Thursday, February 28, 2013

I should be a medical case study for "Weirdness"

I probably have the most unusual sleeping habits of anyone, ever.  Come bedtime every night I get unto my comfy bed and burrow in and snuggle up with the Missus like a normal person.  It seems to chap her that I can fall asleep before she can even get her pillow plumped up to her satisfaction.

But after about two hours my back starts hurting.  I have a bad disc and when I lay on either side I guess I get into some sort of contorted position that aggravates my condition.  Knowing this is going to be the case almost every night I prepare for it by pre-arranging a lap blanket K keeps on the couch and a pillow on my super-soft, well-broken-in leather chair in the great room.  

After a couple of hours in bed I'm on to Plan B, "The Chair".  Sitting up my weight is on my gluteous maximus ("butt" for those of you anatomically challenged), and all I can do is lean contorted rolling around.  When I had my retina surgeries years ago I had to sleep sitting up for a month while my eye lying flat.  Oddly enough, once you get used to it it's pretty comfortable.

Turns out K isn't at all upset by me sleeping in the den because it keeps her from having to listen to me snore or click my teeth or yodel or whatever the hell it is I do in my sleep.  I usually manage to wake up again before the alarm goes off and go back to bed for another few minutes of snuggle time.

Any of you top that for weirdness?


The Liebster Award

I'm on a roll.  My friend Ellen at Bad Word Mama!  has again honored me with an award, specifically the Liebster Award.  That's two she's passed on to me.  Before this I've barely received two awards in my life.  WooHoo!  Thanks Ellen!

You know how this works....I have to answer her questions, then pass on some of my own:

1.    How do you feel about PDA (Public Display of Affection)?  It doesn't bother me as long as they don't get too grab ass about it.

2.    Have you ever dumped someone on a holiday?  Big time.  Sadly, my ex and I split around Thanksgiving many years ago.

3.    Have you ever locked yourself in another room to eat a snack you didn't want to share with your kids?  Not to avoid the kids, but the dog.  He's a beggar.

4.    Do you know what a Shart is?  Have you ever done it?  Never heard of it, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with farm animals and sex.  Nope, I'll pass.

5.    Do you embarrass easily? Not easily, but when I finally do I turn red as a firetruck.

6.    Do you laugh when someone falls down?  You mean like on America's Funniest Video's?  Yes, always!  In real life, sure, as long as they aren't hurt.

7.    If you could change something about yourself what would it be?  I wish I could be more tech savvy.

8.    Do you pee in the shower?  No.  I save it all up for my neighbor's pool.

9.    Have you ever read someones text messages on their phone without them knowing?  No.

10.   What is your guilty pleasure?  Spending money on some expensive luxury I don't need.  Cars come immediately to mind.  :)

11.   Do you hate answering these stupid ass questions? No, but frankly I enjoy READING them more than answering them.  Haha!

OK, now I get to have some fun, too.  My friend Joe at Cranky Old Man and I are having a back and forth right now, so I'd like to pass the Liebster Award on to him, but first he has to answer my delicately posed questions:

1.  You say you're an award whore.  What would you be willing to do for a Nobel Prize (Literature)?

2.  Have you ever been in a public setting...the train going to work or a meeting for example, then noticed your fly was open?

3.  Have you ever pulled the old "car trouble" or "out of gas" trick in a quiet place with a date?

4.  Ginger or Mary Ann?

5.  If you could go back in a time machine to another era, which era would you choose?

6.  What was the worst car you ever owned? 

7.  From your personal experience, what is the most comfortable brand of adult diaper?

8.  Do you play any musical instruments?

9.  When talking with an attractive woman have you ever been caught looking where you shouldn't be looking?

10.  If money were no object, where would you like to own a vacation home?

11.  How many US states have you been to?

Thanks again for the Liebster Award, Ellen.  You're up Joe.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My experience as a tailhooker

(Click on any photo to enlarge.)

