Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jeff's 2011 MLB Predictions

You probably did not realize that today is a holiday. If not, then you are obviously not a baseball fan. It's Opening Day!

That's right, it's time to relax and enjoy the sounds of the crack of the bat, the pop of the catcher's mitt, the smell of hot dogs and green grass, and the roar of the crowd after a home run. (Also, traffic hassles, expensive tickets and kids who won't leave until they get ice cream served in a mini-helmet.)

As Darth Vader said in Field of Dreams: "The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."

In particular - and in ways that are, of course, much less important than God and family - my life is renewed each season the Red Sox play. How much do I luxuriate in the boys in Boston? This Sunday morning in the shower I ended up washing my hair twice because I was daydreaming about all the trips I've made with Dad to Fenway Park and Dallas and Tampa and Spring Training to see the Sox play.



With that, my 2011 MLB Predictions, and as always, please don't wager based on what I am guessing:

AL EAST - Boston. I know, I'm a homer, but with Pedroia, Youkilis and Ellsbury healthy, and solid starting pitching at the top, I have great faith that they can hold off the Dang Yanks and their sketchy starting pitching.

AL CENTRAL - Minnesota. Tough to choose between Twins, Tigers and White Sox, but if Minnesota's healthy I like their chances.

AL WEST - Texas. They won last year, and the opposition doesn't seem to be getting any better, but some experts like Oakland. I think the A's are still too young.

WILD CARD - Dang Yankees. All bat, no pitch.

DIVISION SERIES - Red Sox over Minnesota, Dang Yanks over Texas.

ALCS - Red Sox throttle Dang Yanks, much to my amusement.

NL EAST - Philadelphia. Pitchers have guns, hitters have pop. A formidable bunch.

NL CENTRAL - Milwaukee. I don't trust Cincy to repeat their surprise division win.

NL WEST - San Francisco. 2010 champs still have same pitchers and hitters.

WILD CARD - Atlanta. Lots of young talent maturing gracefully.

DIVISION SERIES - Phillies over Milwaukee, Atlanta over San Francisco.

NLCS - Phillies beat Braves.

WORLD SERIES - Red Sox beat Phillies. I know, every year I write in Boston, but THIS YEAR I mean it! Everybody is picking Red Sox/Phillies to meet in the Series, which, of course, means we should get ready for a Cleveland-Washington title tilt instead. (Ha ha, just kidding!)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sorry to trouble you for a statement, Mr. President

Did you notice that the Obamessiah, when he finally comes off his perch to address the American people about sending our soldiers into harm's way, couldn't even be bothered to do so in prime time? You see, that would mean it was a "serious" conflict.

What did Obama's Libya speech mean last night? Ace of Spades has some ideas:
"We Took A Series of Swift Steps: "Oh, you mean after you dithered around with the same basic facts for three weeks.

You mean after all that delay, you finally made a decision, and then the military acted swiftly.

"I Refused to Let That Happen: "Ah, okay, just as long as I know who the hero is here.

By the way, he's super-proud that he waited until the last possible moment to save Benghazi (but none of the towns and cities along the decimated way to Benghazi). Apparently those other towns he let be demolished as he dithered didn't count.

Only the dramatic, last-second decision to spare Benghazi specifically should matter.

Hilarious: He says that he's all about getting other countries to bear the burdens. He says, to that end, that he's transferred command to NATO.

Um, so, if I'm getting this right, our pilots and seamen are still fighting this war, they're just being bossed around by a foreign general, right?

And that general isn't actually in the fight, right?

Seems to me that all Obama is doing is distancing himself from any possible failure while keeping our troops in harm's way.

Of course, anything he said in his speech can be changed as he deems necessary, as seen by the past Obama statement expiration dates.

(In case you're wondering about my thoughts, I supported assistance in Libya just as I did in Iran and elsewhere to topple Arab despots, but really, couldn't we have done so when the rebels were knocking on Qaddafi's door, and not when they were losing?)

Mom's visit, pt. 1

Cooper was very happy to play with Grams this weekend!





