Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It was a very good year...

The consensus from reading other people's Facebook comments, blogs, etc is most people are hoping 2009 is much better than 2008. I personally feel kinda guilty because I thought 2008 was pretty good.

Sports - Jonathan's Giants beat the supposedly unbeatable Patriots to win the Super Bowl. My Arizona Cardinals won their first division championship in 33 years. UK made it to its third bowl game in a row.

Family - My nephew James Brody Strong made his debut into the world on January 23rd. My mom, brother, and father-in-law all had major surgery but all are doing well and had major issues taken care of that will help them in the future.

Jonathan - Jonathan qualified for state in 4x800 and his Ballard Bombers won the Region 1a track championship and finished 2nd in the state. He ran his first 10k and marathon. He was valedictorian of his class and won enough scholarships to cover his entire college education.

Josh - Josh's tennis team had its best season ever and he worked his way to up the 3rd seed on the team. He was part of that region champ track team too. He was selected to the prestigious Governor's Scholar Program for the summer. He also was selected to be part of the media team to cover the October Endeavor Space Shuttle launch. He was MVP of the cross country team.

Donna and I -We celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. Donna accepted the position of co-secretary at Central church of Christ. I ran my first 5k and ran a couple more to boot. We both read the Bible all the way through.

There were some sad things. My cousins Bruce and Larry passed away. The presidential election didn't turn out the way I hoped.

Of course, my investments lost a bundle. But, I am still blessed with a good job, a great wife and sons, a loving family and wonderful Christian brethren. All the money in the world can't buy that kind of happiness..

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Bob Noble Park is known for several things today. Wacinton (the big Chickasaw Statue), the home of the St. Mary Cross Country Invitational, and the annual Christmas light display. If you ask anybody over 30 or so though, they'll probably mention "Funland".

Why am I waxing nostalgic? I was on Facebook and saw a group called "I rode amusement rides at Bob Noble Park in Paducah.". Reading the comments brought a flood of memories back about the old amusement park there.

Riding hand cranked cars around a track. They had a height limit and it was a sad day when I was too tall.

The haunted house where you walked around in the dark most of the time. It was eventually replaced by one you rode in cars to get through.

The helicopter ride where you could move a lever back and forth and make them go up and down.

The lion water fountain where you had to stick your head into the mouth of the lion and speak to get a drink.

The Merry Mixer and the Tilt-A-Whirl. The Paratrooper and the Spider.

My first try at bumper cars. I couldn't even get the car backed out of its spot. I was traumatically affected and never rode bumper cars for years afterwards until I had sons of my own.

My first ride on the Wild Mouse roller coaster (when I got tall enough and old enough). I remember thinking the car was going to fly off into the duck pond. My mom said I looked "pale as a ghost" when I got off.

Riding the Ferris Wheel and always wondering about what it'd be like to kiss a girl when we were at the very top. I finally did even though my girlfriend was petrified of heights. Donna is still scared of heights to this day...

Becoming a Skee-ball master and trying to impress my date by winning a bunch of stuffed animals. We still have some of those at home.

Riding the circular swings and my Cardinal cap coming off and my mom telling how the ride operator caught it to give back to me when we were done.

And our tradition of riding the train around the park as the last thing we did before we left. I imagine I sneaked in a kiss from that same girl when we went through the tunnel...

I saw a video where it had been 20 years since they closed the park and auctioned everything off. I'd loved to have bought that lion water fountain or one of those Skee-ball games... :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

NFC West champions!

I just have to express my extreme happiness in saying "Arizona Cardinals, 2008 NFC West champions!!!!"

The last time they won a division championship was in 1975 when they were in the NFC East. The last time they hosted a playoff game was 1947! I think long-suffering would apply here.

Jonathan said somebody at church accused me of being a front-runner when they found out I was a Cardinals fan. If they only knew... I still have a St Louis Cardinals sweatshirt I wore when I was in middle school stashed safely away in my memories box.

My commemorative t-shirt is already on order from

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Marathon Man

Jonathan finished a very successful running career at Ballard Memorial this past spring. He went to state in both cross country and track and was part of the best Ballard Memorial track team ever (they won the Class A First Region and finished second in the state in Class A).

I presume he was looking for a new challenge when he announced this end of the summer that he wanted to run a marathon. The obvious choice was the St. Judes marathon in Memphis in December. He began training and working up to the distance. It turns out that most traning programs don't ever have you run a full 26 miles. The most you run is 20 miles. He worked very hard.

He ran in the Pumpkin Run 10k (6.2 miles) and he finished well (9th overall and 1st in his age range). Of course, this would be nothing compared to the marathon.

We left Friday for Memphis and stopped at the convention center to pick up his packet with his bib, shirt and timing chip. We checked into our hotel downtown and then went to see my brother. He was doing better and able to go home. He still has to have a nurse visit regularly to dress his wound and he has a long road to recovery still ahead of him. We went to dinner with my sister Melissa, my brother-in-law Richard and my almsot one year nephew Brody. We got back to the hotel and rested and went to bed.

We got up and got ready. Jonathan grabbed some food for the race and we walked to the start line. It was cold. The temperature was 31 with a breeze and overcast. We walked around for a while and then Jonathan lined up in his "corral". The runners line up in corrals based on their expected time per minute. They release the elite runners (i.e "really fast") first and then wait two minutes to release the next corral until everybody is off. There are 11,000 runners waiting to run in the half and full marathons so they have to do it like this.

I ran back to the hotel and to the 3 mile marker and waited but I must have missed him. I went back and ate breakfast and went to meet him at the 13.1 mile marker (half way). He gave me the thumbs up and he looked OK. I ran back to our hotel and packed our luggage. Richard tried to come by and get me so we could see Jonathan at 19 miles (by their house). He couldn't get through all the runners in time so I didn't get to see him there.

The race ends in Auto Zone park (home of the Memphis Redbirds the Cardinals AAA club). I went there after loading the car up with our luggage and checking out of the hotel. I waited and finally saw him coming in! He made in 4:01 which wasn't quite his goal of 4 hours but close enough. As expected, he was really tired and hurting a bit. He got himself some food and went out front for me to pick him up. I picked up him up and we headed for home. As you would expect, he slept most of the way home.

