Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can she just have my kidneys?

My poor Darling Valerie. She's been having to use the restroom every ten minutes for several days now, which seemed normal for being pregnant, but she's also had back and stomach pains. Monday we went to her ob/gyn office to rule out anything serious, and of course my optimism was squashed like a tiny bug under the jackboot of bad news: She may have a kidney stone.

Let's rank what we'd rather the test would have shown:

1. Cooper standing directly on her bladder, doing jumping jacks.
2. Urinary tract infection.
3. Urine busy playing poker in bladder, can only get away every few minutes.
753. Kidney stone.

If Val's going to be miserable all nine months like this, either she had better have a very short-term memory or Cooper's sibling(s) will be adopted!

(Do doctors take a six-week course on how to keep patients waiting for two hours for a five-minute consult? We got there at 3:15 and didn't leave until after 5:30 yesterday. We were so late that most of the staff was long gone, and I was pretty sure that we were supposed to turn out the lights and lock the door behind us. The nurse who assisted the doctor beat us to the parking lot! Is it the philosophy that "If they wait long enough they'll get realize it's not so bad, get bored and leave?")

I, of course, am the King Of Bad Timing. Val's making an appointment to the doctor, and I'm at Gould's getting an hour-long relaxation massage.

To be fair, she did arrange it for me as a Father's Day gift. And as a bonus, it ended up being free.

Saturday we went for my massage and for her to get a pedicure, but my therapist didn't show up that morning. The front desk manager was very nice (and quietly livid at the therapist) and said that as an apology they'd comp my massage for another date.

Fine with us! I would have rescheduled and not even been upset or annoyed, but hey, if you'll make it free, Yee-Haw! Am I right?

The reason Val did it for me was to make sure it was indeed relaxing to make up for the last time I had a massage, on the cruise for our first anniversary when the therapist decided to treat my body as if she was kneading bread. It hurt so much I began to wonder if she should work at Guantanamo Bay as a threat to the terrorists.

The massage was pretty dreamy, so no complaints. It was as you'd expect, laying down in a dim room, a sound machine playing sounds of the beach, and music lightly coming from above that sounds right out of the "March of the Penguins" score.

The timing worked for me, at least, if not for Val. Because of the technical problems encountered with the transition to HD at our station, Wednesday-through-Sunday was the longest, most stressful workweek I've had in ten years, since I was at Headline News making the transition to digital playback working in Master Control. I'm not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow out of fear that the problems aren't over yet!

Hey, tomorrow's July! One month of 99-degree heat is over, and we have a vacation coming up in a couple of weeks. Val's parents are taking her grandmother to Branson, Missouri, and asked us to tag along, so we decided it was a good time to take off work, hang out in a cabin, go swimming, see a show or two, and in general be far away from our world. Good times.

Order in the courtroom

The Supreme Court laid the smack down Monday on The Obamessiah's pick for the Supreme Court, who will be quickly run through Congress anyway.

From a National Review Online editorial:
The Supreme Court ended its term on Monday by ruling that the City of New Haven’s intentional discrimination against 20 mostly white firefighters — denying them promotions after they had received the highest grades on qualifying examinations — violated federal law. Honoring the principle of equality under the law, the Court’s much-anticipated decision in Ricci v. DiStefano awarded judgment in favor of the firefighters, reversing lower court rulings that had peremptorily dismissed the case.
...
The decision is a sharp rebuke for Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Pres. Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Justice David Souter when the Supreme Court convenes in October. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion that was joined by the Court’s three other reliable liberals (Justices Stevens, Souter, and Breyer), and thus administration spinners are already whirring about how the 5-4 majority purportedly shows that Sotomayor’s handling of the case was in the mainstream. That rhetorical sleight of hand, however, misstates both the facts and the nature of the complaint against Sotomayor.

The only consensus the nine justices found was that the handling of case by Sotomayor’s three-judge appeals-court panel was shoddy. Even the four dissenting justices agreed that the Second Circuit applied the wrong legal standard. The majority was less charitable, rehearsing the machinations by which the lower courts tried to bury the firefighters’ discrimination claims: While conceding evidence of intentional discrimination, a district judge disposed of the claims in an unpublished order, which Sotomayor’s panel then rubber-stamped in an unpublished summary order of its own. That maneuver prompted a withering protest from Second Circuit judge Jose Cabranes, a highly respected Clinton appointee, who was startled at his court’s cavalier treatment of such profound legal issues.

Top Ten Signs You Are Broke

Courtesy Grif.net:


10. American Express calls and says: "Leave home without it!"

9. You're formulating a plan to rob the food bank.

8. Long distance companies don't call you to switch.

7. You rob Peter...and then rob Paul.

6. You finally clean your house, hoping to find change.

5. You think of a lottery ticket as an investment.

4. Your bologna has no first name.

3. Sally Struthers sends you food.

2. McDonald's supplies you with all your kitchen condiments.

1. At communion you go back for seconds.

Monday, June 29, 2009

What are you looking at?

Over the years I think I've perfected the looks I give other drivers, especially those who are ticking me off. Here are some of my best looks.

When I'm being passed:

The "Why were you on my tail for the past five miles even though you know that I'm in line behind seven other cars all waiting for this semi to pass the other semi even though both are going 10 mph under the speed limit" Look.

The "I really really enjoyed watching you come racing down the right lane trying to pass me but getting caught by traffic and having to hit your brakes" Smirk.

The "You don't see that cop hiding in the weeds up ahead but I do so I can't wait to see you hit your brakes when you do" Smirk.

The "I'm actually in a good mood and just out for a fun drive so I'm not in a hurry and go ahead and pass" Nod.

When I'm passing:

The "I can't believe you jumped in front of me and slowed down so I couldn't wait to speed up and pass you so I could give you this look" Glare.

The "You aren't looking at me to see me giving you the universal hang up the phone gesture with my right hand to my ear because you are on the cellphone and you probably don't even know that you're weaving around two lanes" Look.

The "We are all aware that you have very loud speakers in your car, but seriously, that's not even music and if there are words who can understand them" Sneer.


I'm sure y'all are just sunshine and rainbows and unicorns when you're driving, and you wonder why this creepy guy in a beige Aztek keeps giving you weird looks on the road, but if you have any looks of your own, feel free to share.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mind of a Soon-To-Be-Father: Naming Rights

I didn’t look up the meaning, but I’m pretty sure Cooper is Old English for "All-Star Shortstop for Red Sox." Not that I have too many expectations for our Mini Coop, of course.

No, actually most sites agree that Cooper is an "English surname that originated as an occupational name for a cooper, a cask or barrel maker or seller. It is derived from the Middle English couper (a cask)."

I like mine better. Obviously we did not care what the origin of the name was, so when he asks, I'll just say it means "God's peace" or "Nobel Prize winner."

According to the Baby Name Wizard, Cooper was the 92nd most popular boys' name in 2008.

That's up from 95 in 2007, 113 in 2006, and a steady incline since it popped into the top 1,000 in the early 80s, the first time since the 1880s, in fact.

(According to the NameMapper, it was the 65th most popular in Tennessee in 2007, and as high as 28 in Kansas.)

We are not going to be picky as to whether you call our boy Cooper or Coop. We're fine either way. We'll also accept "Little Guy," "Tiger" and "Sport."

I won't go through the process we had in choosing Cooper Howell Rushing as our sons' name, since Val and I would like to hold onto the runners-up just in case. None, we can assure you, were similar to wacky celebrity names like Apple, Moses or, for real, Tu Morrow.

Top 5 Boys Names That Would Have Be Cool From Movies:

1. Rhett, "Gone With the Wind"
2. Chance, "Hellfighters" (also John Wayne's last name in "Rio Bravo.")
3. Atticus, "To Kill a Mockingbird"
4. Samwise, "Lord of the Rings"
5. Maximus, "Gladiator"

Rejected Male Movie Star Names:

1. Humphrey
2. Denzel
3. Toshiro
4. Orson
5. Shia

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Here's Your Sign

A little while ago our street sign had to be replaced. You'd think the officials would at least check, you know, the proper spelling of Breckenridge Cove:

Friday, June 26, 2009

The news of the day

Our morning newscast consisted of three things: Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton resigning as of July 12, Michael Jackson's surprise death, and the Grizzlies in the NBA draft. What to think?