Monday, March 28, 2011

Trailer Park - Summer Flicks

Thor - A little too much cutesy "mythical hero in modern America," and not a fan of Natalie Portman, but Thor is played by Kirk's dad, so that's cool. (May 6)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - No Kiera, no Orlando, but plenty of Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and her barely understandable accent, improbably yet fun action scenes, and, wait a minute, mermaids? Yep, mermaids. With a mean streak. (May 20)

X-Men: First Class - An X-Men prequel with Professor X and crew apparently saving the world from the Cuban Missile Crisis, before Magneto goes all nutso against non-mutant humans. (June 3)

Super 8 - Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams team up in a movie about a bunch of kids saving us from an unknown (possibly alien) menace in a small town in the 70s. "Stand by Me" meets "Cloverfield"? (June 10)

Green Lantern - I'm actually kind of enthusiastic about this one, even if there's a lot of spacey "save the universe" mumbo jumbo. (June 17)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Not sure why I included this, since I haven't seen any of the others, but this will be all over your TV screens, for better (unlikely) or worse (likely). (July 1)

Larry Crowne - Can we accept Tom Hanks in a romantic movie with Julia Roberts and not Meg Ryan? Probably; looks too cute for words. (July 1)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - It's been 10 years and seven movies. You know where you stand. (July 15)

Winnie the Pooh - Like "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," this has a collection of stories that will make me feel like a kid again. Won't see it in the theater, but of course I'll be buying the DVD to share with Cooper over the years. (July 15)

Captain America: The First Avenger - Like a superhero version of "Inglorious Basterds." Hey, who doesn't want to kill some Nazis? (July 22)

Cowboys & Aliens - Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford? Cowboys? Aliens? Sweet. (July 29)

Challenge Complete (Already!)

It's certainly an odd year when Final Four weekend means absolutely nothing to Jeff's March Madness Challenge, because everyone's brackets are finished.

Going into Thursday, I never thought Jorge could hang on, but everyone who had to get upset, did, and he was the best through the Sweet 16 and that's all it took! So congrats, Jorge, you da man this year!

Just to rub it in, Jorge was also the only one of us with any correct Final Four teams, and he didn't even need those points to win.

In fact, the top four is dominated by the Miami crew, with Jorge, Jonathan, his mom Natalie and my Dad in the top four (with me tied for fourth).

Of course, this also means that we can root for whomever we want, and that will not be Calipari, so go Butler and VCU!


1. 69 - Jorge
2. 59 - Jonathan's Here
3. 53 - Natalie (My Madness)
4. 52 - Dad (Tigerblood)
4 52 - Jeff Slamma Jamma
6. 51 - Cody (/belew's picks)
6. 51 - Cheryl (Buzzer Beaters)
8. 48 - Scott (Bruins Commodores Bears oh my!)
8. 48 - Val (Cooper's Picks)
8. 48 - Michael C. (Valtool's Picks)
11. 40 - Carol's picks
12. 39 - Katie (some lame bracket name)
13. 34 - Kevin H. (Kevin's Picks)

Previous Results:

2010 results:

1. Carol's Picks - 105
2. Michael C. (Mike Does Not Watch Basketball) - 77
3. Scott (Bears Commodores Bruins oh my!) - 68
4. Dad (redsox0407) - 63
5. Kevin's Picks - 61
6. Natalie (lucky) - 60
7. Cody (Belew'sPick) - 57
8. Erin (Not So Picky) - 54
9. Stephen (One Shining Bracket) - 52
10. Jorge/Miami - 51
11. Jose (Torch the Twine) - 50
12. Val (Cooper's Mom's Picks) - 48
12. cheryls picks - 48
14. Jeff's Worst Guesses - 41

2009

1. Steve R. - 131
2. Rann R - 126
t2. Jonathan M. - 126
4. Scott - 109
5. Syd - 102
6. Cody - 100
7. Kevin H. - 92
8. Jenn R. - 85
t8. Val - 85
t8. Carol H. - 85
11. Jorge - 81
12. Randy B. - 76
13. Cheryl - 75 (43 of 63)
14. Erin M. - 70
15. Me - 69
16. Karen P. - 59
17. Stephen M. - 53