He was sore this morning, but happy. I am very impressed at how he set a goal and worked hard to reach it. He's already talking about going back next year and he tells me I need to run the half. I guess I better start working on it soon...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Space Shuttle launch...

Finally, here is footage from the Space Shuttle launch narrated by my favorite news anchor.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Okay, how many of you saw this coming? This picture is of a gas station in Matthews, Missouri (a few miles south of Sikeston) that we stopped at on Thanksgiving Day for gas on the way to Memphis. We were paying right at 4.00 a gallon for gas this summer. I remember getting excited coming home from Myrtle Beach the first part of October and seeing a couple of stations selling gas for 2.99.

I remember people telling me that gas would be at five, six, or seven dollars a gallon by years end. “Experts” said we’d never see gas at less than 3.00 a gallon again. Numerous people, politicians and pundits said the government need to step in “and do something!”

Meanwhile, people started driving less and driving more fuel efficient cars. The price of a barrel of oil plummeted (from almost 150 a barrel to 50 a barrel now) and eventually the cost of a gallon of gas followed. Demand went down and supply went up so prices went down. Econ 101.

To me, this shows the need for patience. Dave Ramsey puts it aptly when he calls us “a microwave society”. We expect things to happen “right now”. I have a big problem with patience. When I lack patience, it generally boils down to my being selfish and thinking I am more important than others. When I do that, I am going against the Christian principle of esteeming others higher than myself (Luke 22:39). Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:9,10 so it is certainly a quality all Christians should possess

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jonathan's happy, I'm not..

Here's why..

Josh was equally happy about this

Of course, this started a brand new argument in the house. Are the Giants better since they have the best record in the NFL at 10-1? Or are the Jets better since they decisively defeated the only undefeated NFL team on the road? Donna finally had to call a moratorium on any NFL discussions til further notice.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Notre Dame Broadcasting Company

Donna and I turned on our local NBC affiliate (WPSD) to watch Saturday Jeopardy. We were greeted with the usual Saturday Notre Dame game. They were playing Syracuse.

I was greeted with the joyful sight of Notre Dame losing in the last seconds. As Hank Hill says on New Year's Day, "It's a good day when Notre Dame loses".

I wish NBC would quit signing these contracts to show all the Notre Dame home games. My understanding is that the current contract goes through 2015. Wonderful.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NFL happiness

This is the first time ever that all of our teams have been in first place in their respective divisions this late in the year (Arizona for me, Giants for Jonathan and Jets for Josh).

The Cardinals can clinch their division this week with a win over Jonathan's Giants and a 49ers loss. Per the online KBSI-TV schedule, this game will be shown in our area this Sunday (although they've switched on us before).

The trash talking has reached new levels. Donna has threatened to make us watch the game in separate rooms and is considering leaving the house for the afternoon. The game is in Arizona so I think they have a chance. Jonathan says the Giants pass rush will destroy the immobile "Old Man Warner"

Such is the NFL...

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Mildcats...

Well there goes all my optimism for the UK basketball season...

You'd think after the Gardner-Webb debacle of last year that UK wouldn't take anybody lightly again. Well tonight proved that wrong.

Kentucky lost their home opener to Virginia Military Institute. Not Virginia or Virginia Tech mind you... A military college with 1500 students. They gave up 111 points. They were down 83-60 at one point and actually managed to take the lead but then committed a bunch of silly turnovers and ceased to play defense (again).

1. Billy Gillespie, could you please look like you care?

2. Patrick Patterson, a player who thinks he'll be ready for the NBA next year has got to put up a better line than 8 points and 7 rebounds. There were several times in the last few minutes when we desperately needed a rebound and someone who thinks he is an NBA caliber player has to get those.

3. A starting point guard (Micheal Porter) cannot put up a line of 1 assist and 5 turnovers.

And it only gets better with a game at No. 1 North Carolina next week....

Space Shuttle Launch Tonight.....

The space shuttle Endeavor launches tonight. This is an especially big deal in the Yancy household because my younger son Josh is there with his multimedia team from school. This explains it better than I could. This is his report for the day from there.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday to me...

Well, I turned 47 on Tuesday. That sure seems like a lot of years. I know I am getting older when I watch UK games and I have a son the same age as some of the players.

I had a great birthday. My day started with a call from Josh in Valdosta Georgia (a stop-off on the way to the Cape Kennedy Space Center). Josh and his friends serrnaded me a rousing version of "Feliz Cumpleanos a ti':. The rest of the day all I did was lay around the house and watch DVDs, surf the internet and play vidya' games. I did manage to leave the house to go eat lunch at Red Lobster with my lovely wife and our good friends Jim and Donna Faughn. I snagged a new pair of running shoes at Shoe Carnival afterwards.

Jonathan went to Sonic to get my favorite Sonic meal (foot long chili-cheese coney with fries) for supper. He even paid for it!

I talked with my mom and my Uncle Reggie who called to wish me a Happy Birthday.

I'd be remiss if I didn't remember that it was also Veterans Day and reflect on all of the Veterans who served this country so we can have all the freedoms we have. I always think of my Papaw on this day. He was a WW I vet and we kinda had a special bond since I was born on Veterans day. He was a big man (6 ft 4 and his nickname was Buffalo). He shared my love for the St. Louis Cardinals. He loved baseball and even pitched in the old Kitty Leagues years and years ago. He always said that is how he met my Mamaw because she thought he looked so handsome when he pitched. She would just laugh.

He fought in France and came home with a damaged leg with shrapnel in it plus bad hearing in one ear because of a shell going off too close. When he was wounded, he had to drag himself back to his base because of his leg. He had a Purple Heart that he always enjoyed showing me and telling about serving his country.

To this day I get a little testy (perhaps too testy) when France refuses to ally with us in international affairs. Our veterans (like my papaw) saved them not once but twice from being a German province.

All in all, it was a very good birthday...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Southwest is best...

I ended up having to switch a travel itinerary for the week of October 26th from Houston to LA (Culver City to be specific) because the Houston class was cancelled. Needless to say, getting a flight of Barkley that late was no good, so I went out of Nashville. The best itinerary to fit my needs was Southwest. I've only flown them one time ever and that was ten years ago so I didn't know what to expect.

