Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Music City Bowl 2009

We were really hoping for Tampa or Atlanta, but still we were glad to get to go the 4th straight bowl Kentucky was in (that's never happened before). I'd been able to get really good seats and Josh was going to go with us for the first time. Clemson worried me though. They missed by five points of going to the Orange Bowl.

I got up about 3:00am and was very dizzy. I went back to bed and felt a bit better. After church, I went home and rested. When Donna and the boys got back (from Parkview singing), I was up to the trip. The guys and I left.

The trip down was fine til we got close to the I-65 interchange and there was a huge traffic backup. Fortunately, I had brought the GPS I got Donna for Christmas. Josh was able to take us on an alternate route to our initial destination - Fat Mo's on Trinity Avenue. For those of you who don't know, Fat Mo's has several locations in Nashville. They serve one of the best burgers around. We got our food to go and headed for LP Field.

We got parked with little incident and set up to wait for the Cat Walk. The Cat Walk is where UK fans line up and shake hands and high five the UK Players and coaches as they exit the bus to enter the stadium. Josh was keeping up with the Jets Colts game he could see on a TV in the Titans store. I got to shake hands with Rich Brooks and see all the players. It was a neat experience.

We then headed for church. We walked to the Central church of Christ congregation in downtown Nashville. I'd never been there, but read about it on-line. We took the Shelby Pedistrian bridge. It's a nice bridge over the Cumberland River and we walked about a mile to get there. The brethren there was very nice and we had a great time singing praises to God (it was their monthly singing night). Josh snatched my Blackberry right after services to check the Jets score. Turned they'd won after Indy pulled its starters. We walked back to LP Field and were in plenty of time for the kickoff.

It was cold! The air temperature was in the upper 20's and with wind chill lower 20's Our seats were fabulous, 50 yard line, front row, right behind the UK bench. The stadium was not nearly full but was easily 80-90% UK fans. Kentucky held Clemson on the first drive and then drove down and scored a TD. Little did I know that would be the offensive highlight of the game for them. They held again and drove to the Clemson 29, but a loss and a sack forced a punt. Clemson scored on a 30 yard play action TD pass to tie things up. Kentucky drove down into field goal range and Lonas Seiber came through to make it 10-7. Clemson scored a TD before the half to make it 14-10.

Kentucky started the half with another field goal to make it 14-13. The teams traded field position for the rest of the half. Clemson missed a field goal into the wind. Kentucky had several decent drives stall after they crossed the 50. Finally, the game hinged on a key play late in the fourth. A Uk receiver fumbled a short pass around the UK 20 and Clemson drove it in in a few plays to make it 21-13. Kentucky then mounted a drive which stalled around the Clemson 45. They sent their punter Ryan Tyldacka on to punt. We couldn't believe they were doing this on a 4th and 3. Then, lo and behold he takes off on a fake and gets the first down. Poor guy got nailed though and he looked very woozy walking to the sidelines. I'd seen him practicing taking long snaps and taking off running, but I thought he was just trying to stay warm.

UK got to 4th and 8 and Morgan Newton took off on a scramble. He got about 7 and half yards. Clemson got the ball back and ran out the clock and UK's bowl winning streak was over. It was a good game, the wrong team won. We got out to the car and cranked the heater up. Josh said his feet were frozen. We got home about 1:45am. We had a lot of fun together even with the loss. I found out CJ Spiller got the MVP which I didn't really understand. He had an OK game, but these seemed more like a popularity award (since he's their most well known player). I'd have given the award to the Clemson defense.

What's up for next season? This question looms even larger now when I found out Coach Brooks said after the game he was "80% sure he was retiring". There will be a three QB battle between Newton, Mike Hartline (who did OK until getting hurt on a dead ball in South Carolina) and young redshirt QB named Ryan Mossakowski. They've got to find somebody who complete passes downfield. Clemson just kept playing up tight on defense and UK couldn't get around them. Most of the offensive line graduates and the defense loses standouts Trevard Lindley, Micah Johnson and Corey Peters. Top running back Derrick Locke should be back (he's having his draft status evaulated though). It's be an interesting season next year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Marathon Man (and a half)

After last year's run in the St Jude's Marathon, Jonathan wanted to give it another go this year. I agreed finally to run the half marathon. We both spent the summer and fall training. I was as ready as I was ever going to be.