2008

1 Cody B. - 142
2 Stephen M. - 138
3 Val - 127
4 Erin M. - 120
5 Randy B. - 117
6 12345 - 113
7 Cheryl B. - 112
8 Dad - 105
9 Me - 103
10 Sydney G. - 98
11 Carol H. - 96
12 Natalie M. - 88
13 Steven R. - 86
14 Michael C. - 85
15 Scott R. - 74
16 Stephanie L. - 72
17 CUT THE NET - 70
18 Jenn R. - 53

2007

1. Me - 151 points
2. Dad - 143
3. Jorge - 138
4. Michael C. - 128
5. Karen - 107
6. Syd - 104
7. Carol H. - 99
t8. Kevin - 93
t8. Erin - 93
10. Val - 91
11. Steve - 90
12. Southern Girl - 87
13. Cody - 83
14. Scott - 64
15. Jenn R. - 50
16. Amy C. - 28

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cooper, our Fox13 Weather Baby



The executive producer of my morning show, Good Morning Memphis, was okay with some nepotism Friday and made Cooper one of the two weather babies that air each morning.

Here's the graphic as made for the show:



Here's how it looked from the weather center at 5, as read by Ed Echols:



Here's how it looked during the 7 from the control room where I was working:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cooper playing with his bouncy ball





Jeff's March Madness Challenge update

With San Diego State and Duke out Thursday night, some folks really took some shots and have seen their brackets sunk like a dinghy in a hurricane. There are a lot of folks without a chance now, and others hanging on by a thread:

51 - Jonathan's Here - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
49 - Jorge - Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Kansas St.
47 - /Belew's Picks (Cody) - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
45 - My Madness (Natalie) - Syracuse, Duke, Kansas, Florida
44 - Bruins Commodores Bears oh my! (Scott) - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
44 - Cooper's Picks (Val) - Ohio St., San Diego St., Kansas, Pittsburgh
44 - Jeff Slamma Jamma - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Florida
43 - Buzzer Beaters (Cheryl) - Ohio St., Duke, Notre Dame, BYU
40 - Valtool's Picks (Michael C.) - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
40 - Tigerblood (Rann) - North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Florida
35 - some lame bracket name (Katie) - Syracuse, Duke, Purdue, BYU
32 - Carol's Picks - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
30 - Kevin's Picks (Kevin H.) - Ohio State, Texas, Kansas, Kansas St.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Randomly

Some more stuff gleaned from my Facebook status and Sunday School newsletter ...
 
- This weekend we had a cold case package about a guy named "Chicken." New Rule: When you're giving out nicknames, think of how they sound when you're no longer walking this earth. For example, if we have a piece that includes the sentence, "Detectives are still looking for Poopy's killer," well, that's just funny.
 
- Is it a sin when leaf blower guys blow a big pile of leaves into the road as traffic whizzes by? If not, it should be.
 
- After nearly 5 years of marriage, you'd think Val would know that when she says I can pop in any DVD I want, and I say, "Okay, but I'll probably just watch something like "Star Trek," then that means that I will, in fact, be watching "Star Trek." Doesn't matter which one, either; I've seen 'em all 50 times.
 
- My first gig out of college in the summer of '97 was at WMC-TV (a.k.a. Channel 5), working production. By far my favorite part was working the camera for Saturday morning wrestling.
 
Well before the 9 a.m. shoot the audience would line up outside in the parking lot, always the same people who were probably a little too serious about their wrasslin'. And the wrestlers played along splendidly.
 
None of them made much money from the gigs, so they'd carpool. Problem is, many times it was a "good" guy and a "bad" guy riding in together, so they'd get out at the Ike's down the street and change rides so that the eager audience wouldn't see them come in the same car and start calling them traitors.
 