Good riddance to Herenton, obviously. There was nothing that he couldn't use to split the city and county by race, disappeared for long stretches (anyone see him at all during the recent storms, even for just a photo op?) and appeared in public only to see himself in the news and stir up the city council. I encourage him to go through with his desire to run against fellow Democrat Steve Cohen for the 9th Congressional seat, if only because I would enjoy watching them eat each other alive, like how Starfleet would be the winner of a Borg-Romulan war. With fewer phasers.

I acknowledge that Michael Jackson used to be the King Of Pop, "Thriller" was very cool when I was eight years old and he had an awesome run in the 80s. However, for the past 15 years he's become the freak of the pop culture world, not to mention his alleged creepy Jesus Juicing of kids. The spectacle for the next week or two is certain to epitomize the weirdness of his life. If you thought the Anna Nicole Smith circus was all over the news, we've only just begun. Joel McHale and "The Soup," over to you!

Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies, led by notably lame GM Chris Wallace took a big man second in the draft, Hasheem Thabeet, a man who was too hurt to tryout before and is called a defensive specialist, which is code for "dude can't shoot worth a lick." What could go wrong?

Do you know what really should be in the news but was ignored today by the Obamedia? the Democrats in the House just passed an energy bill that amounts to the largest tax increase ever and could cost Americans over $1,200 a year in energy costs. I think that's a little more important, eh?

Pregnancy In These United States

Some of the funny stuff I found at Reader's Digest:


Throughout her pregnancy, my sister Joanne insisted that she wanted no medication during labor. When the big day came, though, she wondered if she had made the right decision.

Knowing my sister's stance on drugs, the midwife did everything else to ease Joanne's pain. "You look uncomfortable," she said at one point. "Would you like to change positions?"

"Yes," Joanne replied. "I want to be the midwife!"
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During the latter stages of my pregnancy, I brought a cushion to work to make my chair more comfortable. One afternoon I returned from lunch to find my chair had been pushed to the far side of my work area. "Looks like someone's sitting in my chair," I commented to one of my co-workers.

Glancing down at my stomach, she said, "Looks like someone's also been sleeping in your bed."
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My niece, delivering her first child, requested that her mother and I come into the labor room with her. During one violent contraction she looked up at my sister and said, "Mom, please help me. The pains are really bad."

"Honey," my sister replied, "there isn't anything I can do."

My niece then turned to me. "Marisela, please help me," she implored. "Mom doesn't understand what I'm going through."
--------------------------------------------------------------------

My friend read her son's horoscope and thought it quite appropriate. "You've spent the last few weeks looking for escape," it said. "But now it's time to get on with your life."

She had just given birth to him that morning.
--------------------------------------------------------------------


My husband met me at the doctor's office for my routine checkup, and from there we decided to go out to eat. Since we had driven in separate cars, I arrived at the restaurant first.

"One for dinner?" asked the hostess.

"No," I replied. "There will be two of us in just a minute."

When I saw the panicky look on the hostess's face, I realized I had forgotten about my appearance. Anybody could see that I was at least 8 1/2 months pregnant.
--------------------------------------------------------------------


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To confirm her suspicions, my sister needed to purchase a pregnancy test. Since I was going to the pharmacy, she asked me to pick one up. I didn't stop to think how I appeared to the clerk when I waddled up—nine months pregnant—to pay for the kit.

"Honey," she said, "I can save you $15 right now. You're definitely going to have a baby."

--------------------------------------------------------------------



My husband and I had been trying to have a third child for a while. Unfortunately, the day I was to take a home pregnancy test, he was called out of town on business. I had told our young daughters about the test, and they were excited. We decided if it was positive, we would buy a baby outfit to surprise their father when he got home. The three of us stood in the bathroom eagerly waiting for the telltale line to appear.

When it did not, my thoughtful seven-year-old gave me a hug. "It's okay, Mom," she said. "The next time Daddy goes out of town, you can try and get pregnant again."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

I was in my ninth month of pregnancy and feeling very uncomfortable. On top of everything, my pleas for sympathy seemed to go unnoticed by my husband.

One day I told him, "I hope in your next life you get to be pregnant!"

He replied, "I hope in your next life you get to be married to someone who's pregnant!"

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Carol was pregnant with her first child, and her husband was about to leave on a two-week business trip. When Carol went to her doctor appointment, she had some questions.

"My husband wants me to ask you something—" Carol began.

The doctor interrupted her. "I get asked that question all the time," he said in a reassuring tone. "Sex is fine until late in the pregnancy."

"No, that's not it!" an embarrassed Carol confessed. "My husband wants to know if I can still mow the lawn."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Our catering manager lacks certain social skills -- like knowing when to keep her mouth shut. While discussing a baby christening party with a young couple, she told the mother, "You look like you've lost most of your pregnancy weight." "Thanks," came the clenched-teeth reply. "We adopted."

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Pregnant with my third child, I was stricken with a bout of morning sickness and lay down on the living-room couch to rest. Just then one of the workmen who was doing repairs in my house walked by and gave me a curious look. "Taking a little break," I explained. "I'm in my first trimester."

"Really?" he said. "What's your major?"

--------------------------------------------------------------------

After my wife had a sonogram, I asked my mother-in-law to guess the sex of the twins her daughter was carrying.

"Two boys," she said.

I shook my head.

"It must be two girls," she offered.

Again I told her no.

"Well, then," she asked, "what are they?"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Taking "nice shot" to the next level

Hey golfers, if you think the group in front of you are a bunch of slowpokes, just sit in your cart and eat a Snickers bar, and calm the frak down:
According to Dailey's arrest affidavit, Nader and two friends were playing golf when Dailey approached them at the ninth hole. The affidavit said Dailey complained that they were playing too slowly and had parked their golf cart inappropriately.

The argument continued for four more holes; at the 13th hole, Dailey told Nader that he would get his gun and "make them both equal," the affidavit said.

After the 18th hole, all of them ended up in the parking lot together, the affidavit said, and Dailey reignited the confrontation and told the three men to stay away from him because he felt threatened.

After a verbal exchange, Dailey pulled out a .25-caliber Browning handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets and pointed it at Nader, the affidavit said. The three men took cover behind cars, fearing for their lives, the affidavit said.
After a scare like that, you may need to use your UroClub.

The president says you should give up, grandpa!

And so the march to socialized health care begins with The Obamessiah's government deciding how you should expire:
President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care.

From 16 to 14

I was close on the bottom three of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN KEEP NIGEL FROM RANTING ABOUT HOW AWFUL YOU ARE, picking Carla/Jonathan and Caitlin/Jason, but forgetting how popular Phillip is, so he was safe, and Asuka/Vitolio ended up in the bottom again as in the first week.

Let's see how their solos went:

Asuka - Ballroom experience doesn't look good in a solo when all you do is kick your feet.
Vitolio - High splits.
Carla - Tribal contemporary, is what I'm calling it, with all the crouching.
Jonathan - Does the kind of hopping and kicking with the drumbeat that makes you want to go, "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!"
Caitlin - Soft, and a backflip at the end! Surprise!
Jason - The kitchen sink of contemporary, a little bit of all the moves you'd expect.

Going home: Asuka and Jonathan, neither a surprise. So next week, Vitolio will work with Carla, and they're both in the bottom three already, I'm guessing.

Top 16

I'm not sure how Toni "Hey Mickey you're so fine" Basil convinced the SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE producers last season that she was worth bringing back as a guest judge, but there she was Wednesday night, dispensing long-winded advice that didn't add one iota of necessary information to the proceedings, not that I could take her seriously anyway while wearing that giant black beret.

And then they tell us that she's receving a hip-hop legends award, which, really? Toni Basil? Yo? Gangsta cred? I must really be missing something behind the scenes. Next thing you know, Hootie of Hootie and the Blowfish will be performing at a country music awards show. Wait, he did? Oh man, world topsy-turvy, dogs and cats living together.

KARLA & JONATHAN - Speaking of hip-hop, here's your first entrant into the bottom three tonight. She was okay, he wasn't. Nigel came ready with talking points that no doubt he's been preparing since the rehearsals, if not before, because he goes on this five minute rant about how bad they were, acts like they're talking back to them when i don't think they got in more than three words of defense.

ASUKA & VITOLIO - Cat just earned them at least a 10 percent boost in votes by pawning all over him and how he takes care of Asuka emotionally. I'm not sure how he's supposed to act when she's crying, but hey, whatever helps. Their jazz routine didn't do much for us, mainly because they didn't do much of anything. They chase, he twirls her around, they repeat. Nigel dubs it "fantastic" since they aren't Karla and Jonathan, I guess, and Mary says it was so-so. Toni said something, but wasn't so fine and didn't blow my mind.