I was very pleasantly surprised. First, I had to change to earlier flight on my return trip to get home in time for Josh's Senior Night at the football game (he was being recognized for cross country). I was delighted to find I only had to pay the difference in fare and not the additional 150.00 fee most airlines charge to change flights.

Second, you are able to check in and print boarding passes very easily. Most people probably realize this, but you are seated in the order you check in. You can do this 24 hours in advance. I waited a bit too long because I forgot (I was at a XC meet and was also distraught because of Kentucky's rout at the hand of Florida). I still got in the B group (A is the best, then B and C means you'll probably be sitting in a middle seat). On the day before coming home, I was able to checkin precisely 24 hours before departure and got in the coveted A group. I was able to do that from my Blackberry very easily.

I drove down early and went to the congregation where Adam Faughn preaches (Lebanon Road). He was gone but their youth minister did a very good job filling in. I went to the Young Adult Bible class by invitation (even though I don't really qualify any more). Once that was done, I was at the airport parking lot in 10 minutes.

Southwest's curbside luggage check was quick, easy and free! I just showed my boarding pass and ID and I was out in less than two minutes. No fooling with the ticket counter at all! Also, Southwest charges no baggage fee for the first or even the second bag.

I got through security in less than 10 minutes. I had plenty of time to eat a leisurely meal at the O'Charleys in the Nashville Airport.

When you prepare to board you actually line in a line next to columns with your number on them. I was B 43 so when they called for the B group, I got in line next to the 41-45 column. They take 1-30 first then 31-60. I still managed to snag an aisle seat. Some people don't like this type of first come first served seating. I do like it. I generally have to make my flight reservations weeks in advance or face the risk of getting a middle seat for a long flight. This way I don't have to do that.

On the plane, we got the usual sodas (several times). We also got snacks. Free snacks. Multiple times. On a 4 hour flight, this is really nice.

I came back on Halloween. Most of their gates was covered in Halloween decorations. Numerous employees were in costumes. It may seem corny, but it brought a smile to many of us while traveling.

I read where Southwest is always one of the most profitable airlines. I cannot understand why other airlines (who seem to constantly lose money) don't use them as a business model.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hey 19

Last Saturday (the 25th) was Jonathan's 19th birthday. He didn't want anything big and didn't even specify a gift (so we gave the gift of money).

I'll always remember that day. It was the day I took over one of the most important roles a man can take (after Christian and husband) which was Dad. I remember rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night. Jonathan was born at 11:01am. I remember that first night when we got the bright idea of sleeping in his room. We didn't get any sleep because we got up with every noise he made.

He was the one that suffered the brunt of our mistakes as fledgling parents. He doesn't seem to have suffered too much for it.

He hears all the time how much he looks like his dad. I know he thinks of the opening scene of the Goofy movie where Max has the nightmare of growing up to look like and be like his dad. I'm personally flattered when people say we look alike.

He (and his brother) have that rare mix of intelligence and athleticism. He became one of the few students at Ballard Memorial to go to state in two sports in the same year (cross country and track). It was his first year in cross country and second in track. Now he's training for the St. Jude marathon in December. He was also the valedictorian of his class.

His college is pretty much paid for. He's won several scholarships. In fact he just got another engineering one. Josh says that he is the luckiest person he knows and things just fall into his lap. I'm a firm believer that we make our own luck though.

We have really good conversations about sports (especially football). He is a fan of New York teams (Yankees, Knicks and the Giants). We've seen the Yankees a couple of times and the Giants this year (see my earlier post on that). He is especially passionate about his Giants. He's caught grief about them for several years but he certainly got the last laugh when they beat the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. We've enjoyed a thrill that few UK football fans have. We've seen them win two straight bowl games in person (at the Music City Bowl). The last time they did that was in the early 50s. We're hoping for three this year.

He can make me laugh even when I am not happy. He'll crack a joke or do an impersonation of someone and get me laughing. Or he'll say "It's all good" and that I shouldn't worry about it.

He's a great kid (actually not a kid now) and fine Christian young man. I couldn't be more proud of him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I See Blue...

While we were in Myrtle Beach, Josh set us all up for a campus visit to the University of Kentucky. Monday was the day to go.

I attempted to air up the tires on the mini-van using the air pump that runs through the aux power connection (what used to be a cigarette lighter). It worked for a few minutes then quit. The radio stopped working too as we found out upon leaving. I obviously blew a fuse. We stopped at Calvert to grab breakfast and I checked the fuse panel but didn't really see anything that referred to a fuse for the radio. I didn't want to blow anything else out so we left it alone.

The trip was uneventful after that. We got there about noon. They have a parking garage on campus now so we parked there and grabbed lunch at Fazoli's. We registered and walked around a bit on campus. I still managed to remember my way around.

The presentation was fine with the usual pitch of how great the University was etc. Then, we took a campus tour. We saw various buildings and a dorm room. We got to go the in the student rec center where there was workout equipment, basketball courts, an indoor running track and a rock climbing wall. There were also tennis courts and a pool nearby as well as Commonwealth Stadium.

They also discussed the possibility of getting a technical degree coupled with business courses (as we walked by the business college). Josh was very intersted in that since he plans to start his own tech company.

We stopped in the William T. Young Library. We didn't get to tour all of it (we'd done that with Jonathan before). A special feature of it is that it has retractable and expandable book shelves that allows it to hold more books. In case you are wondering who William T. Young is, he developed Big Top Peanut Butter which was renamed to Jif peanut butter when Proctor and Gamble bought him out. He also raised some horses but I prefer to talk about the peanut butter (which is the only brand in the Yancy household). It's actually manufactured in Lexington.

Josh of course loved the campus. It solidified his desire to go there. He was so excited he talked all the way home (which was good since we had no radio). He even had trouble going to sleep because he was so excited. We've got a deal that if he can get enough scholarship money to pay for everything, he can go all four years there. I'm really not looking forward to that though...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

5k the third

Jonathan and I signed up to run in the Great Pumpkin Race in downtown Paducah (put on by Rehab Associates). Jonathan was to run in the 10k and I would do the 5k again. I was too chicken being afraid I'd finish last.

Josh was running in a high school meet at Marshall County (the Marshall County Invitational).