Before the show started, if you walked into the large men's bathroom near the WMC newsroom you would see about a dozen very large men standing around in their tights and applying makeup, talking quietly in friendly terms.
 
And then they'd go into the studio, rant and rave according to script, and give each other body slams and piledrivers.
 

High comedy.

Yo-Yo Diet

Considering I was coming off being sick, I'm not too disappointed in gaining a pound last week. I would rather not gain back the 7 pounds I lost while sick, however. So we'll see how that goes.
 
 
KEEP JEFF ACCOUNTABLE
 
Starting weight (July 12) - 387
Last weigh-in (March 14) - 346
Current weight (March 21) - 347
Lost last week - +1
Total lost - 40
15% target - 329
Ultimate goal – 225

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What's in a (Baptist) name?

Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville is changing its name to The Fellowship at Two Rivers. Why? Apparently they had problems with leadership and a grumbling congregation, resulting in dramatic attendance drops in the past few years.

This got me to thinking about my top five names to re-brand FBC Millington's message:

* Greater Vision Bible Church, Tanning Salon, Pizza & Bait Shop - All things to all people!

* North Millington Baptist (But Not THAT Kind Of Baptist) Church - Disassociates FBC from the rabble in the southern kingdom of Millington, and disassociates FBC from those stuffy SBC types and their "rules."

* New Hope Life Direction Believers Church Of The Rock - Catches all the newfangled hip and simple church names and makes it sound like an action hero with Nic Cage and Sean Connery, all in one!

* Fellowship Gathering Place Of Christians Who Get Along And Don't Question Each Other's Doctrine - I know, sounds too Unitarian, but we're just trying to get them in the door, am I right?

* First Church of Springfield - Hey, might at least make the church a tourist destination for fans of "The Simpsons." They'll infuse some cash into the area, take pictures, maybe even come inside and get some preachin'.

Maybe one of those new names could get me back in Sunday School, too. After all, due to sickness in the Rushing household we've had to miss two weeks in a row, so no perfect attendance stickers for me.

Which is a shame, because who doesn't love to get stickers? I remember my only VBS as a non-churchgoing kid, about 8 years old at Second Presbyterian Church. I don't know how much I learned about Jesus, but I know that I was sure proud of all the stars on the chart by my name!

(In fact, I'm pretty sure it's somewhere in Paul's letters that, "Those who would gather stars by their names, shall He be among them.")

Friday, March 18, 2011

The pres is invisible, not transparent

- Political blog sentence of the day: "President Obama's only event at the White House that isn't closed to the press on Wednesday is a ceremony in which he'll accept an award for being open to the press."

- National Review's Jim Garaghty continues to pile on the Obamessiah's strangely disinterested focus:
"In the past week, as the budget negotiations, the deteriorating situation in Libya and the Japan crisis have been big issues one, two, and three, the president has found time for not just bracket picks and a DNC fundraiser but the bullying summit, a ceremony with the Chicago Blackhawks, a round of golf, the Gridiron dinner, a meeting with "student finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search 2011 competition", a speech at a school in Arlington, a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Lars L√łkke Rasmussen of Denmark in the Oval Office, discussing "the close ties between the United States and Denmark," and a weekly presidential address focusing on "Women's History Month." Wednesday, he's got another fundraiser."

Confessions

Just so my darling Valerie knows, I was not, and never have been, the model for the Mr. Brawny paper towel guy, the inspiration for Notting Hill or GQ's 2003 "Awesome Dude Of The Year." Sorry, Sweetheart, we were courting and I intimated a few things and ... well, it could be worse:
A confused and contrite Bartlett widow acknowledged Saturday that her late husband was not the well- known wrestler Stan Lane, part of the popular tag 1980s team The Fabulous Ones.

"It's obviously been a gross error, and my husband is at fault, and there's nothing I can do about that," Anna Marie Ticer said in a telephone message.

Contacted later, she said her husband, Sam Ticer, who died Monday at 65, had told her during their 24-year marriage that he was Stan Lane.

