Sunday, February 28, 2010

February's Gone

I woke up this morning and stared at the morning light as it inched its way across the ceiling. I could tell by the quality of the light that today would be a good one.
As I lay there thinking about the things I needed to do today, I realized that it's the last day of February. Tomorrow, is March 1st and spring will be exactly three weeks away. I've enjoyed the cool weather, but I'll be ready for spring.
When we ran by Wal-Mart today to pick up a roasting chicken, we went through the garden shop to pick up a bag of bird seed and they already have fertilizer and other garden stuff out.
It was all I could do to keep from loading the buggy down. I learned last year, the I need to show a little patience as I got a ton of plants started, but the weather was still too cold when they got to the size for planting.
I had to keep them inside for another week or so and they got tall and spindly. 

By the time warm weather arrived, some of my plants had died. This year I plan to be more patient and time the seedlings better.
So I'd just like to say, so long to February and hello March

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Clandestine Exchange

Every few weeks we go to Jasper Feed and Supply to buy fifty pounds of deer corn when we buy our dog food. 
Each night we go out into our garden, and put a few scoops of corn under our apple tree. On special occasions, Jilda will slice up an apple and put it with the corn.
Each morning when we go out, the corn and apples are gone and in their place are a few hoof prints. Most nights it's a clandestine exchange.
But every now and then when the moon gets full, we're paid in full. Last night was payday. Just before we lay down, I was scooping ground coffee into the filter, and setting the timer on the pot. I drew a glass of water from the tap on the sink and looked out across the back deck toward the south. There in the moon shadows under the apple tree, we saw the mama deer and a younger deer cautiously eating their nightly dinner.
I know there are those who may think it foolish to feed wild animals, but just an occasional glimpse of those graceful creatures make it worth while. In fact, I think we're getting the best end of the deal.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Well, I was mistaken. I thought I'd know for sure today if I'd be leaving the job soon, but that didn't happen. My boss knows, but he's sworn to secrecy until Monday when the official announcement is made. Oh well.
I know when I know.
Today was a beautiful day. I cut out of work a few minutes early and ran by the Birmingham Library. That is one fascinating place. It was buzzing with activity.
I picked out several books on marketing and promotion to refresh my memory. I actually studied marketing in graduate school. I had a great teacher that worked in marketing for many years prior to teaching. She not only had knowledge, but experience.
Learning things out of a book is good, but getting your rear kicked in the workplace is how you really learn things.
Jilda has supper on the table and I'm so hungry I could eat roadkill.
Y'all have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tomorrow's the Day

Well, tomorrow's they day I get the word on whether I'll be leaving the company or not. If I am one that gets the package, I'll be off the payroll before Jilda's birthday on March 23rd. 
I have paid excused days so I've I'm chosen, I'll have about two weeks to work...about ten days. The emotions have been interesting. People are beginning to hear that I may be leaving and I'm getting calls throughout the day.
I've been working in that building since 1983. The thought of getting up in a few weeks from now,  and not driving there through morning traffic to go to work will definitely be strange.
I intend to spend the first few weeks working around the house on projects that have been delayed too long, and  maybe do a little fly fishing.
I'll let you know tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Home again

Jilda's back home tonight and she was a sight for sore eyes. She hob-knobbed with the big-whigs the last few days so I expected her head to be swollen. But she worked her fanny off and she's too tired to gloat.
My friend Fred and I are in the final stages of production on Berkeley Bob's CD and I'm having to learn new software to get the graphics right.
I've used Paint Shop Pro for years and I'm fairly good with it, but it doesn't do what we need to do to get the graphics right so I had to download a trial version of Photo Shop. It's the Cadillac of photo software and the learning curve is much steeper.
I've fooled with it tonight till my head hurts so I'm giving up and I'll try again tomorrow.
Signing off for now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scrambled Eggs