It was a bit nippy (50 degrees), but we got warmed up and were OK. We lined up at 8 o'clock and took off. I hit the 1 mile point at 7:45 again. I didn't even try to get any water.

They didn't have the people available to announce times after that so I just tried to keep a good pace. As I got to the last stretch, I could see that my time was in the 24 minute range. I managed to finish in 24:48! I couldn't believe it. Jonathan finished in 45:05 (his goal was 50). I knew he'd get an award for his time so we hung around for that.

They started with the 5k and they got to 40-49. I was amazed to hear "2nd place, Stuart Yancy". Jonathan had to push me up there because I was in shock. When I came back, he said "Dad, quit looking so surprised". Jonathan won his age range in the 10k.

We hustled out and go to Marshall just in time to see Josh run. ..

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Myrtle Beach - the finale

We made our annual trip to Myrtle Beach for the yearly family vacation. This is our 11th time to go. We bought a timeshare from Fairfield (looking back I wouldn't do that again but I digress) in 1998. You have a lot of resorts you can use. We picked Myrtle Beach for the first trip and loved it so much we've gone there every year.

This was the first year without Jonathan. Being in college, his fall break didn't line up with Josh's plus it was only two days, so he didn't go. We missed him on the trip.

We left Saturday after Josh ran in the Paducah Tilghman XC Invitational. He ran his best time ever 19:37. We headed out after that. We picked up a rental car in Nashville since it's much cheaper even with parking than renting in Paducah (I'll save my rant about rental cars and taxes for another post). We got to our usual stopping point of Spartanburg South Carolina and checked into the Fairfield Inn to spend the night.

THe next morning, I ran and then we went to Boiling Springs church of Christ. We've gone there for several years on the way there so people know us. We ate at Zaxbys (a place we always go when we can) and headed out. We got to the Wyndham Westwinds and then went to Myrtle Beach church of Christ.

On Monday, we laid in supplies at Wal-Mart. We hung out at the beach for the day then ate sinner at Lone Star Steakhouse. Tuesday, Josh and I went to the Nascar Recepark. They didn't have any of the tracks for older people open. Josh wanted to ride the ones restricted to people with a driver's license but it wasn't open. So, we went to Atlanticus Miniature Golf instead. It's my favorite course. Part is inside and part out. We missed Jonathan. Whenever he had a shot close to the hole, he'd want to go ahead and tap in saying "But, I've got a good shot". We played three rounds and went back to the resort and swam in the ocean. We went to Myiabi Japanese Steakhouse for dinner.

Wednesday, we just hung out at the resort. Josh cooked dinner (bacon and biscuits and gravy). We went to Myrtle Beach church of Christ for Wednesday night Bible study.

Thursday, Josh and I went to Dino's Pancake House for breakfast and got stuffed. Then we went to Magiquest. We've been there several years in a row. If you love role playing games, you'd love this place. You get a wand which you buy minutes for. You can do all sorts of things with it. You can open treasure chests, play games, get information and even fight dragons with it. It's really neat. The wand stores your info and progress, so we bring them back every year to do the new quests they add. When our minutes run out, they have a wizard dueling area that we always do. I actually won once, but Josh whipped me every other time. We went back to the resort.

We went to eat at Fuddrucker's. I generally try to go to these wherever I see them. They have really good burgers plus a bakery/ice cream area which is really good. I got a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. Josh got a chocolate milkshake (one of those made in the metal container that is really two milkshakes). Donna got a hot fudge sundae that was huge!. Needless to say, we were well stuffed. Donna and I took our traditional last night of the trip walk on the beach.

Friday, we got up and finished packing and headed out. The trip out went better than any other we'd ever had leaving Myrtle Beach. We generally hit a massive traffic jam either right before or after Asheville, but didn't this time. We were making such great time that I cancelled our hotel in Newport and we went as far as Nasvhille and stayed there.

We ordered from Ruby Tuesday to go. I was surprised at how good the food was. We used to have one in Paducah and we gave up eating there after a few tries because the service was bad and the food mediocre.

We got up on Saturday and I returned the rental car and we headed for home. We got back around noon.

I'll miss these trips a lot. We made an immense amount of family memories on our Myrtle Beach vacations.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cardinals - Cowboys

I am a long suffering Arizona Cardinals fan. I started rooting for them in 1974 when they were in St Louis and stayed with them after the move. They had really good teams then with Jim Hart, Mel Gray, Jim Otis, Terry Metcalf, Dan Dierdorf, Roger Wehrli, and my favorite Jim Bakken. When they failed to make the playoffs in 1976, I never dreamed they'd only make the playoffs exactly twice (and one of those in a strike season scenario) in the 30 plus years to follow.

I hardly ever get to see them on TV. Therefore, I was glad to see them in the Sunday afternoon nationally televised game on FOX. They were playing the Cowboys an old rival from their NFC East days. Troy Aikman was doing the game though and he (in my mind) is a severe Cowboy "homer".

I've always detested the Dallas Cowboys. The Cardinals used to beat them with some regularity when I was young. Sometimes though, Dallas would pull off wins with the help of bizarre calls. For example, I remember Roger Staubach having been put down on a tackle and sticking his legs up into a Cardinals player trying to jump over him to get a "Late Hit" penalty. Jonathan (being a Giants fan) of course shares my deep dislike of the Cowboys. I get tired of hearing "America's Team". I've found that most NFL fans either love or detest the Cowboys. There is no middle ground.

This is a good slideshow about "Why we love to hate the Cowboys".

The game started out great. JJ Arrington ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. Then, it turned into a struggle. Tony Romo fumbled three times but only one was ruled a fumble. Once he was ruled down "by forward progress" on a sack. The second time, the infamous Brady "tuck" rule was wheeled out. That one cost the Cardinals a touchdown since it happened in the end zone. Romo was already whining and saying and motioning "tuck" before the ball was even recovered. I even had several Dallas fans tell me after the game that they thought these were fumbles.

"I just told the D-line, 'That's America's team, don't expect no calls,' " said defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, who caused both those fumbles.

Dallas tied it up and it was 7-7. The Cardinals fumbled the ensuing pooch kickoff. However, Nick Folk ended up clanging a field goal attempt of the upright (it was the loudest clang I've ever heard on a game) so it was 7-7 at the half.