"I did not know he had been living a lie for 24 years," Ticer said. Other relatives of Sam Ticer finally told her Friday night of the ruse after a flurry of questions arose from Ticer's obituary published in The Commercial Appeal on Thursday.

"I had no reason to doubt him."

In the obituary, submitted by Ticer to Family Funeral Care, which handled the arrangements, she stated her husband was "a professional wrestler for 13 years under the name of Stan Lane of the Best Tag Team ever to hit Memphis and Mid-South Coliseum as The Fabulous Ones with partner Steve Keirn."

The funeral home forwarded the information to The Commercial Appeal, and it was included in the daily paid obituaries.

Contacted at his Greensboro, N.C., home Friday afternoon, the real Stan Lane confirmed that he was alive. He had learned of the obituary from family and associates, and couldn't understand why anyone would say they were him. Even Lane's 90-year-old mother was aware of the reports. ...

Cooper says "Go Tigers Go! Beat Arizona!"




Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jeff's 2011 March Madness Challenge

This year there's a lot of similarity in Final Four picks, and not much difference in winners, either. Most have either Ohio State, Kansas or Duke, with one picking Florida and another for Syracuse. But, like in 2010, there's always just enough difference that many will still have a chance in the final two weekends to keep it interesting.

Kevin's Picks (Kevin H.) - Ohio State, Texas, Kansas, Kansas St.
Bruins Commodores Bears oh my! (Scott) - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
Jorge - Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Kansas St.
My Madness (Natalie) - Syracuse, Duke, Kansas, Florida
/Belew's Picks (Cody) - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
Tigerblood (Rann) - North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Florida
Carol's Picks - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
Jonathan's Here - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
Cooper's Picks (Val) - Ohio St., San Diego St., Kansas, Pittsburgh
Valtool's Picks (Michael C.) - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh
Jeff Slamma Jamma - Ohio St., Duke, Kansas, Florida
some lame bracket name (Katie) - Syracuse, Duke, Purdue, BYU
Buzzer Beaters (Cheryl) - Ohio St., Duke, Notre Dame, BYU

2010 results:

Last year my Mom-in-Law, Carol, picked Duke and enjoyed her "one shining moment."

1. Carol's Picks- 105
2. Michael C. (Mike Does Not Watch Basketball) - 77
3. Scott (Bears Commodores Bruins oh my!) - 68
4. Dad (redsox0407) - 63
5. Kevin's Picks - 61
6. Natalie (lucky) - 60
7. Cody (Belew'sPick) - 57
8. Erin (Not So Picky) - 54
9. Stephen (One Shining Bracket) - 52
10. Jorge/Miami - 51
11. Jose (Torch the Twine) - 50
12. Val (Cooper's Mom's Picks) - 48
12. cheryls picks - 48
14. Jeff's Worst Guesses - 41

Yes, that's right, it's your host, bringing up the rear. You know, just trying to be an accommodating moderator, make y'all feel better about yourselves. *cough*

Past results:

2009

1. Steve R. - 131
2. Rann R - 126
t2. Jonathan M. - 126
4. Scott - 109
5. Syd - 102
6. Cody - 100
7. Kevin H. - 92
8. Jenn R. - 85
t8. Val - 85
t8. Carol H. - 85
11. Jorge - 81
12. Randy B. - 76
13. Cheryl - 75 (43 of 63)
14. Erin M. - 70
15. Me - 69
16. Karen P. - 59
17. Stephen M. - 53

2008

1 Cody B. - 142
2 Stephen M. - 138
3 Val - 127
4 Erin M. - 120
5 Randy B. - 117
6 12345 - 113
7 Cheryl B. - 112
8 Dad - 105
9 Me - 103
10 Sydney G. - 98
11 Carol H. - 96
12 Natalie M. - 88
13 Steven R. - 86
14 Michael C. - 85
15 Scott R. - 74
16 Stephanie L. - 72
17 CUT THE NET - 70
18 Jenn R. - 53

2007

1. Me - 151 points
2. Dad - 143
3. Jorge - 138
4. Michael C. - 128
5. Karen - 107
6. Syd - 104
7. Carol H. - 99
t8. Kevin - 93
t8. Erin - 93
10. Val - 91
11. Steve - 90
12. Southern Girl - 87
13. Cody - 83
14. Scott - 64
15. Jenn R. - 50
16. Amy C. - 28

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Still time: Jeff's March Madness Challenge!