I'm not much of a cook. That much I have to admit. On the way home tonight I kept trying to think of something I wanted to eat but drew a blank.
When I got home I looked through the fridge for some left-overs but none of them looked that good either.
I decided to scramble me some eggs. Eggs, I can do.  They weren't too bad. Jilda's scrambled eggs are fluffy as clouds. Mine favored roadkill that I'd scraped up with a stick, but I was getting hungry and they tasted pretty good.
Jilda heads home tomorrow. I got text updates from her all day and she said it's been interesting. I can't wait for her to get home to give me the scoop.
I stayed up late last night so I'm running out of gas tonight.
Happy Tuesday

Monday, February 22, 2010


A lady at work lost her mom last week and she's taking it hard. I talked to her today and I could hear an overwhelming sadness in her voice.
She said I lost my dad several years ago, but losing my mom was the hardest thing I ever had to endure.
I could say I understand, but I haven't lost my mom, so I really don't have a point of reference. Jilda would be quick to agree with my friend at work.
Jilda still has has a hard time on holidays, and on her mom's birthday. "You NEVER get over the loss of a mother," she says.
So on the way home this evening, I called my mom and we talked for a while.  She can't hear very good but if a day goes by without me calling, it doesn't miss her notice.
Baseball season starts in a few weeks and she's excited about that. She is a Braves fan from way back. I think this year I'm going to record some games on DVD so that she can watch them after the season ends this year.
It was not my intention to start down this melancholy path this evening,  but Jilda's out of town working on the set of a Christmas Special being filmed in Nashville, and I had to stay behind to work.
She'll be home Wednesday and things around here will get back to normal.
Have a great Monday.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Bucket List

We watched the Bucket List again the other day. Some movies touch a chord somewhere deep inside. The Bucket List did that for me.
It's rare to run across someone who actually own's their life. Most everyone works for "The Man" to pay for the things we consume. 
To some folks, a big house and fancy cars are important. As a result, they spend a great deal of lives paying for these things. 
The older I get, the more my priorities change. After I saw the Bucket List this week, I made a list of things I really want to do before it's too late:
1. Go fly fishing in Vermont
2. Learn to ballroom dance
3. Go to the Louvre in Paris
4. Drive across America and have my picture taken at every state line "Now Entering Montana" etc.
5. Finish my novel
6. Take a cruise
7. Learn to cook seafood
8. Go to Australia
9. Build a party barn
10. Take a ride on the Orient Express

I could go on for a while, but this will do for now.
What would your Bucket List contain? 

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Today was like springtime. I worked outside this morning and then washed both vehicles. My truck was so grimy you couldn't tell what color it was. When I washed the wheels I realized I'd lost two of the wheel covers.
Oh well.
Jilda and I walked for a long while. The light breeze was still cool, but he sun was warm on my face and you could see tiny buds beginning to swell on some of the trees. I hope they don't get over zealous because we will have more cold weather. In fact the weatherman is forecasting snow flurries next week.
I mentioned that I may be retiring early though it will still be weeks before I know for sure, but already my mindset has changed. I'm not getting as excited and stressed at work as I once did.
Also, opportunities are popping up. Opportunities that would be out of the question with a full time job, but not having a day gig changes everything.
My friend Grandpappy said that when he retired, he never looked back and he's done just fine. What's interesting about this particular situation is that I may have an opportunity to receive re-training. That's exciting because I really need to boost my desktop publishing skills. A lot of the thinks I'll be doing if the retirement thing does come through involves graphics, design, and publication.
If I can get better with the latest software available, that has to be a plus for my after-retirement plan.
Anyhow, I think Jilda and I are going to kick back and watch a movie tonight.
Have a great Saturday.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I spent the morning down at Sumiton School for Career Day. It was a lot more fun that I thought. I asked every kid that came to my table what they wanted to be when they grew up. About half didn't know. About twenty five percent gave me the answer they thought I wanted to hear. But about twenty five percent had already given a great deal of thought to what they want to do with their lives.
You could tell that a good many kids were there only because it got them out of class. When I talked, they could care less about what I said but there was a segment that listened intently.
I'm encouraged by what I saw today.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I feel like I've hit a brick wall. I can't remember when I've struggle with a column like the one this week.
I think I'll take the day off tomorrow and enjoy the warm sunshine.
I could use a break.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Short end of the stick