MELISSA & ADE - Wow, how long has Nigel been holding onto the "What a difference 'Ade' makes" reference? Two weeks? Since Vegas? Their rumba was pretty sensual, if only for how flexible Melissa is, completely stealing the dance from Ade, who disappeared into the background. DING! (First of the night, I think, I don't remember the judges giving the choreographers credit the first two. Interesting.) Bonus: She has yet to get her eye poked out by his hair pick in rehearsals.

JENETTE & BRANDON - Another hip-hop, another rock-and-roll theme (Asuka & Vitolio's jazz was rock-and-roll, too), and does all the rock-and-roll clothing have to be purchased from the Frederick's of Hollywood Slutty Cher Collection? The judges DING! DING!, so they enjoyed themselves. Brandon is the one who rocked, even if he was technically the hip-hopper.

KAYLA & KUPONO - Our newest pairing gets a waltz, and while he's okay with the "gay arms," as Chuck called them on "DWTS," she's daggum amazing. The way she moves her body and flows, it's beautiful. Just a so-so DING! by Nigel, and then Mary decides that she wants to make sure they never end up in the bottom three again by boarding them on the Hot Tamale Train. Woo-Woo! Toni reveals her inner Len Goodman by scolding the choreographer on the lack of shoes in the ballroom dance.

RANDI & EVAN - My favorite couple gets a MIA MICHAELS SHE'S THE BESTEST CHOREOGRAPHER EVER AND DON'T LET US FORGET IT, JUDGES routine, which sometimes makes me nauseaous, but these two are so super darn adorable they pull it off with aplumb, and I don't hand out aplumbs lightly. Considering Mia based her routine on Randi's butt, and dyed her hair blonde this week, does anyone else see a "Single White Female" crush coming from Mia towards Randi? Hey, Randi's married! Even already tried! DING!

CAITLIN & JASON - Between their ancient Greek costumes and the "O Fortuna" music for their paso doble, I felt like we were watching the musical version of "300." Very dramatic, although tough to pay attention the actual dancing due to the theatrics.

PHILLIP & JENEANE - He should have gone last week, only to be saved to do a Broadway number, with "Singing in the Rain" music to boot, jumping over a couch and flopping into feathers, and still the judges seem to have decided that he can only grow so much, and critique him pretty harsh. Dude looked like he'd rather be under the couch. They liked her, but I don't think they judges would care if she was eliminated. Will the audience save him if only for his pants ripping to reveal his behind?

Bottom three: Phillip/Jeneane, Karla/Jonathan and ???? I don't know. Caitlin and Jason? No matter which other two, they'd be safe from the judges.

Hope and Change from Lizard People

ABC's rolling out a new "V" series, and it's pretty much the same as the miniseries from the 80s, only with fancier graphics and the bonus of starring Elizabeth "Juliet" Mitchell:



Will I see it? That's the big question. My guess: Nah.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Obamessiah comes down from the clouds to speak to his press

"THE OBAMA SHOW" - Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank on the heavily staged presser on Tuesday and the eager-to-please Obamedia that just goes along with their guy:
In his first daytime news conference yesterday, President Obama preempted "All My Children," "Days of Our Lives" and "The Young and the Restless." But the soap viewers shouldn't have been disappointed: The president had arranged some prepackaged entertainment for them.
...
During the eight years of the Bush administration, liberal outlets such as the Huffington Post often accused the White House of planting questioners in news conferences to ask preplanned questions. But here was Obama fielding a preplanned question asked by a planted questioner -- from the Huffington Post.


FOR THE SCIENCE GEEKS OUT THERE, these are some super cool photos of an erupting volcano as seen from the International Space Station.


IS THAT 1-IRON OR A NUMBER 1-IRON IN YOUR BAG:
How many times has this happened? You’re playing 18 holes with your best buddies, drinking sport-“ades”, water, beer, etc. You’re coming up to the 3rd hole with no rest room in sight. There are no trees or bushes around and you just have to go, what are you going to do? The UroClub™ is the discrete, sanitary way for your urgent relief. Created by a Board Certified Urologist, it looks like an ordinary golf club, but contains a reservoir built into the grip to relieve yourself. The UroClub™ is leak proof, easy to clean and no more embarrassing moments.
Oh yes, there are pictures. Ew.

In the news about having babies

Checking the baby sites, as I'm wont to do nowadays, I come across the most interesting articles ...

- BABYCENTER HAS A LIST OF summer activities for Val to avoid, including, but not limited to: Gymnastics, hockey, horseback riding, bicycling, and downhill skiing. Not listed, and thus I will assume they are safe: Rugby, hunting, demolition derby and belly flopping contests in the pool.

- IN WHAT I'M ASSUMING is okay with PETA, research shows that "research on mice, along with similar studies on monkeys and humans, suggests that fatherhood chemically alters men to make them better fathers." It's nice to be lumped in with a standup group of guys. Which would also explain why pregnant women say, "Being the daddy is so easy a monkey could do it!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I prefer to be called "husky"

Boo Yah! Check this study out: Chubby people live longest! Being too thin is actually worse! It's science!
Health experts have long warned of the risk of obesity, but a new Japanese study warns that being very skinny is even more dangerous, and that slightly chubby people live longer.

People who are a little overweight at age 40 live six to seven years longer than very thin people, whose average life expectancy was shorter by some five years than that of obese people, the study found.

"We found skinny people run the highest risk," said Shinichi Kuriyama, an associate professor at Tohoku University's Graduate School of Medicine who worked on the long-term study of middle-aged and elderly people.

"We had expected thin people would show the shortest life expectancy but didn't expect the difference to be this large," he told AFP by telephone.

The study was conducted by a health ministry team led by Tohoku University professor Ichiro Tsuji and covered 50,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 over 12 years in the northern Japanese prefecture of Miyagi.

"There had been an argument that thin people's lives are short because many of them are sick or smoke. But the difference was almost unchanged even when we eliminated these factors," Kuriyama said.

Main reasons for the shorter lifespans of skinny people were believed to include their heightened vulnerability to diseases such as pneumonia and the fragility of their blood vessels, he said.

But Kuriyama warned he was not recommending people eat as much as they want.

"It's better that thin people try to gain normal weight, but we doubt it's good for people of normal physique to put on more fat," he said.
I'm sorry, I didn't get around to the end of the article due to my indulging of nachos and cheese dip. What did it say?

Monday, June 22, 2009

The grass is flat, and that's all I can ask for

I hadn't mowed my lawn in two weeks until today, and considering 10 days ago we were drenched by Hurricane B.B., you can imagine the grass was getting a little unruly.

Not so much in the front because of what's left of the trees, but for the back if you got lost I'd borrowed a Saint Bernard carrying a flask of lemonade and a GPS.

So, even though it's 100+degrees with the heat index, I trudged around with my lawn mower, which actually was much easier since my bro-and-dad-in-laws fixed the self-propelled belt.

The haul: Two golf balls, two toy pistols and two ammunition packs for toy pistols.

I will also have to sharpen my blades soon, I'm guessing, based on the constant CRACK and THWACK from running over all the small limbs and pine cones littering Valfrey Estate.

Jeff's Top 5: Tim McCarver Stadium and the Memphis Chicks

The Redbirds recently paid homage to the long-gone Memphis Chicks and Tim McCarver Stadium, now torn down. Naturally, being a guy who enjoys nostalgia, this brought forth some memories of my own summers spent watching minor league baseball, eating ice cream out of a helmet.

Speaking of, it used to be that you could collect the helmets of Major League teams, but at AutoZone Park last month you could only get a Redbirds helmet. What's up with that?

The Chicks left Memphis for Jackson the year I graduated from Union, which was terrible timing. Many Union students went to work for the team, and as a sports writer with the Jackson Sun surely I could have covered a game or two. Bummer.

Nowadays, except for the fact that I hate driving downtown, Memphis built one of the best minor league venues in the country, and as a Triple-A affiliate of the Cardinals, Memphis definitely won in the long run, if only for the Rendezvous starting to sell BBQ nachos at the Park.