We left on Friday. We picked up our rental car and headed out. We got to Memphis with no problem even dodging the heavy traffic coming into town for the most part. Donna dumped us out at the Cook Convention Center to pick up our race packet. The packet contains your bib (race number to pin to your front) and a D-tag. What's a D-tag you might ask? It's a disposable piece of technology that tracks you through the trace as you pass over certain points. You loop it around the laces of your tennis shoe. It's pretty neat.

We went down to check in to our hotel. Donna and I stayed at the Residence Inn Downtown. I've stayed there several times (including last year's marathon) and always liked it. The man at the front not only unloaded our car but brought our bags to the room and valet parked our car. We felt like real VIPs. We put Jonathan in the Doubletree Hotel. It's right next to the finish. We walked to his room and checked him in.

We ended up going to one of our favorite places to eat (Chili's). I really wish we had one of these in Paducah. I made sure not to over stuff myself. We came back to our respective hotels and I spent most of the night simply resting and trying to hydrate myself for the race the next day. I went to bed early (9pm).

We got up about 6 the next day. It was cold (28) but clear. I went and grabbed some toast and a banana for breakfast. That's my usual long race day breakfast. I got my racing clothes on and we called Jonathan so he'd be ready. We went to the hotel to meet him. We walked down to the start of the race near the Fed-Ex Forum (home of the Memphis Grizzlies).

You get in corrals based on what you think your per mile time will be. Jonathan lined up in number 5 and I got in number 6. My goal was 2:10 and his was under 4 hours. It hit 8 o'clock and they started releasing each corral a few minutes apart. After a few minutes, I was off. They have pace teams holding up signs with marathon finishing times. I got behind the one with 3:55 on it. After a few miles, I actually got hot in my gloves and hat. Donna was waiting to cheer us on at mile 3, so I tossed my hat and gloves to her.

I kept the pace up really well for the first 9 miles or so. The only issue was with water and it isn't the one you'd think. The general practice is once a runner drinks the water in his cup, he drops it and any remaining contents on the pavement. It was so cold, the water started freezing and making large slippery patches. I took a gel packet at 9 miles (chocolate) and it gave me a bit of a boost. But still, my pace fell off the last few miles. It was a welcome relief to turn onto the final street leading to AutoZone park. AutoZone Park is home to the Memphis Redbirds (the St Louis Cardinals AAA team). I managed to kick a bit as I entered and ran along the warning track to the finish line. I had made it. Donna was there to greet me. They have food at the end and even being around 10, I had some pizza.

We went to Jonathan's room for me to rest. My sister Melissa called and said she had just missed Jonathan at mile 19 (very close to where her family lives). He was keeping a good pace, so we went back to wait for him. It was a thrill to see him come around at about 3:50! He ended up with a 3:51:06 which was over 10 minutes faster than last year for him. He was of course, exhausted and we had to walk him up to his room at the Doubletree. Fortunately, it as only a block away.

We spent the next hour yelling at the TV for the UK-North Carolina game. UK held on to beat them for the first time in 5 years. Donna got Jonathan food from the TGI Fridays downstairs and we went back to our room to rest. We went out later that night to Huey's and I got a big burger and fries to try and refuel. We also heard the sad news that a young lady died after running the half marathon. It was the first time that had ever happened at the St. Judes run.

Donna and I ended up going out later to my with my sister and her husband and my young nephew Brody. We had a lot of fun visiting with them but finally came back to the hotel to rest. Jonathan needed more food so we stopped at Taco Bell on the way and got him more food. I finally went to sleep about 9;30pm. We got up and checked out and went to worship at the Getwell church of Christ (they publish the Spiritual Sword). Everyone there was really friendly and we enjoyed it. We stopped in Blytheville on the way home and ate at Zaxby's. We got home without incident.

It was a really neat weekend. I found I beat my goal by quite a bit and I ran a 2:00:01. I wish I'd have known to kick a bit harder to get under 2:00. That'll be my goal for the next half. We're trying to line up our next race and already are making plans to run in Memphis next year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bowled Over....

Kentucky lost its 25th straight game to Tennessee last night. They were in good shape in this one. They were up 21-14 at the half, but their offense absolutely went south in the 2nd half. The freshman QB Morgan Newton as we say in the south "couldn't hit the broad side of a barn". Even with all that, Kentucky recovered a UT fumble with 3:00 min to go on the 37. Randall Cobb drove them to the Tenn 10. Then for some bizarre reason, UK went back to Newton. A draw and a QB run by Newton made it 4th and 2 at the 5. I pleaded with Coach Brooks to put Cobb back in and ran the Wildcat for the win. I knew the UK defense was worn out and couldn't hold up in OT and I had no faith in our offense to score again. UK kicked a field goal to tie and the game went into Overtime. UK lost 7 yards and missed a long field goal. UT reached the end zone in three plays to win 30-24.