The deadline for my weekly column is screaming toward me at the speed of light and I'm drawing blanks.
I'm going to have to pull a rabbit out of the hat. As a result, the blog is taking a back seat tonight.
I'll do better tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day Column - a few days late

Today is Valentine’s Day and guys if you haven’t already gotten your honey something sweet, you still have some time. One word of advice – be mindful of what you get!
As I’ve written before, I’ve bought some unfortunate gifts for my spouse on Valentine’s Day so I feel qualified to speak on the topic, and indeed obligated to my peeps to share what I’ve learned through the years. There’s commercials, o-plenty to tell you what to buy. My mission today is to tell you what NOT to buy.
An umbrella is one of handiest tools ever invented. It’s the first thing I reach for on rainy days, but I’m here to tell you that they are unsuitable as Valentine’s gifts. I don’t care if it’s red and smells like roses, STEP AWAY FROM THE UMBRELLA!
I had a friend who got this wacky idea to give his wife some bricks as a gift. It was his way of telling his lovely bride that he was building a new house for her. After years of living in a rental that was a dump, he thought the bricks on Valentine’s Day, were symbolic. He believed in his heart that this gesture was perfect and that she’d be moved to tears.
But she didn’t get it. In fact she came up with some new creative uses of bricks that had never occurred to me. Had he followed through with her instructions of where he could put the bricks, it would have made sitting very uncomfortable for him. He stayed in the doghouse so long he started to enjoy the taste of Milk Bones.
I’ve also learned in my 35 years of marriage that kitchen utensils can be problematic gifts on anniversaries or Valentine’s Day, so don’t fall into THAT trap!
Other gifts you may also want to steer clear of are exercise DVD’s, gym memberships, or workout clothes. You may think it’s a practical gift but to a woman it screams YOUR FAT!!! This can send you down a slippery path my friend and you could wind up so bruised that your mama won’t recognize you. Years of valuable experience at work here. Listen to what I say. STEP AWAY FROM THE WEIGH LOSS SECTION OF THE STORE!!!
Here’s another shocker for men. Most women don’t want lingerie for Valentine’s Day. I know that some of you guys out there think I’m out of my mind, but it’s true - not that I’m out of my mind, but most women don’t want underwear for V-Day. You may think the gift is for her, but women understand the gift is REALLY for you. It took me years and truck loads of frozen TV dinners to figure this out. You get this info free just by being a subscriber to The Daily Mountain Eagle.
A good Valentine’s Day gift doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. I made a gift for Jilda one year when we were strapped for cash. It was a coupon book and the coupons were good for a free car wash, a free meal at Rick’s Diner (she never actually cashed this one in, possibly because I can’t cook), a back massage, and other favors that would be imprudent to discuss in a family paper. The point is, it didn’t cost anything except a little thought, and some creativity.
Of course, you could always spring for the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift which is a copy of my book “Remembering Big” available at fine gift shops, restaurants, and other establishments around the area. I know, I know, it’s shameless self promotion, but the cover is red and if I can sell a few copies, maybe I can take Jilda out for dinner tonight. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Walking on Chilly Days

I find myself walking faster on chilly days, especially when I'm walking into the wind. Today, the sun was out but the wind out of the north cut like a shard of glass. So I bunched my jacket and hood closer, leaned into the wind and picked up the pace. I could see my breath escaping out of my mouth like fog from a mining shaft.
But walking in colder weather feels good. It makes you feel alive.
Hunting season was over at the first of February and our four-legged friends made it through. We leave them a scoop of corn under our apple tree each night and when morning comes, the corn is gone.  On Friday as the snow fell, Jilda saw the mama and baby deer frolicking in the field. She went to grab her iPhone to shoot a few frames of video, but by the time she got back to the deck they had scurried off into the hollow.
Maybe next time.
Y'all say warm.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