A top five list of things my mind conjures up when thinking of Tim McCarver Stadium and the Chicks:

1. I never caught a home run ball, but I did retrieve one that was hit by future Red Sox SS Pokey Reese when he played for the Chattanooga Lookouts, one of only three he hit in '93, I think. The ball screamed over the building that sat behind the right-field fence, and as I raced down the stairs, buddies Steve and Paul, looking from the stands above, told me where it came to rest by a fence to beat a few other guys to it. Sure, not a proud moment of snatching a ball out of midair, but I actually still have the ball. Okay, so Pokey only played with us for one year, but it was the World Series year of 2004, so he'll always be a Red Sox to me!

2. I was there in 1994 when Michael Jordan came to play with the Birmingham Barons, along with a packed house of Chicks fans. Other top players who stopped by include Tim Raines when the Chicks were an Expos affiliate, and Bo Jackson when he was coming up for Kansas City.

3. Me, Steve and Paul were almost kicked out of a game one night and accused of racism. We were sitting in the right-field stands, watching the Chicks play the Cubs' AA affiliate, either Charlotte in '92 or Orlando in '93. Their right-fielder was named Ozzie Timmons. Early on we started yelling "Timmons!" in good fun, actually rooting for the guy just because we liked how his name sounded when we yelled it. Just some silly high schoolers. Apparently, though, there were some drunks on the other side of the stands who weren't in good spirits, because if he heard racist taunts it sure wasn't coming from us!

4. Back when finding alone time meant staying in my room away from the hustle and bustle among three siblings and my parents, I listened to games on the radio, and remember sitting up in my room at the old Rushing homestead on Ancroft Cove, listening to the Chicks win the Southern League title in 1990.

5. This is definitely not a top, more like a bottom memory. Our youth group from Merton Avenue Baptist went to many a game, and as an awkward teenage boy I had many crushes, of course. Unfortunately for me, one of the girls (we'll call her "Aimee") very loudly, angrily and publicly rejected me at a game one night with all of our friends around. Yeah, I probably said something stupid and was probably being obnoxious about being rejected (it all started earlier in the summer at Centrifuge, a Christian youth retreat, when I felt she was playing games with my overly hormonal emotions), so I certainly take any and all blame for my humiliation. I don't remember ever acknowledging her or speaking to her ever again, which is tough to do when there are less than two dozen youth in the church.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

But can he walk on water? Oh, then okay.

EA Sports had some fun with the Tiger Phenomenon:


Rocco Mediate is no Tiger, but close.

Happy Father's Day!

As a son about to have a son of his own, I will be in contact with my father aplenty! I mean, when I was a teen, sure, I didn't think Dad knew a whole lot, but it's amazing how much he's learned over the years. *wink!*

I'm sure Dad will be thrilled to hear me out each time I call, wondering how he never got too mad every time I broke a window (and I broke a LOT) or left Hot Wheels scattered around the house, or how he could afford to constantly take me playing golf to soccer and baseball, year 'round.

So Happy Father's Day to my Dad, a man generous with his time, advice, and can laugh now when thinking about the time we were at Falls Creek Falls to drop me off at golf camp when he let me go down to the car, told me specifically not to lock the keys in the car, and naturally, I did just that.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No Dice

The good news is that with the Red Sox playing the Braves, we get all of Atlanta's games locally, so I have been able to watch the entire weekend series. The bad news is, Dice-K started on Friday, badly, and he's gone from cover-your-eyes awful to throw-something-at-the-TV awful.

I mean, it's not that I have unrealistic expectations by figuring that the Sox should win every game they play, but does Dice-K have to actively subvert them with every start? Not only does he lose nearly every time (1-5 so far, 8.23 ERA) with that stupid nibbling on the corners thing that he does, he hasn't made it into the seventh inning all season, so he makes the bullpen work extra hard to make up for his unawesomeness.

(A Thanks for Noticing Me news alert: Dice-K will be skipped next time around in the rotation. Why even bother with the pretense that he could return? Just diagnose him with one of those make-believe "anxiety disorder" hooeys and ship him to triple-A Pawtucket?)

Speaking of someone who makes his own fans feel awkward, A-Fraud is sitting this weekend for the Dang Yanks with "fatigue," even though he's back home in Miami to play the Marlins. Hmm, he's only played 38 games this season and he's already pooped? Sounds like he needs some, well, let's just call it "performance enhancement."

Meanwhile, Josh Beckett made up for Dice-K obliterating our bullpen with a three-hit complete game shutout Saturday night. The pitcher he bested? Derek Lowe, who got a standing ovation from the Red Sox crowd upon his exit.

I'm good with that. After all, he was the winning pitcher in each of the deciding games in all three series in 2004 on the way to the World Series title. Respect!

Up review, Jeff's Top 5 Pixar Movies

Nowadays just hearing that there's a new Pixar film I get like one of Pavlov's dogs, except that instead of drooling when the dinner bell rings, my eyes get misty and I get the warm fuzzies. Yes, I am an adult male who watches sports and eats meat. I also have a soft spot.
 
Can Pixar do no wrong? With "Up," they certainly keep getting the formula right: a sincere story, memorable characters, imaginative graphics and a super happy grinning-ear-to-ear ending. The could take "South Park's" Mr. Hanky and market it to kids and sell millions of stuffed Christmas Poos.
 
One reason the story works is that Pixar won't stray from making you depressed with a sad story, such as Jessie getting abandoned in "Toy Story 2," and in this case, Carl lives a long life with wife Ellie, whom we see can't have children in a montage that really made me and my pregnant wife sniffle. When she dies, Carl decides to set off on the grand adventure he rues that they never took to maybe-mythical Paradise Falls. If you've seen the previews, you know that it involves floating their home using thousands of balloons.
 
No doubt there are many many kids who have blown up 100 balloons, attached them to a lawn chair and tried - unsuccessfully - to run away from home. Back in the day, kids had to break their teeth by leaping off houses with a sheet as a cape before they realized they were not, in fact, Superman.
 
Along the way, Carl accidentally ends up dragging along Russell, an earnest Wilderness Explorer with an absent father, Doug the "talking" dog, fluffy and playful and dumb, and one of the cutest and funniest characters in the Pixar universe, and Kevin the "snipe," which looks like an oversized peacock, with a taste for chocolate.
 
It's all very colorful, sweet, funny and everything you now expect. To criticize any of "Up" is like saying a baby isn't adorable when dressed up in a Pooh costume for Halloween. No one would believe such preposterous opining.
 
Not to upset the people at Pixar who control my emotions and be a contrarian to what looks to be a trend to stay, while it's a nice effect, the movie really didn't have to be in 3-D. There were only a handful of times that it seemed to be utilized, and the glasses kept slipping off my wife's cute little button nose.
 
JEFF'S TOP 5 PIXAR MOVIES:
 
1. "WALL-E" - The movie equivalent of a warm embrace.
2. "Toy Story" - The All-Star, the original, the Grand Poobah of Pixar movies.
3. "Finding Nemo" - How many clown fish have been flushed in the years following the release?
4. "Up" - Doug the dog deserves his own spin-off.
5. "Toy Story 2" - You always knew your toys came alive when you left.
 
In the running:
 
"Monsters Inc." - Sure, the ones in your closet are just regular guys with malformed features, but what about the ones under the bed?
 
"A Bug's Life" - And to think, one squish under your size 10s and it all goes away.
 
"The Incredibles" - I don't know why I didn't like this one as much as so many others. It kind of bored me, though that's like saying that I wasn't entertained by a "Star Trek" flick. It's about degrees of enjoyment.
 
Not seen:
 
"Cars," "Ratatouille" - Neither tickled my fancy enough to bother.

Friday, June 19, 2009

From 18 to 16

I greatly and not at all guiltily enjoy these summer dating shows that feature some sort of twist, whether it was "For Love Or Money" or "Age of Love," so yes, I am totally going to tune in come July for Fox's "More To Love" show with the fat people. It will be awesome, and not because we'd be inclined to make fun of them, but more likely they'll be move likable and sincere than any of the "pretty" people on the awful "Bachelor" shows.

Thursday night on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, our favorites were safe, but Phillip wasn't even in the bottom three, which means within five weeks he'll be firmly in Sanjaya Land.

The bottom three, instead, consisting of Caitlin/Jason, Ashley/Kupono and Max/Kayla. Would the judges split a pair up this early? After all, they are big fans of Jason, Kupono and Kayla, leaving partners Caitlin, Ashley and Max vulnerable.