I can only imagine how many eyebrows were raised when readers saw that title.  Please don't tell mom.  Haha!

Lemme explain:  Anyone who has experienced an "arrested landing" on an aircraft carrier is known as a tailhooker due to the hook hanging from the tail of the plane that snags the big cable stretched across the deck and stops the plane.  

Back in the early 1990's I was volunteering at an airshow, sitting around with a bunch of the other participants after the show one evening, when several of the guys mentioned they had gone on a Navy "Civilian Orientation Cruise".  

Not being shy, the first thing Monday morning I was on the phone to the Pentagon, Department of the Navy, Office of Public Affairs, asking if they could hook me up with one of those cruises.  They referred me to the Chief of Naval Air Training Command at NAS (Naval Air Station) Corpus Christi, TX.  

The PA people there sent me paperwork, I filled it out and sent it back in....and waited.  About a year later I received a call from a Lieutenant inviting me to come to Corpus on a Sunday and prepare for a flight out to the USS Forrestal the next day. 

I checked in to a suite at the Visiting Officers Quarters and on Monday morning reported to the Officer's Club for breakfast and orientation. After a nice breakfast with some Admiral, we moved on to the flight line where we (there were 15 in my group) were issued "float coats" and "cranials" (inflatable life jackets and helmets).  Our C-2 "Greyhound" was parked just outside waiting for us.

The Grumman C-2 is a "COD", a twin turboprop Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft.  It hauls everything from beans and bullets to the mail and humans out to our carriers at sea.

With seats installed (facing backwards) it is anything but luxurious.

We took off from Corpus Christi, TX and flew 60 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico at 10,000 feet.  While circling the carrier watching from our perch as F/A-18's, T/A-4's and T-2's conducted training operations below, the pilot invited us one at a time to come up to the cockpit and see the view.  The carrier looked like a tiny dot on the ocean from our altitude.  *gulp*

Finally it was our turn to land.  We corkscrewed down from 10,000 feet to just a few hundred in no time.  We flew parallel with and past the carrier, then did a 180 (now heading "downwind"), then 180 again to line up with the carrier from behind ("final").  Heading downwind we could feel the massive landing gear dropping into place and the flaps extending.

We had been instructed that in preparation for landing we were to sit up straight and hold our heads firmly back against the high-backed seats.  The seconds seemed like hours as we hung there, then....WHAM!

A carrier landing has been likened to a controlled crash.  That's being kind.  Luckily our hook grabbed a wire the first attempt and we were brought to a complete stop in just a couple of seconds.  Had we missed a wire we would have been a "bolter" and gone around to try again.  If our heads hadn't been held firmly back on the headrests we would have suffered a serious whiplash.

The pilot immediately folded our plane's wings and quickly followed handlers to a parking spot.  With the engines still running we exited out the back ramp where I was immediately struck by not only the noise, but the smell.  The exhaust from a half dozen or so jets turning and burning close by was almost overwhelming.  I was not expecting that!

We were taken below to one of the squadron "ready rooms" where Captain Johnson greeted us.  We got the usual Go Navy Ra! Ra! speech, then were assigned an Ensign who gave us a complete, and I mean complete, tour of the ship.  We saw the engine room (the Forrestal wasn't nuclear powered), the officers and enlisted quarters, the hanger deck one level below the flight deck where aircraft maintenance took place, and much more.  Then we had lunch with the crew....burgers and fries.  Meh.

Then it was up to the bridge for more Q&A with the Captain (2nd from left), on to Pri-Fly (the air operations center), and finally we went outside on "Vulture's Row" for more viewing.  

Best seat in the house!

Eventually it was time to leave.  While we were touring the ship their public affairs people were busy putting together souvenir packages for each of us.  

These included a nice photo memento of our visit as well as a certificate (photo, top of page) recognizing us tongue-in-cheek as Forrestal Tailhookers.  Do read's funny.

We once again donned our gear and took our seats back on the plane.