SnowBaby vs SnowDog

I can't remember the last time we had multiple snows in one season. I'm talking about snow that sticks on the ground. The weatherman says we could have anywhere from 4 to six inches tonight and tomorrow. That should be interesting.
I think it's because we now have a snowbaby in our family. My great nephew Jordan just turned two years old and he's already seen snow on the ground three times. He love the snow. He comes to our house each time and he wants to walk to the barn.
The only mammal on the here in Empire that enjoys the snow more than Jordan is our dog Black. We call him Bear and one look at this photo and you will understand why.
Bear contracted heart worms a few years ago and he got thin as a noodle. When we took him to the vet, she put him on some maintenance drugs. She wasn't sure if he would pull out of it or not.
He did. He went from about fifty pounds to about ninety six pounds now.
He still has a hard time during the heat of the summer so he spends most of his days inside in front of the fan.
But winter is his season.  In the first picture he was making snowdog angels. In the second photo, he made a b-line to Jordan and promptly knocked him down in the snow. I was using my big camera and the battery died before I could capture that photo, but I can tell you it was pure joy on both of their faces.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Cyprus

The snowfall subsided late afternoon on Friday. By sunset, the clouds dispersed and the sun made an appearance  
I shot the photo of the Cyprus just off the back deck, with my iPhone . The sun glinted on the clouds off to the south. It was a beautiful site to behold.
Today the clouds were all white and fluffy and the sun came out warm. By mid-day, the snow was almost gone.
This is the kind of snow I enjoy most. It comes on the weekend, you get outside with the kids and play till your hands and feet get frostbitten, and then you go inside and drink hot chocolate.
The next day the snow is just a memory and an image on your camera that you share with your friends.
The weatherman says we may get another round tomorrow night but things change in the blink of an eye so I'm not putting on my mittens till the fat snowman sings.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rick 1 Computer 0

The snow was almost blinding when I left work today but I found time to stop by the computer store to get a new hard drive for my computer. 
I walked by the new desktop PC and the Laptop's slowly. I came within a hair of digging deeply into my pocket and buying a new one. But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking - don't wimp out on this one. "Don't be such a little girl", I chided myself. 
So I walked on. It took a while but I managed to get the system to recognize the new drive. I actually had two drives in the case. One was the main drive and the other I used as a backup device. When I removed the backup drive to format the new drive, I noticed my computer started screaming again. 
I put the old spare drive back in and I could hear a slight clicking sound and I knew that it was the culprit. I chunked the old drive, put the new one in as a new backup drive and I'm back in service.  WOO HOOOO!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Computer trauma

My office cmputer has officially "gone south". Every time I bootn it up the CPU pegs at 100% bringing everything to a crawl. IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY. I can't really tell if it's hardware or software.
I've checked for viruses and malware and none are showing up. I have searched the net but there doesn't seem to be any information that pertains to my particular issue.
Maybe it's the Universe telling me to replatform, but I also don't like for a computer to whip me down. I'm going to sleep on it tonight and after work tomorrow, I'm going to have another go at it.
I've backed up my critical data so I should be good there, but configuring a new computer is very time consuming.
I go on call at midnight tonight so I'm signing off now and take it easy for awhile.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gifting for Valentine's Day

I'm working on my column for Valentine's Day. LoveDay is this Sunday so I'm dedicating my column to things you should probably steer clear of to make the most of the day.
Believe me, I've learned my lessons well over the last 35 years. I'm amazed and amused that guys still make the same mistakes.
The biggest mistake that guys make is trying to be practical. Valentine's Day is not about being practical so throw that notion out the window and go for the tried and true - flowers, candy, day at the spa, theraputic spanking......oooops, did I just write that, I meant to say get her a gift that says "it took me more than five seconds to pick this gift out."
Anyhow, that's my advice. You'll have to read the paper or click on the website for The Daily Mountain Eagle to read the full story on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Somethng Screwy Going on

Not sure what's going on with my desktop computer but each time I boot it, the CPU usage skyrockets to 100% and I can't do anything.
My virus software isn't complaining and my firewall seems to be OK too but at this point, the beast is pretty much a boat anchor.
Sounds like I might have to do a system restore which is not a great deal of fun. I can take hours to complete and weeks to get your computer back to where you want it. It's almost easier to go buy a new unit and start from scratch.
I'm thinking there is some kind of malware loose that I've somehow gotten. Anyhow, more later.
Tomorrow is decision day on taking the offer at work. Even if I say yes, it doesn't mean I will get the package. I've done a lot of soul searching and I've gotten good advice from my friends.
We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, February 08, 2010

What Would I be Doing?

Do you ever wonder what you’d be doing if you weren’t doing what you currently do? If I had taken a different path would it still have brought me here?  I think about this stuff time and again.
Life is a series of choices and any choice has the potential to take you where you want to go, or strand you out in the tall weeds like a golf ball sliced by a rookie golfer with a handicap of 120.
I don’t have a lot of regrets in my life, but every now and then when I’m sitting on a mind numbing conference call and the voices of the participants begin to sound like Snoopy – bla bla bla bla bla, I find myself asking this question.
I really can’t imagine my life without my lovely spouse Jilda. But I sometimes wonder what would my life have been like if I hadn’t taken the job with MaBell.
I had been out of work for almost a year when I got three offers at the same time.  One was a job in photography doing family portraits and sports/team photos, one was in forestry for the state of Alabama, and the other was gassing up trucks for the telephone company.
I love photography. I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of pictures through the years. I have documented the lives of all my family members for the last 40 years, but that’s because I love taking pictures.
I’m not so sure the luster would have lasted if I had to make a living with photography.
Likewise, I love being outdoors communing with Mother Nature. But the older I get, the more my knees and other connecting joints are influenced by the weather. I can actually predict rain by the quality of pain in my elbow, or a drop in the barometric pressure by which knee is acting up. The outdoors are great when the weather’s good, but  it’s not nearly as much fun when it’s cold and rainy.
My job, for the last 33 years has been good to me. For the most part, I have had decent bosses who allowed me to be creative in my approach to work.
The company has paid for my house, my cars and the other stuff we enjoy. The job has sent me all over the country teaching, training, and doing other work. Many times, Jilda went with me and we always managed to pack fun time into our travels.
The Army paid for the first two years of college, but MaBell picked up the tab for my bachelor’s and master’s work in school. I know for a fact that wasn’t cheap.
A while back when I was listening to Snoopy, drone on, I pulled out my calculator  and did some figuring.
 I’ve worked in Birmingham since 1983. It takes me about two hours a day to commute. If I account for vacation, and other time away from the job, I figure I have about one year and two months sitting in my vehicle, driving back and forth to work. That’s a sobering fact.
Thankfully, I got into listening to books on tape so I’ve spent most of the commute time productively. In fact one of my buddies at work called me a “Road Scholar”.
When all is said and done, I’m happy with what I’m doing now, and that’s more than a lot of people can say.


I was thrilled last night watching the Saints spank Payton Manning and the Colts. I really wasn't sure they had it in 'em. But they looked like a team on a mission. In the end, they walked away with at 33-17 victory that was as sweet as Beignet.
When the Colts jumped on top 10-0 the Saints never panicked. They simply took care of business.
The Saints are one of those teams that have been awful for years. The team was founded in 1967 and it took them ten years for win at least half of their games and only another forty three to get the prize.
I know that it's a big deal when a city's team brings home the big prize, but this year for the Saints, and New Orleans, it seems like destiny.  I could not be more proud of the Saints.. I only wish I were in City of New Orleans to help the celebrate.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Berkeley Bob

My buddy Fred and I are working with Berkeley Bob on a new CD Project. Bob plays old folks and traditional songs like Black Eyed Susy, Jessie James, and he also has a few original tunes that will be included on the project.
We went up yesterday to listen to draft copies of all the songs and discuss graphics.Bob is a delightful person, and a darn good musician. He tends to put himself down, saying that he doesn't think he sounds that good, but his music is earthy and real. I love what he's doing and I think he'll be pleasantly surprised by the finished product.
He owns Berkeley Bob's Coffee Shop in Cullman and I have a feeling that he'll sell more CD's than he thinks. We'll set him up an online store and hopefully he will sell a few units there too.
We plan to send a CD's to All Things Acoustic. Jeremy Buttler, who has done the radio show on NPR for many years loves this kind of music.
It's been a fun process. I think when we get a few projects under out belts, Fred will be a busy little sound man.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Coach Paul Bear Bryant

Note: My friend Bobbye sent me the following story about Coach Bryant. I loved the message and wanted to share.

 It Don't Cost Nuthin' to be Nice

     At a Touchdown Club meeting many years before his death, Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant told the following story.  
     I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player and I was havin' trouble finding the place.. Getting hungry I spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front that simply said "Restaurant."
      I pull up, go in and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I'm the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit.
A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, "What do you need?" I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today? He says, "You probably won't like it here, today we're having chitlins, collared greens and black eyed peas with cornbread. I'll bet you don't even know what chitlins (small intestines of hogs prepared as food in the deep South) are, do you?" I looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm from Arkansas , I've probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I'm in the right place. "They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, "You ain't from around here then?"

      I explain I'm the new football coach up in  Tuscaloosa at the University and I'm here to find whatever that boy's name was and he says, yeah I've heard of him, he's supposed to be pretty good. And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.
      As I'm paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay.

     The big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could hang up to show I'd been there. I was so new that I didn't have any yet. It really wasn't that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I'd get him one.
     I met the kid I was lookin' for later that afternoon and I don't remember his name, but do remember I didn't think much of him when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I thought.
      When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn't forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. The next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, "Thanks for the best lunch I've ever had."

     Now let's go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black players at
Alabama and I'm back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y'all remember, (and I forget the name, but it's not important to the story), well anyway, he's got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he's got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on see some others while I'm down there.

  Two days later, I'm in my office in 
Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it's this kid who just turned me down, and he says, "Coach, do you still want me at Alabama ?" And I said, "Yes I sure do." And he says OK, he'll come. And I say, "Well son, what changed your mind?" And he said, "When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn't going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn't playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y'all met." Well, I didn't know his granddad from Adam's housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, "You probably don't remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he's had hung in that place ever since. That picture's his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him."
  "My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him and to Grandpa, that's everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going to."

  I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don't cost nuthin' to be nice. It don't cost nuthin' to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin' your word to someone.

  When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he's still running that place, but it looks a lot better now; and he didn't have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that woulda made Dreamland proud and I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don't think I didn't leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football.
  I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they're out on the road. If you remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable.
~ Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant ~
Editor's Note: Coach Bryant was in the presence of these few gentlemen for only minutes, and he defined himself for life. Regardless of our profession, we do define ourselves by how we treat others, and how we behave in the presence of others, and most of the time, we have only minutes or seconds to leave a lasting impression. We can be rude, crude, arrogant, cantankerous, or we can be nice. Nice is always a better choice. I like what Stephen Grellet, French/American religious leader (1773-1855) said, "I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any creature, let me do it now.. Let me not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again."  

Friday, February 05, 2010


Being a writer, I hate to admit this, but I've never read Anna Karenina -nor have I read War and Peace. I'm not proud of this, but I'm stating it as a simple fact. However I do plan to correct the situation. I downloaded Anna Karenina this morning. I think it's about forty hours long. I also bought War & Peace. The book weighs more than Jilda so I'm guessing it will take me until January 2023 to finish it, but you can consider it done.
Every writing coach, teacher, and author says that you must read voraciously.  I do read more than most, but not as much as I should.
So, I'll give updates now and then to let you know how I'm coming.
For my friends up on the eastern seaboard, get out your Long Johns and settle in for a bunch of the white stuff.
We've had a tremendous amount of rain the last few days and it's headed east. Good luck. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


I've been running numbers in my head all day long. It's been hard to concentrate. Should I or should I not retire from the day gig? This is the question.
One of my buddies from California is 64 and he'd already made up his mind to retire on his birthday in March 2011. It seems the company made up his mind for him.  He can take the offer and spend his time on the beach surf fishing if he likes. He lives not far from San Francisco, he could spank sea lions till his hands got red.
The problem with him is, his job has been his life for the last 40 years. He's got kids and grand kids, but he really doesn't have that many outside interests.
My situation is not so clear. It will be a few years before I qualify for social security. I have some loose ends to tie up but it just might be doable.
My situation differs from my friends in that I have a million outside interests. I work the day gig in my spare time.
I love writing, music and media work. What's great is when I can put all of these things together.
It's a little scary. Several of my friends who have already retired tell me that I will not only survive, but I will thrive.
I dusted off my calculator. I'm gonna spend the weekend doing some "figguring"

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


There was an interesting announcement at work today. The company is offering an early retirement again.
I've had a couple offers in the past and I looked at them really hard,  but they didn't seem right at the time.
This one seems attractive too, but I haven't had a chance to read the fine print.
I plan to spend the weekend contemplating my future, and refine my calculations on exactly what it takes to survive and thrive.
I'm really close to where I want to be financially, but there is still a little work to be done. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


My wife Jilda and I are two of the most compatible people on the planet.
Our views on politics, religion, family, friends, hobbies, music, and food are almost interchangeable.
Everything seems to be in sync except our circadian rhythms.
I’m a morning person and she’s a, “DON’T EVEN LOOK MY WAY UNTIL I’VE HAD A POT OF COFFEE,” person.
I wake up around 4:30 a.m. almost every morning and when my feet hit the floor, my mind is already in high gear.
I’m ticking through the things I need to do, working out schedules, contingency plans, and what-if scenarios before the coffee pot stops gurgling.
My lovely spouse rarely gets up until around 5:30 a.m. and she is the polar opposite.
If you could do a cat scan of her brainwave activity at that time of morning, it would be just a tad slower than frozen molasses. 
We’ve been married for almost 36 years and you’d think by now I would have learned to let her wake up before peppering her with “thoughts of the day”, but NO.
This morning after she got up, I poured us a cup of coffee, and started gibbering like a spider monkey cranked up on Jolt Cola energy drinks.
She looked at me as if I were speaking in Mandarin Chinese.
I tell you it’s only by the grace of God, and the fact that I never taught her how to crank the chainsaw that I’m still among the living this evening.
I know for a fact, that she thought about cutting my tongue out of my head this morning with a paring knife, and feeding it to the chickens out in the yard.
“I’m not sure what happened officer, I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee when he started yammering about budgets and iPhone apps and I just snapped!”
“You hadn’t had your first cup of coffee?” The lawman would ask. “Well then, this looks like a clear-cut case of justifiable homicide. I’ll call the coroner, and tell him to bring a mop.”
I’m not sure why, but early morning for me is a magical time.
There is no time of day my thinking is clearer. I make connections, get inspiration, and feel like I can accomplish anything before ten.
I love sitting on our screen porch in the springtime and watching the earth come alive before the sun peeks its head above the eastern horizon.
The sights, the sounds, and the smells are like no other time of day. It’s like a new beginning; another chance to do something remarkable.
 If I want to continue to enjoy early mornings in the future, I gotta learn to allow my wife to wake up and embrace the new day at HER pace, or they will be walking slow and singing sad songs by my grave.
The way Jilda sees it, the early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
I don’t think she would have such a hard time with early mornings, if they started a little later!

Monday, February 01, 2010


There is a new rash of virus/malware that's making the rounds. Jilda got something on her computer last week and it kept popping up telling her that she had to buy the virus protection software to get it off. 
She shut her laptop down and I had a look when I got home. It was a nasty little bugger. I had to utilize some of the PC skills I haven't used for a while.
I saw the file it kept talking about so I booted up to Safe Mode and went into MSCONFIG and ferreted that little bugger out.
I'm guessing there are a lot of people out there that don't have the skills to do that alone. There is free antivirus software out there called AVG. It works really well. I have it on my computer and Jilda now has it on hers.
As for the sub-human simps that spread viruses, I'd like to open up a super-sized can of WhupAss on the low life, snail licking, dung snorting, scum suckers.
Can you tell this stuff aggravates me?

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