The Cowboys promptly scored to start the 2nd half. They held the Cardinals and I was starting to worry. But finally, the Cardinals scored to tie the game. I left for church with it 14-14.

I followed the game on my Blackberry and it was 21-14 Cardinals at start of services. I handed my Blackberry to Donna (to avoid temptation).

When worship was over, I checked and the Cardinals had won 30-24! It was an eventful 4th quarter as I later found out. The Cardinals kicked a field goal to go up 24-14. With three minutes left, Romo throws a short pass to Marion Barber which he takes 70 yards to make it 24-21. The Cardinals go three and out and Dallas drives to the Cardinals 40 with 4 seconds left. The Cardinals have a lineman trying to limp off of the field with an injury so Dallas snaps the ball and the refs call him for being offsides! I guess he should have just fallen down and started screaming instead..

Dallas lines up for the field goal and it's blocked. But alas, the refs spotted the Cardinal coach calling a timeout so it must be rekicked. The field goal barely makes it through from 52 yards out and to overtime we go.

Dallas wins the toss and goes nowhere. They line up to punt and the Cardinals Sean Morey raced in untouched and almost took the ball right off of the punter's foot. Monty Beisel recovered and ran three yards for the winning touchdown. It was the first overtime game ever won on the return of a blocked punt for a touchdown.

The Cardinals could have folded up but didn't. I hate to get my hopes up for winning the division and making the playoffs, but I am optimistic for the first time in years.

Monday, September 29, 2008

5K - Part Two

I got up Saturday morning and we got ready to head to my second 5k. This one is for the Paducah BBQ on the River and it put on by United Way. The three of us headed down there, got registered and loosened up to run.

My goal was to get under 27:00. I made sure I didn't hang at the back like at my first run. I got closer to the front. The gun sounded and we were off. I managed to keep a good pace and hit the first mile at 7:45. I grabbed a cup of water and again managed to get it in my nose. I didn't try again.

I actually tried listening to music this time and I think it helped. The fact that the course was flat and the temperature was in the low 60's helped too.

As I got to the last 400m, I see Josh on the sidewalk (already done of course). He yells to me to let me know I am almost done and can get under 26:00!. I rounded the block and could see the clock still showing in the 25's so I tried to turn it on. I saw my lovely wife standing there as well so I was able to finish it out. I made it in 25:42! I was thrilled.

Josh finished at 19:46 (his best time ever) and Jonathan 21:05. Josh got a plaque for finishing first in his age group (15-19 males) and Jonathan got one for second. Josh finished 15th overall (out of 375) and Jonathan 34th. I even made it in 126th.

Josh was so happy it made Donna and I feel great. With me running a PR as well, it was a wonderful race and morning.

If you're going to San Francisco - Getaway Day

My trip home was pretty uneventful, so I'll talk a bit about the hotel and airports.

Hilton Garden Inns are OK, but I am not sure what their Niche is in the Hilton chain. Hampton Inns are the entry level, Homewood Suites are the long stay, and Hilton the higher end. They also have Embassy Suites, Doubletee and Hilton Garden Inn. The HGI has a small restaurant and bar in it but it's not open all day long that I can tell. They have a breakfast buffet plus they'll cook you an omelet or eggs like you want them (like Embassy Suites). The buffet is a bit expensive (8.95 to 9.95) to me. I've never tried other meals there and would never go near the bar. I guess the closest hotel in type would be a Courtyard by Marriott.

I have discovered a new problem with flights in general. Now that most airlines charge for all checked luggage, people carry on more than ever. On every flight I was on (except those leaving and arriving at Barkley), the overhead bins were crammed full. The flight attendants spend a lot of time and effort cramming everything carried in into the bins.

Paducah's airport is very easy to get into and get through security since it's smaller. They have free wireless internet. It's only 10 minutes from my house too. What I don't like is there is only one carrier (Northwest) with three 30 or so passenger flights a day to Memphis. Departures are at 6:30, noon and 4:50. Arrivals are at 10:50, 4, and 8:30. American used to go from there to St Louis, but dropped out a couple of years ago.

Depending on where you are going, it can be hard to get flights unless you make them way in advance or with multiple connections. I occasionally have driven down to Nashville to fly when the options are really bad at Barkley. I hope when the Delta merger goes through, we'll get more options.

The Memphis airport is OK too. All of it is behind one security point which is nice (more on that in a bit). They are a bit limited on restaurants (in my opinion) although they have opened a few more places (notably a Popeye's and a few more Starbucks).

The San Francisco airport is spread out. You have to ride a railway to get to your garages and rental car area and back again when departing. They do have a BART line right to the airport so its conceivable (depending on where you stay) that you could do without a car when there.

On the way back I had to go American from San Francisco to LA (LAX). LAX has separate security points for their terminals. I arrived on American so I had to hike about 10 minutes to another terminal. Their signage doesn't do a good job of explaining that. Fortunately, there are numerous employees all over the place with notebooks of maps who seemed eager to help people find their way. I had a 1.5 hour layover and needed the bulk of that to go through security there (per several of my fellow travelers in line, the security there is always slow). I had enough time to grab a sandwich, chips, water and a brownie which cost almost 17.00!

The rest of my trip went fine (I grabbed Popeyes at Memphis) and caught the last flight home. Donna and Jonathan were waiting for me which was very nice and make me feel important and missed. They took me home and I went to sleep comfortably in my own bed.

If you're going to San Francisco - Day 4

I got up and went for a run on the Bay Area trail which was a few blocks from my hotel. This is a walking/running/biking trail that goes all the way up and down the San Francisco Bay. I went my customary distance and even got to see the sun rise.

I then went ahead into San Francisco on the BART. I had decided I wanted to ride a cable car. Per what I've read, they are one of only two moving National Monuments in the world. There are three lines in San Francisco, so I took the one that would deposit me closest to the place where my training was.

I struck out for the end of the line to maximize the time I rode. I walked up hills for what seemed like forever. I finally gave up and got on. It turned out I had been walking up Nob Hill.