The answer is yes. Ashley and Max are given the boot, the latter since the judges think he'll be "restricted" with his ballroom training. (Whatever, who didn't love him dancing to "Footloose"?!) Let's see if they use that same excuse when they have to save Phillip over and over. If you're getting the idea that we're biased against Phillip, then yes, guilty as charged. He has no chance of winning, and every time Nigel says "learning process" I have to grab a puke bucket, as if this show is "So You Think You Can Improve As A Dancer In 12 Weeks."

Mind of a Soon-To-Be-Father: My Poor Little Guy!

Now we’ve found out we’re having a boy, and the ultrasound should be our last. It’s odd knowing that we're only halfway there, and won't get to see little Cooper until he's in our arms in the hospital (or the Arby's parking lot, if I get hungry on the way and the line's too long).

(Comes to a realization about having a little man ..... )

Oh, no, our boy is going to have to be circumcised!

I'll have to be the one to take Cooper for that, with Val far far away. I'm not sure who would be more traumatized, him or Val.

Maybe the Jews have it right, throw a bris, with a big party, gifts, lots of food, and some guy comes in and snips off some of the baby's pee pee and then there are plenty of leftovers for the new parents.

Or maybe we can both be safely at a distance and watch via iPhone. Is there an app for that?

Kudos to Malia, my bro-in-law, Ken's, girlfriend, for the best nickname so far: Mini Cooper.

Not that we'll be tattooing a Union Jack on his adorable baby bottom, of course.

And if he's got my DNA in height, he won't be a "mini" for long. I warned my five-foot-two-inch-tall wife that I passed my Mom in height by age 14 on the way to being six-feet-four. One day Mom realized that she had to look up to talk to me, and it was quite a shock!

So how do those of you who picked boy over girl feel about your chances in the Baby Valfrey Challenge? Pretty good, considering that of the 32 entries, more than two-thirds went for the female option. That's right, only nine of you guessed that I'd have a male heir to my throne!

Those who are 25 points the richer include:

Aunt Bev, Heather, Karen P, Karla, Natalie, Polly, Uncle Rob, Stacy and Steven.

Those who are playing catch-up are:

Mom and Dad, Amy and Michael, cousin Amy, mom-in-law Carol and her co-worker Julie, sis-in-law Cheryl, her hubby Randy and our nephew Cody, cousin Destiny and her Jeff, Jenny and Kevin, brother Scott and wife Jenn, and their friend Jeremy, Aunt Lynn, Uncle Rob's wife Mary, cousin Will and his wife Sara, Nana and my sister Stephanie.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

SYTYCD Top 18

There are nine guys and nine gals left on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, and this week Cat looks to be wearing that bright red dress that Paula Abdul won on IDOL, the one with the giant red bow, only the fabric was moved to the left shoulder.
 
EVAN AND RANDI - Oh dear, my favorite pairing has to go first, which is always dangerous for voting. And then the judges did a lot of hemming and hawing about their jive, which I thought was fun (15!), if frantic. DING! The judges loved the choreography, of course! Keep them safe!
 
MELISSA & ADE - Hmm, again, the couple with our favorite dance last week has to go second this week. This isn't looking good for Thursday night's bottom three and elimination. This week they get a Typical Sonya Jazz Number, meaning a little freaky, and I can't judge it because like Val said, "You can't criticize it without knowing what it's supposed to look like." DING! DING! DING! The judges all credit Sonya, making this one of the Dingiest performances of the night.
 
CAITLIN & JASON - From Bollywood to Hip-Hop, although one of those softer, less ghetto hip-hops, which Nigel says they did because the choreographer knew they couldn't "hit it hard." Nigel does not, however, refrain from praising the choreography even after all of the judges are harsh, and Lil C even says some nonsense about how the "choreographer's fantasy doesn't meet with the dancers' reality." So don't blame Shane, okay audience! Blame the dancers! Bad dancers!
 
BRANDON & JENETTE - A nearly out of control disco routine with some very impressive moves. Lil C, when he's not calling a dance "buck" (twice tonight), spews these strange platitudes that I'm sure he plots out ahead of time like Bruno on DWTS or Paula on IDOL, this time something about "inducing birth." What I think he meant to say was, "DING!"
 
ASUKA & VITOLIO - The best comeback of the week, probably deserving to go in the first go 'round, but their waltz was as lyrical as choreographer Louis intended. DING! Of course, the judges all call Vitolio out for poor footwork, but immediately forgive him because he was "sincere" in his dancing. It's so odd what they'll forgive sometimes.
 
KAYLA & MAX - I have no clue what "pop jazz" is, but apparently is has something to do with looking like a freaky Gwen Stefani video. How do you critique this? The judges loved it, and of course the routine itself. DING! Nigel actually calls Kayla a frontrunner, so she looks to be safe as the conductor for the Hot Tamale Train for a while.
 
KARLA & JONATHAN - In the bottom three last week, undeservedly, in my opinion, they get what seems like the best reviews of the night for a contemporary routine choreographed by a lady from SYTYCD Canada. It is indeed elegant, though the second half looks mostly like hugging and, while Mary was left in tears. DING! Lil C goes with "buck" again, which seems out of place for such a peaceful piece, which, bonus points, was done to the song "Falling Slowly," although not the original singers from "Once" or even Kris Allen's performance this spring.
 
JEANINE & PHILLIP - And now we see what happens when a popper tries to do a challenging ballroom number, a tango. He's very tentative while she's pretty good. Mary starts off with "Let's be honest" about his poor technique. Obviously it's the worst of the night, yet Nigel feels the need to pull out this hogwash about how the show is a "learning process," which is bunk to save their judges' pet, whom they think is the fan fave this season. If they keep him, this will only get worse, because he can't get away with avoiding ballroom for two more months.
 
ASHLEY & KUPONO - Last week they made it with some strange routine as crash test dummies, and this week they get hip hop, which the judges essentially call a car crash, and not even one worth rubbernecking. They did the moves, which is about all you can say. DING? Nigel never specifically calls the number good, only that he feels "let down for Shane," meaning the judges must always kiss the butts of the choreographers in the face of ripping the dancers. Definitely one of the more annoying constants of this show.
 
My bottom three: Jeanine/Phillip, Melissa/Ade and Caitlin/Jason. Phillip might go home when compared with those two guys, but I doubt it.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

500 in a row

The Red Sox beat Florida tonight, 6-1, on a night to celebrate the 500th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park dating back to 2003.

I, of course, bring this up as an excuse to brag about me and Dad contributing to the sellouts with our visits:

Trade bait Brad Penny earned the win, and his reward will be to be shopped around to make room for future Hall of Famer John Smoltz in the rotation next week.

Smoltz may be getting older, but all he needs to do is get through five or six innings. With the lowest bullpen ERA in the majors, the Red Sox are now 33-1 when leading after six innings.

Nevermore

Here's a first. Monday morning, Val wakes me up at 7:30 to tell me ... (What, we're out of milk? The fridge is broke? We won the lottery?) ... that there's a bird in the house. Um, what? I'm sorry, I just woke up. There's a what where? Is this a weird Hitchcock dream?
 
Sure enough, as I tell Val to go into the master bedroom and shut all the doors in the hallway, I look over toward the living room and see a shadow flit quickly across. It's either a bird or a cocky moth sitting directly in front of the overhead spotlight trying to make itself look big and intimidating.
 
First stop, slinking to the front entrance, propping open the storm door so I could flush it out. Or at least let another one in for company.
 
Then I tiptoed ever ... so ... slightly (at least as much as a 300+ pound guy can sneak up on a bird) ... coming around the fireplace towards the dining room, thinking that if it's in the kitchen then I can scare it out towards the front door.
 
As I peeked around the corner, the bird hopped up, flapped once, closed it's wings like it was about to hit supersonic cruising speed and zoomed right past my head and straight out the front door. "It must have been six feet across and able to bring down a velociraptor!" Is what I'll tell my kids someday.
 
Next dilemma, how the heck did it get in? We can only figure that it dropped through the fireplace from above, because the flue is broke and I had a poker propping it up, leaving a six-inch gap that is now closed with the help of some wood under the poker. Or my brother-in-law is conducting bird testing in our guest room, and if so I don't want to know the details. Don't ask, don't tell, am I right?
 
I'm still trying to figure out if it's a good or bad omen when a bird is in the house. What was it when Lee Adama had one in the finale of "Battlestar Galactica?" 