Time for my annual NCAA Tournament Picks league! Join up!

Click here to sign up: Group ID# is 61223 and password is: 12345

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sickness: It's what works

I've had a fever, constant headache, and chills for three days now, and the doctor Friday couldn't decide what it is. She thought it was early onset of the flu, but I've had a flu shot, so is that possible? Val thought it was strep throat, since I had similar symptoms back in '06 when I did indeed have strep.

The doctor also suggested a bacterial infection that came back after the sinus infection I had a few weeks back. So I take drugs, nothing happens, and I'm miserable and tired and alternating between cold and hot (when I take Tylenol, it makes me sweat for three hours).

Blech. I went to work today since we're already short due to vacations, but if the doctor tells me to take a day of rest this week, I am going to have to do it.

Meanwhile, we had Cooper all weekend because Val's mom went to Texas, so Val's exhausted, I'm exhausted, and Cooper's running the house right now. Oh look, he wants to do the dishes. Go ahead buddy *yawn* ...

But hey, being too sick to eat is great for the waistline!

Starting weight (July 12) - 387
Last weigh-in (Feb. 28) - 353
Current weight (March 14) - 346
Lost last 2 weeks - 7
Total lost - 41
15% target - 329
Ultimate goal – 225

Cooper playing with his food





Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jeff's March Madness Challenge!

Time for my annual NCAA Tournament Picks league! Join up!

Click here to sign up: Group ID# is 61223 and password is: 12345

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yee-Haw, eat your steak raw!

During the budget battle in the Senate, Dem. (or "dim") Harry Reid of Nevada complained that Republican cuts were threatening important programs. One of those he cited? A cowboy poetry festival. In Reid's words: "Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”

With such easy and juicy material now on hand, the Twitter page of National Review's Jonah Goldberg was a sonnata of hilarity:

"Taxpayers want to hang up my spurs, "It's our money not yers," Only Harry Reid sees That my verse needs subsidies."

"The mesquite's burnin', windmill's turnin', It's cold on the prairie, So I thank Harry For the guvmint grants I'll be earnin."

"Even with a surplus, 5% growth and full employment, you could still argue that a fed subsidy for cowboy poetry is madness."

"John Boehner's America is a land in which cowboys would be forced into back-alley poetry recitations."

"I hear that under Herbert Hoover, cowboys held signs saying "Will iambic Pentameter 4 food.""

"Thanks to 8 years of Reagan Greed, cowboys often read poetry while flipping hamburgers at McDonald's."

"Leave no cowboy poets behind!"

"If I put on chaps and 10 gallon hat, can I get some $$ for this tweet?"

"The stimulus created or saved 300,000 cowboy poems according to Mark Zandi. Without the stimulus cowboy verse would be down 20%."

"When Cowboy Poets enter collective bargaining is it called a poet posse?"

"In Europe everything is more civilized. Cowboy poets get free healthcare and 8 weeks paid vacation."

"Do we really want to live in a country where we balance the books on the backs of cowboy poets? Umm, yeah kinda."

"This is an age old Progressive dream, ever since Bismarck paid a small cowboy poet stipend. Then under FDR c-p widows got death benefits."

"Are we sure that cowboys (sexist!) getting public $ are racially diverse? What about Cowgirls? Is the LGBT Cowpeople community represented?"

"Has Maya Angelou gotten once cent of our annual cowboy poetry budget? No? Coincidence: I Think Not."

"it's Bush's fault. All hat, no canto."

Cooper at Shelby Farms, pt. 1

On our way to the park, we stopped off at the U of M to see Katie ...


.. and Cody, although he was busy playing six-man ping-pong: