worried about all of the dogs... just one. His name is Scooby, but he has a few aliases (Peckerhead, Gigantor, Scoobers, Goldie, Stoopy, Big pain in my ... well, you get the idea). You see, the other two are veterans. They were around for Mary Ruth. I know how they’ll act (and react). Baby cries: Maverick (like any good male) will go hide... or at least go to the door and act like he is protecting the baby; Lucy will go to the baby and see what is wrong. If possible, she will lick the face of the baby until there is no more crying. But what about Scooby? Will he bark and make things worse? Will he run over Susie? Will he take her toy and chew it up? For his sake, I hope he follows Maverick’s lead and just lays low. That would be his best bet. Just stay out of the way... don’t try to help... the less you do, the less you can be blamed for.

Friday, September 18, 2009

To win or not to win... and how?

So, I saw where people are upset because a high school football team in Florida beat another high school football team in Florida 83-0. I’ve been on both sides of a beat-down before as a player and as a coach. I feel for people on each side. Here’s the deal... unless you’re playing your rival, embarrassing an opponent isn’t all that fun.

Let’s start with the obvious stuff first. Getting killed in a game ain’t fun. Having a team run the score up against you is even worse. It embarrasses you and makes you feel sick. But it also teaches you something. See, in a lot of ways, life is like sports. If you play sports long enough, there’s a chance someone will come along and run the score up on you. If you live long enough, there’s a chance life will punch you in the face and then really start beating you. I love the quote from the last Rocky movie where Rocky says,

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place, and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not point fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody”.

See, not everybody is a winner all the time. There are times you might do your best and get crushed 83-0. But how are you going to deal with it? Are you going to give up? Are you going to run away and never play again? Or are you going to keep fighting and keep working hard? This is a problem I have with a lot of youth sports these days. They want everyone to be a winner. Well, everyone isn’t a winner. I’m not talking about t-ball here. You want to call everyone a winner at that level, that’s fine. I coached t-ball one time. Trust me, if everyone makes it off the field alive then they really are all winners. And there are times when just playing makes you a winner regardless of the score. I get that. But for 99% of the kids playing, it should be win or lose. The reason this is important is that learning how to deal with defeat at a young age can pay huge dividends later in life. Learning how to win can also payoff big time.

So what about being on the winning side of 83-0? First off, in the Florida game mentioned at the beginning, I don’t think the team was trying to run up the score. They took their starters out at halftime and only passed the ball one time in the second half. I’m not 100% sure what else they could have done. Don’t forget that a lot of the guys playing in the second half probably don’t get much playing time so they should be allowed to give their best out there. Plus winning by a lot can also be a teaching opportunity. For one thing, it teaches kids that hard work pays off. It is important, however, to teach them the right way to win. Winning because you work harder and play harder than the other team is fine, running up the score isn’t. There are times when it’s a fine line between the two and there are times when it’s obvious. In the end, it comes down to being thankful for what you have (better talent, better work ethic, just plain ol’ good luck...) and respecting your opponent... and also realizing that the next time you might be on the bad side of a beat down.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Patrick Swayze, President Obama, & the media

So where is all the love for Patrick Swayze? Michael Jackson dies and I hear about it 24/7 for months. Patrick Swayze dies and it’s just another piece of news. I know that they aren’t on the same level, but still... It’s not like Swayze was some C-list actor. Sure, most of his great stuff was early in his career, but the same could be said about MJ. Some will say all of this fuss/non-fuss is because Swayze had cancer so his death wasn’t a shock. Well, Michael Jackson didn’t have cancer but he was still sick. Here’s the thing, I liked MJ. Beat It is one of the first songs I can remember loving. But somewhere along the way we grew apart (probably around the time I started liking girls and he started liking little boys). Even his music got to a point where it wasn’t good. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy his early stuff. I just don’t think he should be treated like a saint... unless we are going to treat everyone in Hollywood who dies like a saint. If that’s the case, where is the love for Patrick Swayze? I want to see all day movie marathons of his stuff. Some of my personal favorites are (these are in no real order):

North & South – A ‘made for tv’ mini-series about the Civil War that among other things is freakin’ awesome.
Road House – This movie made me want to be a bouncer when I grew up.
Red Dawn – A classic ‘80s movie
Dirty Dancing – “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”... worst movie line ever... but it always makes me laugh.
Ghost – Not bad for a chick-flick
Point Break – Get to see him as a bad guy.
SNL – Swayze also had some classic moments on SNL

It seems President Obama called Kanye West a "jackass"? I have two thoughts about this. #1- seems this remark was made off the record, so I think it's pretty weak that it was made public. #2- the President should have started with "No offense, but..." as long as you start a statement like that it shouldn't matter what you say after it. #3 - This could be the first thing that he's said that I agree with. Maybe he should have said it on the record.

I don’t expect much from the media. I like to keep the bar low for them... protect your sources and don’t report stuff said off the record. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

I also saw last night that America is racist. There was a report on how low of a percentage of white people in the South voted for President Obama. The obvious reason for this (as was reported) is racism. I’ll only mention a few of my problems with this. First, these numbers were from exit polls which right away means they aren’t worth crap. Second, this reasoning requires the assumption that the only reason people didn’t vote for President Obama is that they are racist. While I don’t doubt that there are people out there who are like that, I don’t think the media should assume everyone is like that. For example, I would have been happy to vote for Mr. Obama if I had agreed with him on more issues than I did with Mr. McCain. And for the record, white people do not have a monopoly on racism. It exists in every race/culture... I could go on and on about this but I’ll save it for another day.