Horsey fit

Another gem from the Commercial Appeal's Memphis Memories, a wacky selection from 125 years ago, June 13, 1884:
A horse hitched to a delivery wagon in the alley near Main and Gayoso ran away yesterday. In his mad race he leaped over a lumber pile thereby ending all connection between himself and the vehicle he was pulling. He ran for several more blocks and then apparently discovered that he had left the wagon behind, he turned, walked back to it, waited to be hitched again and then calmly went off gentle as a kitten.
In "They don't make 'em like they used to" memories, from June 5, 1909 (emphasis mine):
Chaperoned by Mr. and Mrs. Brinkley Snowden, a group of young Memphis society women left yesterday to be the guests of the University Club at the Wappanoca hunting club in Arkansas. They were accompanied by a band which played for the dance held at Wappanoca last night and today the young women will spend the day fishing and shooting frogs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thanks for Noticing Me News Alert!

WE'RE HAVING A BOY!!!!!!!!!



Yes, that's right, Val and Jeff are having a little Jeffy!

We had our 19-week ultrasound this afternoon, and everything looked "normal," which was all we wanted to hear. Heartbeat was over 150 bpm, the baby was about 10 ounces. It was very cool to see him move in Val's belly, to see his spine so clearly, to see him trying to suck his thumb, with both hands, lol.

We already had a name picked out for either boy or girl, so I'll go ahead and let y'all know the name:

Cooper Howell Rushing

Howell being Val's maiden name, and Cooper, well, it's not any family name or anything specific, just a name we both really liked. And it qualified through Mom's test, which was to say it as if you're in the future, like, "Jeff and Cooper (or Coop) are at the golf course," or "Val and Cooper are at church." See, it rings true!

Afterward, we went with Val's mom (who came to the appointment with us to experience the excitement) to Macy's to buy the first little boys' outfits!

Based on the fact that 2/3 of those who entered my Challenge said it would be a girl, a lot of folks are missing out on 25 points! I'll send that as an excel file or on the blog later. And yes, you may feel free to resubmit your answers to other questions now that you know.






Baby Valfrey Challenge enters Phase 1

Today is the last day to pick the gender! 25 points are at stake! Do it by 2:30 central time this afternoon! The baby had better not be shy, is all I'm sayin'!

1. Gender - 25 points for the correct answer, 0 for picking incorrectly.

2. Date of Birth - 50 points for being spot on, 40 if off by one day, 35 for two, 30 for three, 25 for four, 20 for five, 18 for six, 16 for seven, 14 for eight, 12 for nine, 10 for ten, 8 for eleven, 6 for twelve, 4 for thirteen, 2 for fifteen.

3. Time of Birth - 50 points within an hour, 40 within two, 35 within three, 30 within four, 25 within five. 20 within six, 18 within seven, 16 within eight, 14 within nine, 12 within ten, 10 within eleven, 8 within twelve, 6 within thirteen, 4 within fourteen, 2 within fifteen.

4. Length - 50 pounds exact, 40 within 1/2 inch, 30 within 1 inch, 25 within 1.5 inches, 20 within 2 inches, 15 within 2.5, 10 within three inches, 5 within four inches, 2 within ten inches.

5. Weight - 50 points within four ounces, 40 within 8 ounces, 30 within 1 lb, 20 within 1 lb 8 oz, 15 within 2 lbs, 10 within 2 lb 8 oz, 5 within 3 lbs, 2 within 10 lbs.

6. Hair or no hair - 25 points if correct, 0 if not.

7. Bonus: Strangest craving - 25 points if correct.

Passing only gets you so far, Troy

- HALL OF FAME QB TROY AIKMAN received his degree from UCLA 21 years after starring for the Bruins. Good luck, Troy. The job market's tough this year!

- CIA DIRECTOR LEON PANETTA called out Dick Cheney, accusing him of "wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point" that Obama's foreign policy is dangerous. You know, during the Bush years, Democrats would cry that the administration was "questioning their patriotism" for being anti-war.

- THE OBAMEDIA has decided overwhelmingly that conservative media and columnists are to blame for not only the shooting of the late-term abortion doctor but also this week's Holocaust Museum shooting by a white supremacist loon.

Never mind that it seems weird to accuse conservatives of being Jew haters in light of the left-wing establishment accusing the Bush administration of being run by neoconservatives, which was just a code word for "Jews who turned against liberal namby-pamby thinking."

They will not, of course, use the same logic to blame themselves and their anti-war rhetoric and constant coverage of Abu Ghraib for the shooting at the Army recruiting station.

They will also not quote Obama's spiritual mentor and pastor for 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, for saying that he can't get close to his protege anymore because "them Jews" keep him away.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jeff's Top 5: St. Jude Classic Memories

If it's 95 degrees with 100 percent humidity in the summer in Memphis, it must be time for the St. Jude Classic! (Really, they couldn't hold the tournament in April or September?)

As a lifelong golfer and golf fan I've spent many, many a week at the PGA Tour's stop here. Of course, I was too young to see Al Geiberger shoot at 59 in '77, or Gerald Ford hit a homer in the pro-am two days before, or Jerry Pate jumping in the lake on #18 after his 1981 win, but I have plenty of memories of my own. Here are five of them:

1. When I was younger Dad would drop me off at the course and I would stay there all day. One morning I was at the pro-am, and came upon the 12th tee box, where the late Payne Stewart was playing with Memphis State basketball coach Dana Kirk, who retreated to the port-a-pottie behind the tee. Stewart then slipped over to Kirk's bag, emptied all of the balls, and began chucking them at the port-a-pottie. It was hilarious, and what I remember most of Stewart after the U.S. Open champion died in a plane accident a decade ago.

2. In the late 80s the tournament left Colonial for the TPC at Southwind, a bad idea in my opinion. Colonial offered views of several holes, was relatively easy to walk and had history, plus it was the course I enjoyed growing up. Southwind is very long, you can't watch more than one hole at a time after it takes an hour to walk from one end to the other, and there's not sense of history even after 20 years. (Crazily enough, the tournament was held at the Colonial course in Cordova for only 16 years after beginning in Midtown in '58, so Southwind has held it for five years longer. Ye gads, I'm feeling old.)

Still, I did get to play the course once on the Jr. PGA Tour, and while it kicked my butt I enjoyed the experience greatly. The fairways are plush, like hitting off a tee every time. I hit my all-time favorite shot on No. 17, a long downhill par 4. After a drive that left me in the rough to the right of the fairway, I hit a perfect six-iron from 175 yards, over two tall trees. The ball landed a foot in front of the hole, bounced and backed up to a foot above the hole. Of course, it left a tricky downhill putt and I choked my birdie putt, but hey, the shot is what counts, not the follow-through!

3. In college my junior and senior years I worked for The Jackson Sun in the sports department, writing some pieces and answering phones for local sports results, and was asked to help out the female reporter to cover the 1996 tournament won by John Cook. It was really, really, hot and we spent most of Sunday in the media tent enjoying free food, air-conditioning and watching on TV so we could actually see all of the action. I asked questions for her during the post-round press conference, such as asking Cook if, even though he was way ahead, he thought about shooting for the pin on 18 to try and set the then-record for lowest four-round tournament score.

4. Many years ago near the 18th tee at Colonial, Dad points out to me that Jack Nicklaus is by the tee box following his son, Gary, playing in the tournament. I go over and join the gaggle of autograph-seekers and get his signature, but not on just anything. I happened to be wearing my visor from when we went to Cincinnati and played at the Jack Nicklaus Sports Center golf course (now called The Golf Center at Kings Island). Being a kid and not fully appreciating the autograph of my favorite golfer of all time, I not only keep wearing the hat, I lost track of it over the years. Bummer.

5. (Sorry for bringing this one up, Scott!) During one round in the early 90s, I went with my big bro, Scott, and his friend, Eric. We were driving Dad's van since he spent a lot of time overseas for work during this period. Scott parked in one of the grassy field lots near the par 5, No. 3, and after we got out Eric walked around the back and noticed that the tail pipe still had exhaust. Scott had locked the keys in the car with the doors locked ... and the car still running.

This being the pre-cell phone era, we had to tell the attendants what happened, then walk onto the course and find a pay phone set up near a Pronto Pup stand to call Mom. As she arrived on her lunch break an hour later, we had to tell her that in the meantime the attendants had already flagged down a cop while we were on the course, who jimmied the driver door and turned off the van.

Wow, how much help would it have been to have cell phones back then in those primitive days? Not to mention a AAA membership for a locksmith to avoid the embarrassing call to Mom!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Flop-Flop

I'm a soccer fan (shout out to the other 5,403 in the U.S.!), but really, I can't decide if I am because of stuff like this or in spite of it:



In other random sports news, Olympic hero Michael Phelps is now apparently trying out for a 70s TV cop show.