I paid my 5.00 (for a one way ride) and was told I could sit inside or ride on the running board on the outside and hang on. I opted for the latter. It was a somewhat neat ride but I am not sure it was worth 5.00. You are very close to cars and you really have to make sure you don't fall off.

I went to class and we finished up the last day. I took the BART to Market Street. I went into the Ghiradelli chocolate shop (they give free samples). I also went into the Virgin Records store. I hopped back on and went to my car and the hotel.

I drove up to eat at Houlihan's then filled up the car. I went back to the room to watch the season debut of The Office. I packed up and went to bed.

If you're going to San Francisco - Day 3

I managed to sleep a bit later. I headed on in to the city. I ate at McDonalds (my old standby) and attended a full day of class. We ran late and I didn't get back to my hotel til after 6. I hustled out so I could get to Wednesday night services at the Airport church of Christ. After I finally located it, I went to grab what I thought would be a quick meal at KFC. It took FOREVER to get my food. I wolfed it down and headed down the block to services.

Everyone was great. There were several visitors there that had Kentucky ties (two were from Paintsville ). Then I saw Jennifer Davis. She is living there now and is the daughter of my friend Larry Davis (he's the one who told me about this congregation) whose mother Elizabeth attends Central with us. It was really good to see her. I'd taught her in Bible class and she had taught my sons when they were little. She said it made her feel really old to find out they were now a freshman in college and a senior in high school. One of the ministers there had been baptized by my friend Ronnie Whittemore (who preached at Heath when we were there).

It's always cheers me up to find a congregation of loving and friendly people when I am out of town. I'm usually pretty homesick by this point and it is a big help. It's also good to know there are always fellow Christians wherever you are. I know if I had an issue that I could have called people there and they would have been glad to help. I am not very good at being hospitable and welcoming and this helps encourage me to do a better job of that.

I stayed for quite a while then went back to my room and went to bed for the night.

If you're going to San Francisco - Day 2

I got up at 4:30am and couldn't go back to sleep. It was 6:30am back home so I would presume that's the reason. I discovered my ancient laptop would no longer recognize the pcmcia card I had for wireless Internet access so I had to use the hotel business center. I worked a bit and read and then headed to the San Bruno BART station.

BART is the Bay Area Rapid Transit. I had ridden the Metra in Chicago and this is similar. A big difference is how you are ticketed. In Chicago, you buy a ticket and a conductor checks it when you are on the train. On BART, you buy a ticket which you load up with the amount you want. The ticket has a magnetized strip (you are warned to keep it away from cell phones and magnets). You insert your ticket into a slot and it pops out the top and you are admitted to the station. You actually get charged when you leave. If you don't have enough on your ticket to cover it, there are "Add-a-fare" machines to add more to your ticket so you can exit.

The ride was fine. No one bothers you. Most everyone sleeps, reads, or listens to some sort of MP3 device. I got out at the Embarcadero station and located the building where my class was. One thing I discovered was there were coffee shops all over the place. There were TEN Starbucks within a quarter mile of where my training would be. I ended up going to a place called Specialities where I got juice and a large chocolate roll (I never eat quite as healthily as I should on these trips :-)).

I went to class. There was a gentleman from London there. He was quite knowledgable and interesting to chat with. The teacher was good as well. We went right up to 5 (started at 9). I walked to a local Office Depot to get a USB based Wireless network connector then got on the BART at the closet station (Montgomery) and headed back. There were actually BART police on this train just keeping an eye on things. I grabbed the car and went back to the hotel. I was tired of course so I got Chili's to go. I got Baby Back ribs and noticed they hadn't put the Awesome Blossom back on the menu. I rested in the room for the rest of the night. I was so tired I didn't even stay up to watch the season premiere of Law & Order SVU.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If you're going to San Francisco - Day 1

I flew out of Paducah early Monday morning. I got to Memphis and then San Francisco without a hitch. Given that I've had delays in the past several trips that was a blessing.

Once I got there, I got my rental car and headed for downtown San Francisco. Amazingly, I made it just fine. I headed for the Golden Gate Bridge. You can walk across the bridge so I thought I'd give it a try..

It's longer than it looks. It is a 3.4 mile round trip. I made it no problem. You can see Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco skyline.

Then I headed for Pier 39 to see the sea lions. I never dreamed how many were there.

I never dreamed about the smell though... It was to say "pungent".

There was a guy doing magic tricks there. He did a good job juggling fiery sticks. Unfortunately, he managed to throw one on top of his stage and he had to go fetch it.

Finally, I went to see Monster Park (home of the San Francisco 49ers). I couldn't get close pictures though. The security guard wouldn't let me in to take a single picture. When was in San Diego, the guard very graciously let me in to take photos. Not so here...

That was a full day. I checked into my hotel (the Hilton Garden Inn). I went to Benihanas for dinner (good as usual) and came back and went to bed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I left my heart.... in Ballard County

Monday September 15th was the 24th anniversary of a day that set my life (happily) on a drastic change.

I was a fledging programmer at what was called Martin Marietta then (now USEC) and living in an apartment in Forest Hills. I had gone over to my buddy Jeff Lawrence's trailer (known to this area as Dr. Jeff on WKYQ). He asked if I had plans for the next evening. I said no thinking we were going to have one of our regular marathon Trivial Pursuit matches. He says "Well, you've got a date". I was aghast. "I've set you up with someone I work with at Trader's Mart" (Trader's Mart is a long defunct want-ad kind of paper). He told me I had to go because I wouldn't be allowed to hang out at his place the next night so I reluctantly agreed.

The next day, I went with my friends Keith "Corky" Johnson and Jim Hill to Massac State Park. I sat on the bank of the Ohio River looking and thinking "What kind of idiot goes out with a girl he's never seen before?".

The hour approached and I headed out to meet her at Trader's Mart in my 1983 Trans-Am. All I knew is her name was Donna Woods and she'd be in a black Olds Cutlass.

I got there and the car was there. I watched the door open with apprehension. Out stepped the most beautiful brown haired brown-eyed girl I'd ever seen. I almost couldn't speak. I finally said "I'm Stuart, do you want to see my driver's license to prove it?". She actually laughed at my bad joke.

She wanted to go to McDonalds and eat so we did. She had a quarter pounder with cheese and I had a Big Mac. I saw some guys I knew and I think they were in shock when they saw me out with this beautiful girl.