As we taxied out to the catapult and unfolded our wings we were reminded again of the procedure to follow for launch.

We were strapped in with a shoulder harness, not just a seat belt.  When cued, I grabbed the left shoulder harness with my right hand, the right shoulder harness with my left hand, pushed my feet firmly into the metal back of the seat in front of me, and put my chin on my chest.

You could feel the engines spool up, the nose dip, and then....BANG....the most violent jolt I've ever felt.  As we were sitting facing the rear the kick threw us forward.  You could feel your eyeballs bulging forward in their sockets and your internal organs pressing hard against the inside of your ribcage.  

The explosive acceleration was over within just a couple of seconds, then we were just cruising.  The pilot later told me we went from 0-140 knots (0-160 mph) in about 2 seconds.  The rest of the flight back was very uneventful.

Interesting footnote:  At breakfast that morning I sat next to a man in his 50's (?) wearing a Minnesota Vikings windbreaker.  He explained his son (Wade Wilson) played for them.  He was a nice guy and we compared notes often during the day. 

Back at NAS Corpus after our flight home, after we said our thank-you's and good-bye's, I noticed Mr. Wilson walked back out to a waiting Army Blackhawk helicopter, jumped in, and it took off.  I asked our PA Officer host how he got to do that?  She said, "Oh, Major General Wilson can do pretty much anything he wants to around here." Ha!

I suspect in these times of budget cuts similar Civilian Orientation Cruises are no more.  Pity.  It was an experience I'll never forget.  Thanks Navy!



Note:  Photos 1,6,8,9 and 10 are mine.  The others are from the internet for illustration.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

He who has the gold....needs to be watched carefully

Just kidding.  Not really.

If there was an Academy Award for "Most Despicable Way To Screw The Public" it would have to go to the big mega-banks.  This was in the weekend newspaper:

The FDIC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are investigating the big banks for their role in helping the internet payday lenders rip off consumers.  The big banks don't loan money directly to ignorant/desperate borrowers (too much bad press), but they do enable the offshore-based payday loan sharks to withdraw money directly from borrowers accounts, even in those states (15 of them) where payday loans are illegal.

So what's in it for the banks?  People desperate enough to go to payday lenders generally have next-to-nothing in their bank accounts at any given time.  So the payday lenders withdraw money from borrowers accounts whenever they find a few dollars there, which means many of the customer's other checks are likely to bounce later.  

That triggers overdraft fees, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars (soon billions as the internet payday lenders expand) to the banks.  Cha-Ching!

Even when consumers instruct their banks to NOT allow further withdrawals from their accounts (which by law they can do), the banks often take months before they begin following their customer's orders, charging their fees in the interim.

These payday lenders are being pursued by state attorney's generals for charging 500-1,500% interest, so they're moving away from their traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts to places such as Grenada, Belize, Malta, and the West Indies where they operate online out of reach of regulators, plus they get "lawsuit protection and tax reduction."  Nice folks, huh?  And the banks play an instrumental role in this ripoff.  Without their complicity the whole scam is pretty much straitjacketed.

Yeah, yeah, I know....nobody puts a gun to people's head and makes them borrow from these crooks.  And nobody makes addicts buy drugs from pushers, either.  Some people are just desperate, ignorant, easy marks.  These people aren't being served, they're being preyed upon.

And this very minute the banks are lobbying feverishly, asking us to trust them and relax the regulations that keep them in line.  They say they can "self regulate".

So big want us to trust you?  Then quit pulling crap stunts like this.


Sunshine Award

My friend Joe over at Cranky Old Man was just recognized (very deservedly) with the Sunshine Award for his superior blogging talents and his contributions to mankind.  (OK, I made up that last part.)  Suffice it to say this guy's a hoot! 

I also think he's gone a bit daffy as evidenced by the fact that he's passed on The Sunshine Award to me, too.  Whoa....Big Joe....I'm honored.  Thank you!  Now here's the deal:  I have to answer some questions, then pass it on to whoever else I think might deserve it also.  So....

FAVORITE COLOR:  Probably blue.  I don't have any really strong preferences in colors.

FAVORITE ANIMAL:  Definitely dog.

FAVORITE NUMBER:  One.....Hey, I'm a Leo!

FAVORITE DRINK:  Coke Zero, followed by iced sweet tea and beer (with the right food).

FACEBOOK OR TWITTER:  Facebook, and I've only recently found it.  I don't know anything at all about Twitter, except that I don't want to be known as a Twit.

MY PASSIONS:  My wife, family, and just enjoying life.  And football.  And cars.  And airplanes.

GETTING OR GIVING PRESENTS:  Giving.  I want for nothing, and besides, I don't have space for anything else.  I live pretty sparsely.


FAVORITE FLOWER:  The pretty one what has the stickers on it.  They remind me of beautiful women....lovely, but they can hurt you.  Careful!

Now, who to pass this wonderful award on to?  As I've already tagged almost everyone else I know recently, I'm going to spread the wealth and forward this on to Joan Perry at Charleston Daily Photo.  She shares tons of beautiful photos, the great history of her city, and always has nice things to say for everybody.  She's truly a treasure.  

Please go check out my friends Joe and Joan.  (Move over Paul and Paula.  *wink*)


Monday, February 25, 2013

Really interesting (?) stuff right here....

My friend Ellen from Bad Word Mama! has been kind enough to pass on to me the Inspiring Blog Award.  While I never thought of myself as all that inspiring, I'll accept it with sincere appreciation.  The rules are I'm to share with everyone 7 interesting facts about myself, "interesting" being a relative term as you'll soon find out:

1.  I don't have a uvula.  That's the little dangly appendage that hangs down in the back of your throat that keeps food and drink from going up your nose when you swallow.  It was surgically removed to (help) cure me of sleep apnea.  So far I haven't actually shot food/drink out my nose, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

2.  When I was still in middle school I was on the Friday Night High School Football Roundup on WFAA radio in Dallas.  My part was a 2 minute synopsis of the Garland High School game that week.  I'd attend the game, take notes, then be on the radio about 20 minutes after the game was over.  It was all done over the telephone....they never knew I was only 13/14 years old.

3.   I was once invited by the US Navy to fly 60 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico and experience a landing and later a launch off the carrier USS Forrestal.  I'm officially a "tailhooker".  (I know....sounds kinda pornographic, huh?)

4.  While I built mega-big, mega-expensive homes, K and I live in a small apartment and love it. I'll probably build us another home some day, but it will be small....maybe 1200 sq ft max.  Anything more requires too much upkeep.  Truthfully, I'm just too lazy to take care of any more than that.

5.  I met my wife online. True!  Svetlana and, wait....wrong website.  Kelly and I met on the now defunct JournalSpace.  She posted a question that I just happened by at that exact moment and answered for her.  A few seconds earlier or later and we would have been like two ships passing in the night.

6.  When I was at Texas Tech I read in a magazine that Vasser, then an all-girl school, was admitting a limited number of males on a trial basis.  I wanted to apply but didn't have the application fee they required, probably set high just to keep all us horny/poor guys away.  (They obviously wanted only horny/rich guys.)  I wound up taking a course in the School of Home Economics at Tech because the f/m ratio was 44-4.

7.  My brother did some family genealogy recently and traced our ancestors back to Scotland.  It seems we're descended from some guy who was an Earl or Baron or something like that back in the 1600's.  I'm pretty sure our branch of the family tree was pruned back to a knot centuries ago.

Hey....wake up!  Now I'm supposed to pass on the award to up to 15 others I find are interesting/inspiring in one way or another.  So TAG, you're it....inspire me:

Betina at Thoughts From My Corner of the Couch

Stephen at The Chubby Chatterbox

Dana at Bug's Eye View

PT at PT Dilloway

Jim at Suldog

Old Geezers Out to Lunch

Joe at Cranky Old Man

Bruce at Oddball Observations

Kelly at Delightfully Ludicrous

Lori at Simply Wizardress

Bethany at Bethany Illustrated

Dorrie at Westy's World

Fin at Fin Former Curmudgeon

Doug at The Voice Inside My Eye


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Laissez les bons temps rouler

I returned home yesterday afternoon from the hospital after giving birth to my new granddaughter (it was exhausting!) in time to take K out for our traditional Friday Date Night dinner out.  It was cool (40's) and so we thought some gumbo and a brew from the Big Easy* might hit the spot.  We nailed it.

This place is a simple, New Awlins style dive.  If you're ever in New Orleans and you want some good food, forget about Antoin's and Commander's Place and such.  This is the kind of place you want to look for.  Beer signs on the wall, sagging ceiling, a variety of different hot sauces on every table, well worn chairs that wobble a little....

K had the shrimp and fried green tomato poboy and I had a delicious bowl of seafood gumbo.

On the drive back home I started thinking about the New Orleanian (?) lifestyle.  I've been there many, many times and have a love/hate relationship with the place.  It's one of the dirtiest, nastiest places in America.  Official corruption is rampant and open, the roads are horrible, and the French Quarter is a tourist trap.  It's a very poor city.

That said, the people are among the nicest anywhere.  And here's what struck me when I thought about it:  Despite all the negatives I mentioned above, they're a happy lot.  If you ever visit there and leave hungry, it's your own fault!  There's no better cuisine anywhere.

They've learned how to take ingredients that are plentiful and cheap....local seafood, mud bugs (crawfish), potatoes, onions, corn....and make a feast of it. 

Bring out a zydeco and they have a party.  

Enough music and a street to dance in and they call it a Fais Do Do.

My point is, these people know how to enjoy life.  They seem to be able to make the most of what they have, regardless of their circumstances.  Treat them with respect and they'll welcome you with open arms.  It's just a fun place.

Most of us here in Yuppieville seem to need to get out and be seen, spending money we don't have in order to look good, buying things we don't need, thinking this will somehow make us happy.  I think we're trying too hard.  We should look at our friends in Louisiana and learn how to have fun.

I know where to find the gumbo.  Now, who has a zydeco?  


*Big Easy is the nickname for New Orleans.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy day!

This morning at 8 am my daughter Andrea gave birth to her first child (my fifth grandchild), Reese Mackenzie.  She was a little early and a little light (6 lbs 6 ozs, 19" long), but both mom and baby are doing just fine.  I'm thinking a little celebration might be in order tonight.  :)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A battle of wills....

K's dog "Little Fucker", aka Luke, is going to school starting in about a month.  I swear he has that Napoleon "little man" complex thing.  He wants what he wants when he wants it and if you deny him he pesters you unmercifully.  Bark, bark, run, can't catch the little fucker (hence the name).  We have to team up on him to corner him.  That's gonna change!  Luke and I are going to a group dog obedience school (an hour a week for 6 weeks) where they'll teach him to sit, wait, come, etc.  

Domineering as he is, we'll probably graduate with him having me on a leash, trotting me across the stage to the applause of friends and family. 


The wealthy West Texas rancher was having a huge ranch house built on his property. One day he was talking to one of the Hispanic bricklayers and he asked, "You have any property, little fella?" 

The mason said, "Yes sir, I do.  I have about 3 acres. I grow corn and have more than enough to make all the tortillas me and my family could ever eat.  Life is good.  How about you, Senor?  How much land you got?"

The wealthy rancher said, "Lemme tell 'ya, spread is so big, I can get in my truck in the morning, drive all day, and by sunset I can't even make it to the other side of my property."

The Hispanic bricklayer replied, "Yeah, long time ago I had a truck like that, too."  ;)


Have a great day everyone.  Only one more day until....


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Just rambling....

So if texting while driving is dangerous (and it really is) then why do cops use their in-vehicle computers while driving?  Isn't that essentially the same thing?  I'm sure it's probably prohibited by official policy, but I know first hand they do.  I've gone on police "ride outs" and seen them do it.  Just wondering.


Oh no!  Apple has been hacked.  Apple has long bragged their Mac's are immune to the attacks their competitors suffer daily.  Now hackers traced to somewhere in eastern Europe have hit Apple, too.

No! Not my Mac!  :(


To piggyback on something Joe posted on yesterday, here's one of my warranty stories:

Back in the early '70's, right after I graduated college, I went to work for a local homebuilder and also built my first personal house.  After one year and about 3 days, in the middle of summer (naturally), my air conditioning went out.  The service guy said my compressor had gone pfffttt, but that the part was covered by a 5-year warranty.  The labor, however, wasn't.  How much for labor?  About $600.

SIX HUNDRED BUCKS??  He said it was a 2-man, 2-day fix.  They'd have to disassemble everything, replace the bad compressor, and then rebuild it all.

They had everything all figured out.  Sure, I could probably find cheaper labor, but I would then have to buy the compressor, and that would cost more than $600.  They had me over the proverbial barrel. 

I called the president of the mechanical contractor my employer used, identified myself as an employee of one of his good customers, explained my predicament, and asked if he or the manufacturer might agree to cover everything as if it was still within the one year warranty.  He very kindly said he'd "take care of it". 

Now that the labor was on them, too, one repairman came out and had the compressor replaced and everything back in perfect order in about 2 hours.  



Have a great day everyone.  Just two more days until....


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Catch me if you can....

In a post a while back I suggested it was likely that, due to the middle class being so squeezed, more and more people will start working for cash and not report their income, or at least not all of it, to the IRS.  More than a few of you commented my scenario was unlikely.  Consider this:

Here are some statistics from a German university study in 2006 showing the size of the "shadow economy" (% of the economy not reporting income/paying taxes) in a number of advanced western countries:

   Greece                 28%
   Italy                      25%
   Spain                    22%
   Portugal                21%
   Sweden                18%
   Germany              16%
   UK, Netherlands   12%
   US                          8%

(There are other more current studies, too, but this one was the easiest to pull numbers from.)

Closer to home let me share a few actual examples I have personal knowledge of:

Last year (2012) I was approached by a guy who owned a specialty grocery store about building him a house.  He wanted to pay me $200,000 in cash and then have the balance documented on a sales contract.  This would make it look like the house cost $200,000 less than it actually did.

I suspected he was skimming cash from his business and needed to burn it off, and/or he wanted to claim his house cost less than it actually did for property tax purposes.  I wanted nothing to do with him and declined.

Today his house is being built by another builder.  Is that builder working under the same terms I was offered?  If he is, is he going to report the $200,000 in cash he received?  I don't have answers to these questions, but the opportunity to cheat is certainly there.

I have a cousin who owns a masonry supply business.  He tells me he has numerous customers who do small brick and stone repairs for individuals on a cash basis only....$200-$300 at a time, several a day....and that's how they pay for their materials, cash.  Do these small one-man operations pay taxes on any/all of this cash income?  I don't know, but I have my doubts.

I know a guy who has a residential window washing business, and he works on a cash basis only.  He quit his full-time career with benefits and made this part-time job his full-time business.  He's single and has no employees.  Whether he pays taxes on his cash income I don't know, but his lifestyle suggests he doesn't.  Regardless, the opportunity is there to cheat.

I have more examples, but I believe these are enough to prove my point.  I think more people than you might imagine would jump at the chance to screw the government out of some taxes if they could.  Look around and you can probably see similar examples where you are, too.

And these are just the small-time tax cheats.  The big boys don't pay their taxes....legally and with congress' sending their money to low-tax/no-tax havens offshore.  I recently read in the Economist that these havens hold tens-of-TRILLIONS of dollars from all sources worldwide.

Why should you care?  Because what they don't pay, you do.  Sorta makes signing that tax check a bit more infuriating, doesn't it?


Monday, February 18, 2013

I think we've outsmarted ourselves

What is the deal with washing machines today?   Since when does a simple washer cost $1,000 or more?  I bought a Whirlpool high efficiency, high capacity, state-of-the-art model less than 3 years ago and it's now making such a horrendous racket I doubt it will last the week.  It's a piece of crap!  Whirlpool....crap.  Remember that.

I've gone online and found that these things are notorious for bearing failure and dumping transmissions.  The cost to fix is more than the washer is worth, plus it's likely it will do the same thing....same factory parts....within another 2 or 3 years.  Extended service warranties are usually just a cash cow for the manufacturers so I never get them.  This is one time I wish I had.

Remember the day when you'd buy a Kenmore washer and dryer (made by Whirlpool) and they would last 15-20 years with minimal, usually do-it-yourself maintenance?

I certainly don't remember mom looking like this!  (And if Donna Reed had been my mom, I guarantee I would have noticed.)

Think about it....all it does is jump up and down for a while, then spin round and round for a while.  (The washer, not mom.)  Big whoop.  You'd think they would have perfected them by now.

I've gone to Consumer Reports to get the low-down on which one I should buy next, but looking at the customer reviews, even for the highest rated models, nobody seems too happy with any brand/model.  And if you look at the "how long have you owned this washer" question, most say less than one year.  ONE YEAR?  Really?  They can't keep a $1,000 washer glued together for a year?  *shaking head*

I think I'm gonna take my FIL's advice and just buy the cheapest one I can find.  The more expensive and complicated they are, the more features they have (that nobody uses anyway), the more trouble they are.  A washing machine shouldn't need a "mother board", for cryin' out loud.  They're making these things waaaaay too complicated.  


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Things are looking up!

To me this time of the year is just a huge sports "black hole".  I'll say right up front I'm not a sports (plural) fan.  I'm a FOOTBALL fan.  (And I'd best clarify that and say American football.)  I start to perk up when spring training begins, am on top of the world from September through the January bowl games, kinda coast through the pro football playoffs, then go into hibernation after the Super Bowl.  I really enjoy the Winter Olympic Games because to a Texan winter sports is the epitome of "exotic", but they're still a full year away so there's no sense getting excited about them yet.

I'm definitely a product of my upbringing.  Here in Texas football is King.  Twenty thousand will turn out for a high school football game, maybe a few hundred for a high school basketball game, and less than that for a high school baseball game.  The same ratio probably holds for college sports, too.  Hockey is a northern sport imported here when all the Yanks began heading south 30 years ago, and soccer is here because....well, I have no idea why soccer is here.  Golf for me is a near-death experience.

K has taken the lead on solving our off-season sports dilemma by introducing a new one for us to latch on to:  Rugby.  She chose rugby because last weekend she was channel surfing and there they were...the Northampton Saints VS Gloucester Rugby.  She decided Northampton would be her team because she liked the color of their shorts and T-shirts, and one of their guys flashed his tooth during a post-game interview.  Apparently there's nothing sexier than a guy wearing short shorts and showing off his last remaining tooth.

I must admit I found it to be rather entertaining, too.  They get in a big huddle, throw a f__ked up looking football in the middle, and have at it.  It's like tackle football, only without pads.  Or helmets.  It's not a game for wusses, for sure!

She was all heartbroken when she found out her team wouldn't be on the "telly" today.  But being the avid Northhampton fan that she has become she's following them via streaming live internet (audio only).  Now I've listened to many a football game on the radio, but at least I understood the terminology.  When the announcer said "the quarterback took the snap and ran left on a naked bootleg", I could "see" that in my mind.  

The only thing that made (sorta) sense to me on the streaming live audio rugby game K is listening to was when the announcer said the game was "simmering nicely". they're talking about "attacking".  I can almost see the bloody slobber and protruding bones.  I think I might like rugby!  

It's halftime.  Gotta go make nachos.  ;)