Did you ever watch a sporting event and wish the people making fools of themselves behind the announcers would do something embarrassing? You're in luck! Bonus points, they're drunk blonde bimbos:

Tropical Storm B.B.

UPDATE 12:46 p.m. Sunday - For real, whoever ticked off Mother Nature needs to make things right, and quick before she shaves off every limb from my trees, one by one. This morning about 8 we had another straight-line thunderstorm, and after clearing my yard yesterday it was littered anew by branches and limbs in the front and back, including two thick and heavy 15-footers in the front yard. Ha ha, it was funny at first!

UPDATE 11:13 p.m. - Here are some pictures compiled by the web team at work.

If the July 2003 straight-line winds storm that left Memphis without power for two weeks was dubbed “Hurricane Elvis,” then Friday evening’s storm should at least be called “Tropical Storm B.B.,” as in King. Power was knocked out to over 100,000 at the peak and those of us on the road had our eyes wide and hearts pounding.

Val and I had made plans to take Nana to dinner and perhaps go swimming at the complex’s pool afterwards. Nana called about 4 as I was getting up from my nap, telling me that there were storms coming and we didn’t have to come and could reschedule. I scoffed and assured her we’d be on our way in an hour. I should listen more to Nana.

I had not looked at the radar yet.

When I did turn on the TV a few minutes later, I saw all of the local channels breaking into coverage (even Oprah!), all with ominous radars showing bright red, orange, yellow and green all over Arkansas, all headed straight for Memphis. The red line in the lead was bowed, even, which if you’ve watched the Weather Channel at 4 a.m. like I have you know that when you see a “bow shape,” check your life insurance policy.

Still, I took a shower, figuring that the storm would blow through soon enough and we’d still be able to enjoy dinner with Nana. Hemming and hawing, I decided at 5 to make a go of it.

Bad idea.

Not five minutes after leaving, driving down Rockcreek Parkway near Colonial Country Club, the winding, tree-lined road we take between Hwy. 64 and Germantown Road, we literally saw the moment the leading straight-line winds came over the trees in a giant “WOOSH!” Immediately rain pelted the car sideways, trees bowed on their sides and the road began flooding.

When I was facing the wind and rain it felt like I was having to push the car forward, and when the rain and wind were on my left side it looked like a sandstorm coming at me, the rain and wind were so forceful. It lookd like Starfleet in Star Trek IV when that cigar-shaped ship can't talk to the humpback whales. The weather guys later said that winds were estimated at 60-80 mph.

Slowing way, way down, I could barely see for a few minutes, the wind was rocking my car, Val was clinching her teeth and squealing like when a log ride hits the top and she looks way down below, and then the sirens started wailing. Once I started having to dodge large tree branches in the road the decision was made to turn around and head back home. The cell phone towers were jammed at this point and we couldn’t get through to Nana to let her know.

Power outages were nearby yet spotty, and our house was spared and when we got back to our area, the Zaxby’s near the entrance to our subdivision was open, so we took refuge there and had dinner because Val was super hungry at this point and even more frightened by the severe weather. I, of course, am an idiot, so I was thinking, “Dude, this is so cool!”

When we got home we immediately saw tree debris all over the front yard, big branches littering the yard. The garbage can, normally to the side of the garage, was down the hill in the middle of our neighbor’s yard, and when I went out back I could see not only branches scattered, but one of the trees marking the edge of the golf course was snapped in half near the bottom of the trunk. I think that's the golf course's, though, so hopefully they'll come remove it eventually. I'm sure they have a lot to do this week. On our way to Cracker Barrel for lunch today we saw several downed trees by the course.

The biggest shock came when I saw that a very large branch of the tree stupidly planted on the side of our house, was lying on top of the roof over the garage in the back, leaning on the gutter on one end, causing it to sag, and against the pipe from the water heater on the other end. Hopefully Saturday when I gather the debris, I can poke it off the roof from a distance with my 14-foot branch cutting pole. If it seems too dangerous I’ll call in reinforcements in my father-in-law and/or brother-in-law.

Then, after settling in, the cable went out a little after 7 o’clock, strangely over an hour after the heaviest wind and rain hit. And winning the Bad Timing Award, this all happened the day of the DTV switch to digital TV by local stations. This meant that since we don’t have a converter box, we couldn’t watch local channels without the cable, and thousands in the area didn’t even have warning of the storm coming, which had to be a worst-case scenario by the weather agencies.

At least we never lost power, so in the absence of cable we fired up the DVD player to watch “Indiana Jones and the Interdimensional Aliens of Hogwash Nonsense” for the first time since it came out last summer. Admittedly, this time I watched the movie for what it was, not what I hoped it would be, and thus able to be entertained without wanting to throw my shoe at George Lucas.

This morning I went outside to pick up the limbs and saw our neighbor’s kids out there. They’d already picked up many of the bigger ones with their dad, who also used his chainsaw to cut up the bigger one on the sidewalk. I think we owe them some cookies!

Unfortunately this was a bird-unfriendly storm, as well, since two had expired on the driveway during the birdocalypse.

When I went out back to try and pry the fat sucker on the roof, it wouldn’t budge, and I wasn’t in the mood to risk my life.

This afternoon, Val’s dad and brother-in-law came over with cutting tools, and Randy hopped on the roof to start sawing away with success. We also went out front and knocked down some of the thicker branches hanging by a leaf that would surely fall in the next storm. Then, to top it off, they fixed the self-propelled function on my lawn mower! Marrying Val has its benefits!

The cable finally came back on at 3 this afternoon, so all is back to normal.

Lesson learned. When Dave Brown says to stay put and prepare, you do it!






Don't forget to join the Baby Valfrey Challenge!

We will know the gender on Monday! Get that first pick in now, and then you can guess the rest in the next month before the guessing closes!

Thanks to all who have entered thus far!

1. Gender - 25 points for the correct answer, 0 for picking incorrectly.

2. Date of Birth - 50 points for being spot on, 40 if off by one day, 35 for two, 30 for three, 25 for four, 20 for five, 18 for six, 16 for seven, 14 for eight, 12 for nine, 10 for ten, 8 for eleven, 6 for twelve, 4 for thirteen, 2 for fifteen.

3. Time of Birth - 50 points within an hour, 40 within two, 35 within three, 30 within four, 25 within five. 20 within six, 18 within seven, 16 within eight, 14 within nine, 12 within ten, 10 within eleven, 8 within twelve, 6 within thirteen, 4 within fourteen, 2 within fifteen.

4. Length - 50 pounds exact, 40 within 1/2 inch, 30 within 1 inch, 25 within 1.5 inches, 20 within 2 inches, 15 within 2.5, 10 within three inches, 5 within four inches, 2 within ten inches.

5. Weight - 50 points within four ounces, 40 within 8 ounces, 30 within 1 lb, 20 within 1 lb 8 oz, 15 within 2 lbs, 10 within 2 lb 8 oz, 5 within 3 lbs, 2 within 10 lbs.

6. Hair or no hair - 25 points if correct, 0 if not.

7. Bonus: Strangest craving - 25 points if correct.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sox, Dance

How Sweep It Is!
 
After an eighth-inning comeback for a 4-3 win last night, the Red Sox are 8-0 against the Dang Yanks this season, sweeping all three series thus far. And since they don't play again until August 6, we've got plenty of time to arrogantly giggle all summer long!
 
(Should this post come back to haunt me in October, I disavow this as a jinx.)
 
Boston now heads to Philly for some sexy interleague action. If you remember in early April I predicted that this would be the World Series, so watch closely and Go Sox!
 
Speaking of stomach churners ... Last night we went to the border for dinner. Val wasn't really craving it. She just doesn't have any taste for burgers so options are limited. Taco Bell is my fast-food Wal-Mart; it's impossible to go there and not come away with at least four items I don't need, and regret it thirty minutes later.
 
Last night on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, America largely did our bidding, and as a result, one of the guys we quickly wanted gone, Tony, got the boot. We weren't looking forward to five weeks of "you need growth, but we'll let you through, this time!"
 
Unfortunately for his partner, Paris, the judges got rid of her as well. Supposedly it was anonymous, but I wonder if it's because they didn't want to split any other pairs apart. Especially after Nigel explained it away with that "we looked at everything except last night" crap, which was an excuse for keeping their Asian dynamo in the competition. Besides, Paris was one of the ones who "slipped under the radar," so no one will notice anyway.
 
Also in the bottom three were Asuka/Vitolio and Carla/Jonathan, no surprises for either. Thanks, voters!

Long live The Duke

National Review Online remembers John Wayne 30 years after his death. An excerpt dear to my heart:
Like many American males of a certain generation, whenever my father needs to unwind, he kicks back in his easy chair and flips channels until he alights on a John Wayne movie. At any given time, it seems like there’s a John Wayne movie on somewhere. And growing up, I spent many pleasant hours sprawled on the couch near my dad, watching the Duke.

Rather than highlight the usual suspects, I went with a lesser-heralded film, made in 1972 in the twilight of Wayne’s career. In The Cowboys, Wayne plays surrogate father to a group of boys herding cattle across the West. It’s one of the last great western epics, with classic Duke themes of self-reliance, tough love, and honor.

Near the end of the movie, Bruce Dern shoots the star in the back. Before they filmed the scene, Wayne growled to Dern, a liberal, “America is gonna hate you for this.“ Dern replied, “Maybe, but in Berkeley they’ll think I’m a hero.“

Wayne had the last laugh, however. The Cowboys, like every other movie he made, continues to enthrall audiences today, transmitting his values to new generations — as from father to son.

Disgusting Dave

In case you were worried about his motives in joking about Alaska governor Sarah Palin and her daughter, David Letterman insists that he would "never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl."

In response to the controversy, the late-night left-wing bully would do so about Palin's 18-year-old daughter, because apparently she's fair game.

You stay classy, Dave.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

SYTYCD top 20

While giggling like a schoolgirl over watching the Sox beat the Dang Yanks again last night, the seventh straight over our rivals this season and eighth overall dating to last year. And yet, tonight we drag Brad Penny to the mound to face C.C. Sabathia, so, you know, I'm not overly confident of the streak continuing.
 
Now, it is time for the top 20 of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, the Official Summer Reality Show of Team Valfrey and Thanks For Noticing Me! So if you're not a fan or don't care, there probably won't be much for you on Thursday mornings 'round these parts.
 
Let's see if there were any surprises, disappointments, or any of those freaky-deaky routines that make all the headlines, will the judges praise the choreographers not matter what (duh!) and all the while marveling at the wacky outfits that Cat wears week after week ...
 
Tonight's guest judge is Adam, the most emotional and gregarious of them all, not to mention, I think, the most successful, seeing as how he's the choreographer of the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" musical episode.
 
JEANINE & PHILLIP - Conspiracy alert! Show fave Phillip The Popper gets to do a hip-hop dance for week one, instead of showing us if he can handle something like, say, a waltz. We're not big hip-hop fans, but I do think it was better than the one we'll see later by Paris and Tony. DING! Judges praise choreographers! Surprise! This will be a recurring theme. 
 
ASUKA & VITOLIO - She was one of the most exposed dancers coming out of Vegas, and he had plenty of air time as the Haitian With A Big Heart And Leaping Splits. This Broadway routine by Tice, however, put them on the Great White Way to trouble. The music was fast-paced and peppy, but the dancing was slow, deliberate and awkwardly out of rhythm. Mary calls it "safe" and "lacking energy," which how is that all the dancers' fault? And yet, DING! ? Really, Nigel? Wouldn't that be the choreographer's fault? You know what, you're right. It's my fault for not knowing better.
 
KARLA & JONATHAN -  Potentially doomed, having never heard of either, she did Broadway, including "Wicked," where no doubt she was not hit on by Adam Lambert, and he's a salsa dancer who gets to do a cha-cha for the opener. Good routine, high energy, and worthy of a squeal by Mary, although it seems she did so at least seven times tonight. DING! Dude sweats a lot, like a human moisture farm. (Does that exist outside of "Star Wars" or am I complete geek for thinking that it's real?)
 
Nigel keeps saying how some dancers have "slipped under the radar." Uh, no Mr. Producer Man, the show PUT them under the radar by never showing them in auditions and in Vegas. Shut up, Nigel, and stop ogling the sorority girls you bused in to be in the front rows of the audience.
 
RANDI & EVAN - He's one of The Broadway Brothers and she's Leotard Girl, who it turns out, is married, which makes Evan nervous since their jazz routine is all about sensuality. And it is that, indeed. Very soft, flowy, and as Mary said, "smoldering." DING! They'll get tons of votes since he's so lovable, and they're looking to be our "cute tiny couple of the season." Good choice on her new curly hair, too. Makes her memorable and perky.
 
PARIS & TONY - Don't know her, whereas he's had plenty of air time. The judges let Tony through Vegas even though they admitted he wasn't as good of a dancer as some others but had a great personality. Why, then, does everyone seem surprised when they tell him Wednesday night that he doesn't have good technique and needs "a lot of growth?" Their hip-hop wasn't very hip and didn't have much hop, and the judges seemed to agree for once. I don't remember a DING moment, though I'm sure the judges blamed it entirely on the dancers' outfits.
 
CAITLIN & JASON - The Sister Who Made It and the Very Praised Jason had to take on a Bollywood dance in their first week, which seems pretty tough, but I guess after last year's successful routine by Katie and Joshua, the show wants more "Slumdog Millionaire" Indian love. And even though this routine didn't use the stage much and seemed to be all arms and legs, I admit to being compelled. She has great stage presence, and I kept finding myself watching her even when I'd try to see how he was doing. The judges later note that this is because he's "effortless." DING!
 
JANETTE & BRANDON - She's Cuban and likes to salsa, he's the most divisive dancer in the early rounds in show history, getting out of Vegas only because Mary threatened Mia with bodily harm, I think. Their fox trot is okay, it's fluid and pretty, but not my favorite of the ballroom dances. They always look the same, even on DWTS. Mary, of course, goes overboard in praising Brandon in order to save her pet.
 
ASHLEY & KUPONO - She's the one who auditioned and made it to Vegas four times, and yet I've never seen her before, and he's the Hawaiian who cut his hair to please the judges. And this is the WTF? dance of the night, like some Olympic Closing Ceremony routine. Weird, and it was for the choreographer, Wade, not the dancers, and the judges really strain to praise him and kiss his butt ("We're talking about a genius," says Nigel. DING!) without admitting that it scared the heck out of them. I didn't even notice the dancing, so distracting the music and costumes were.
 
MELISSA & ADE - Because of the font the show uses on their names, I thought the dude's name was Roe. That's how "Who's that?" he was, and she was only known as "The Tutu Girl" from glimpses in Vegas. So they had a lot to prove, and whoa, did they ever. Dancing a contemporary routine by Mandi Moore, if ever a choreographer deserved to be DINGed, it was this one. It was majestic, made Adam cry, with some very nice moves, lifts and made good use of Melissa's ballet training. Bonus points for using "Right Here Waiting" as the music.
 
KAYLA & MAX - Hot. Tamale. Train. A Russia named Max with a ballroom background (sound familiar, DWTS fans?), obviously he looked good, but so did she, and without any ballroom background, their samba was sizzling. It looked like a DWTS routine by the pros, it was so spot on.
 
Bottom three: Asuka/Vitolio, Paris/Tony and, this one's tougher, Janette/Brandon. Could also be Karla/Jonathan or Ashley/Kupono.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Six to Zero

What did the more obnoxious fans of the Dang Yanks always say way back around 2003? "It's not a rivalry if one team is always the hammer and one is always the nail!"

This century, the Sox have two World Series, the Dang Yanks have none. In 2009 thus far, the Sox are 6-and-0 against the Bronx Bombers, if by "bomb" they mean "getting shut out 7-0 last night and even giving up a homer to Big Papi."

It's the first time since 1912 that the Sox have opened a season 6-0 against then-New York Highlanders, a streak of 14 in a row against their rivals that included the first win in Fenway Park.

It's Papi's third homer of the year, if we include his dink off Pesky Pole this past weekend, and I'm not so sure we should. Still, now that Ortiz has even had an eye test in a desperate attempt to diagnose his slump, I think we're officially to the point where we sacrifice a chicken. We'll start with KFC (grilled), and go from there.

(If the Sox lose six straight against NY, I will disavow this post as a jinx.)

(Speaking of jinxes, some dirty hippie Dang Yank fan tried to sow seeds from the Stadium during the Phish concert last week at Fenway. Use that water to take a bath, hippie!)