She wanted to see Grandview USA at the Paducah Drive-In. I was glad to go there since I worked there for years each summer until I started working full-time at Martin Marietta. My boss (who recently passed away) Richard Phillips was at the ticket booth. I guess he was so shocked to see with such a pretty date that he let us in free. He also told me to go to the concession stand and get free drinks and popcorn. Donna told me later how impressed she was when I brought out drinks and a large brown bag full of buttered popcorn.

The whole date cost 5.00 (including gasoline). She even shared my frugality beliefs! I was enthralled...

The night went great and she even agreed to see me again.

The next morning as I was getting ready to go to church, my phone rang. The caller introduced himself as the "Ballard County Sheriff" and he needed to talk to me about an incident last night. The girl I had gone out with was from Ballard County. My main experiences with Ballard County were to go to the "Game Preserve" (as my Uncle James called it) to camp with my family and a visit to the "Green Palace" (which was really really Green) to watch Lone Oak play in a district basketball tournament. I remember all the kids there blew duck calls the whole game. Anyway, I thought "Oh man, she didn't make it home and now I am the last one to see her and the main suspect". It turned out that they had picked up a couple of guys I know as they came off the Wickliffe bridge and they wanted me to vouch for their idenities.

For reasons I'll never understand, she kept going out with me. We've been married 22 years. She still laughs at my bad jokes. I've worked at "Martin Marietta" for almost 25 years. We drove that black Olds Cutlass til it wouldn't run any more. I've lived in Ballard County for 16 years now. I still order a Big Mac when I go to McDonalds. And I couldn't be happier....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Giants look good...

This summer when we found out the Giants would be playing in St. Louis, we decided we'd go. They are Jonathan's favorite team and this would be closest they'd be this season. We drove up Saturday night. We braved the elements on Sunday (see the previous post) and headed to the game. There was a huge backup on I-55 North. I finally ended up going the wrong way on a merge ramp to get off. I used my Blackberry 8800's GPS to get around the jam and we got there about 10 minutes late. It was 7-0 Giants when we got there. The Rams kicked two long field goals and Giants matched them for a 13-6 halftime score.

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter (with the Ram's scoring on an acrobatic end zone catch by Tory Holt) to make it 20-13 heading into the 4th quarter.

The Giants ground out a long touchdown drive to take a 27-13 lead. On the next drive, the Giants came up with a game clinching play. Justin Tuck grabbed an interception and ran it back all the way to make it 34-13 and empty the stadium

The Giants tacked on another touchdown for the 41-14 final.

The Giants fans all gathered behind their bench for the last couple of minutes. They were all shouting and cheering and of course Jonathan had to join in the fun.

It was a very enjoyable experience. I did learn that I should check traffic next time before we leave.

The Giants play at Arrowhead next year and we are already making plans to go!

The action shots were taken by Tom Gehrke (my fellow USEC employee and suffering Rams fan).

I don't like Ike...

Sunday morning the latter vestiges of Hurricane Ike swung through our area. Jonathan and I were in Arnold MO preparing to see the Rams-Giants game. When I got up, it was raining so hard I couldn't see across the street. It let up in time for us to go to Arnold church of Christ. Their number was down because of flash flooding and downed trees and limbs. We headed to the game afterwards and by the time we got there, it was sunny.

Donna called me during the game to tell me the power was out at church and they could only have a short service. She said everything was fine at home when she left but when she got back, there were trees down and power out. Somehow we dodged the power outages. My in-laws were not so fortunate. Plus, a large tree fell across the road and into the yard of where Donna's great-great-grandmother used to live. Josh filmed a clip for the daily news at his school.

There was a state of emergency in Ballard County all day Sunday. We stopped at Jackson church of Christ on the way home. They told us they had to worship without power Sunday morning, but all was well when we arrived.

We got to Wickliffe about 8:00pm and I was greeted with a sight I'd never seen before. I've crossed the Cairo bridge at all hours coming home from ballgames. But, this was the first time I arrived when the western part of Wickliffe was totally dark. There are three convenience stores plus a KDOT station there and they are always lit up. It was quite eerie. We got home fine though.

What we had of course can't even compare to what happened in the Galveston area. We should continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers as they recover from the effects of Hurricane Ike.

Monday, September 8, 2008

All alone in first!

I had to post this

NFC West Team W L T Pct
Arizona Cardinals 1 0 0 1.000
San Francisco 49ers 0 1 0 .000
Seattle Seahawks 0 1 0 .000
St. Louis Rams 0 1 0

That's right, Arizona is in sole possession of first place in the NFC West!

This may be the only week all year that happens, so I am basking in the glow of that while it lasts!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Agony and the Ecstasy...

After a stirring come from behind win over the Brewers on Wednesday, the Cardinals were hoping to reel off a streak to win the wild card. Unfortunately, they started the wrong kind of streak and got swept in Houston. They are 6.5 games out of the Wild Card race. It's not looking too hopeful. Of course, if you had told me at the start of the year that Wainwright would miss a couple of months and Carpenter, Mulder, and Clement would not supply a single win between them, I would have thought the Cardinals would be fighting to stay out of last place..

My feeling is they really need to play a lot of their young players to see what to do for next year. They have a lot of decisions to make over the winter. Do we try to resign Lohse, Looper, or Springer? I assume we don't try to do anything with Mulder or Isringhausen. Does Rasmus come up to play next year? Will Duncan ever play again? What do we do with this glut of outfielders? Can we find a middle infielder with a little bit of pop in his bat?

On the very bright side, Kentucky won much more handily than I would have ever thought over Louisville at Papa John's. I actually felt bad for local Tilghman product Hunter Cantwell. Between being pressured all day, his receivers dropped a lot of throws. Kentucky's offense didn't do much better. Their defense scored two touchdowns plus set up ten more points.

Such is the life of a sports fan :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Staying at the Hamptons

No, I am not talking about these Hamptons.

Between visits to Danville to see Josh, Louisville to take Jonathan to Dairy Judging at the State Fair and Nashville with my mom's operation, I've had five separate stays at various Hampton Inns in the past couple of months. Each stay has been really good. I've found that I always get a clean room with a nice bed, cable TV with a lot of channels, and an expanded contenential breakfast. The staff is always very friendly. The people behind the check-in desk are especially nice. In Louisville, I forgot my tootbrush and the lady working the desk (Lisa) gave me a free one with free toothpaste. She was from Ballard County originally (Kevil) so that helps explain her hospitality. In Nashville, Applebees didn't give me spoons for the to-go desserts we ordered (a must for a Triple Chocolate meltdown). Jennifer graciously helped me get spoons from storage even though they were really for breakfast.

Hampton Inn has moved into my top hotels list. My other two top choices are Drury Inns and Homewood Suites.

I plan to post an entry sometime about my likes and dislikes of the various hotel chains I've frequented in my stays.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Awesome Blossom - Chili's Responds...

August 14, 2008

Dear Mr. Yancy,

Thank you for your feedback regarding Chili's.

We are sorry to hear of your displeasure when we removed Awesome Blossom from the menu. It is never an easy decision to delete any item from our menu as we always run the risk of an unsatisfied guest. It is only after extensive testing that our test kitchen and our culinary team makes the decision to remove any item from the menu. We will forward your comments to the culinary team for their review and consideration.

Guest feedback is vital to our success and your comments are important. We appreciate your loyalty as our guest and hope you will continue to frequent Chili's.


Pharisa Smith-King
Guest Relations

Reference Number: 204687

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Awesome Blossom is gone!!!

My son and I went to Chili's while in Louisville. We wanted to get our usual appetizer of an Awesome Blossom. We scanned the menu and it was GONE! I asked our waitress and she confirmed it was no longer available.

I have searched the online menus at several of the Chili's I've gone to and there is no sign of it. From what I can tell in searching the web, it's been removed. Next thing you know, they'll be getting rid of the molten chocolate cake.

Yes, I realize it has a lot of calories and fat. I had one about once every six months and generally split it. I think I can handle that every once in a while. I exercise regularly and generally watch what I eat. I don't think an occasional splurge hurts.

I'll be OK eventually :-)

Wonder what Michael Scott thinks?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Where has all the time gone?

My younger son Josh is 17 years old today. He's starting his senior year at Ballard Memorial tomorrow.

It seems like yesterday when he was born. I remember distinctly him being born during Wheel of Fortune. Dr Owens made the nurse turn off the TV just before the Big Bonus puzzle came up. I never did find out what it was :-)

We've done a lot together. From T-ball, church youth camp, baseball, all kinds of church activities, multiple trips to Myrtle Beach, Cardinal ballgames, soccer, tennis, cross country, track, Academic Team and I haven't even scratched the surface.

We have really good talks about religion, morality, economics/finance, and politics. We agree on most of this stuff (we are both conservatives), but he always comes up with good points that make me think.

He says he is going to major in computer science (despite my best efforts to stop him). He says is he going to win the big UK scholarship and go away next year. I missed him enough for 5 weeks of Governor's Scholar, I can't imagine longer than that.

I wouldn't trade either of my sons or our time together for anything. They've both grown into fine young Christian men with my assistance (or despite it). I am thankful to God for blessing me with both of them.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Slip sliding away?

The Cardinals lost another one run came to the Phillies. They twice had the bases loaded with one out and did not score (in the 8th and 9th).

They are now SIX behind the Cubs. They can't afford to lose any more ground to them.

Hopefully the off day will help and they'll reel off a winning steak.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fancy Farm Photos

Here are pictures of the Yancy men in the Fancy Farm 5k. These were taken by Jonathan Grooms, Carlisle County CC coach and admin of the fabulous web site.



and yours truly...

Cardinals lose...

The Cardinals lost 2-1 to the Phillies last night to fall to 5 games out of first and 1 out of the wild card. There was an extremely curious managerial decision in the 8th. Aaron Miles led off with a single. There was a lhp on the mound so Tony Larussa sent Ceasar Izturis up to bat for Skip Shumaker. He failed to bunt twice then took a called third strike. Joe Mather grounded into a double play and the brief glow of a rally was gone..

The Cardinals ended up playing Adam Kennedy (a 2b) in left field since they had Rick Ankiel unavailable with an abdominal pull and they'd used their only backup outfielder as a pinch hitter the inning before. Fortunately, that didn't hurt them.

Carrying 12 pitchers causes these type of issues especially when you have a player (Ankiel) who isn't on the DL but can't play.

We are under 60 games left, they don't need to give away wins (especially at home) like this.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Survived It....

I made it in about 27:30 (I don't have my official time yet). My goal was 27:54 (9:00 miles).

It was hot. My wife Donna said the heat index was 99 at race time (7:00pm).

I made the mistake of being in the back thinking I'd be slower. I wanted to show good running ettiquette and not slow people down. However, I got hung up behind others for the first half mile. There was a pack of teenage girls I had to get around by running in someone's yard.

I thought I was doing well until Mr. Durfree (the boy's former cross country coach and now Heath coach) passed me while pushing a stroller with his two girls in it. I also managed to pour water in my nose when I snatched my first cup and drank it.

The hill coming back was tough. I managed to keep running though.

Thanks to all the people along the way shouting encouragement. It was very helpful. There were also several kids who encouraged me along the way which I greatly appreciated.

My younger son Josh was waiting with a bottle of water at the end (Jonathan and he had long finished by the time I got there). I had to walk a little bit but I didn't feel nauseous. I talked with Mr. Durfee for a bit and we headed for home...

I'm glad I did it. It was on my list of things to do in my lifetime. I plan on trying another one but I need to work on my stamina for a few weeks.

My first 5k is tonight...

I am going to run in my first 5k tonight (at the home of the World's Largest Picnic). My sons ran last year. They are both excellent cross country runners. I said when they ran this last year that I'd give it a shot this year. So, I am keeping my promise.

The heat index is supposed to be 98! I also hear from several runners the return segment is almost entirely uphill. I hope I survive to post how I did!

I run regulary each day (except on Saturday when my wife and I go for a walk together) so I know I can make it. I don't know how fast though...

My First Entry!

I just keep saying "I need to blog about that" so I've decided to give it a try...

Hopefully, you will find some things of interest on here (and I'll remember to post on a routine basis).