That is the 2nd game where UK could have used Cobb at the end of a game and didn't. Cobb is the best play maker UK has, I don't understand why you wouldn't put the ball in his hands in crunch time.

Anyway, UK lost a chance to tie for 2nd in the SEC East to a tie for 4th. They would have most likely been in the Outback Bowl in sunny Tampa. There are now FIVE 7-5 teams in the sec now. Alabama and Florida will be in the BCS, one in the championship game and one in the Sugar Bowl. LSU will end up in the Capital One Bowl because of the Ole Miss loss to Mississippi State.

Now it gets interesting. Normally, Ole Miss would go to the Cotton Bowl, but they went they last year. I would target Tennessee for the Outback Bowl. It's not inconceivable they could swap. Then, with all those 7-5 teams, it makes it a challenge to pick the next teams. My guess would be Georgia in the Chick-Fil-A bowl since it's in Atlanta. The next tier would be the Music City Bowl and Liberty Bowl. They went to the Liberty last year plus that game is on January 2nd when the UK-Louisville basketball game is. Music City is on Sunday night, so if they go to that, I'll have to miss the start of the game. The next game in the list is the Independence in Shreveport Louisiana followed by the PapaJohns.com in Birmingham Alabama. The PJ bowl is on the 2nd as well though so it's probably out of the question.

I'm thinking UK will end up in Nashville for the 3rd time in 5 years and if not there, it'll be the Independence. We'll find out Sunday.

Traffic Jam...

When I go to training classes (in much larger cities than Paducah), I invariably get in discussions with classmates about work commutes. Many of my classmates end up driving over an hour to work because of a) distance (can't afford housing in the city) and/or b) traffic jams. I tell them I have a less than 15 minute drive to my employer (USEC). The only traffic jam I run into is when a farm implement is moving down the road or a cow gets loose.

Last night, we were coming home from Paducah and ran into a line of traffic on Hiway 62 west. That usually means a wreck of some type. Several police cars and vehicles passed us and we were finally allow to proceed to a side road for a detour.

This is the story and photo from the Paducah Sun. One of the perils of living in the country...

Wreck blamed on spilled soybeans
Teen driver skids on US 62 grain

Katie Fostevold, 17, of Bardwell was treated at Lourdes hospital Saturday night after her car “hydroplaned” on spilled soybeans on Blandville Road, hit a tree and burst into flames.

“She was trapped and screaming as smoke filled the car,” said Concord Fire Chief Bob McGowan, the first person on the scene. The driver was able to breathe because her side of the car smashed into the tree and its windows were broken, McGowan said.

McGowan said a few residents tried to extinguish the fire by carrying pans of water from their homes. McGowan used a large carbon-dioxide extinguisher from his vehicle to suppress the fire until fire crews and truck could arrive to extinguish the car’s flames.

“They essentially saved her life,” McCracken County Deputy Chad Shaw said.

Three other teenagers — Katie’s sister Amy Fostevold, 17, and Justin Cotton, 18, both of Bardwell, and Chris Polivick, 17, of Arlington — were in the car. All three were out of the car by the time McGowan arrived, he said.

The three passengers were treated and released at Lourdes. No condition information was available on Katie Fostevold.

At least 500 bushels of soybeans had spilled onto Blandville between Fisher and Gholson roads because a latch on a truck carrying the load was not secured, Sheriff Jon Hayden said.

“When the truck turned west onto Blandville Road from Fisher Road, the load of soybeans spilled onto the road,” Hayden said. “The truck driver was not aware” that the latch on the truck was not secured, Hayden said. As much as 4 inches of soybeans covered the road.

Fostevold was driving west on Blandville when her car skidded on the soybeans, veered over the center line and almost collided with oncoming traffic. She swerved back to the right, spun, left the road and smashed sideways into a tree, McGowan said.

Traffic came to a stop at Childress Road, and deputies set up roadblocks at Massac Church Road to reroute westbound traffic.

The Kentucky Highway Department cleared the road by using a snowplow equipped with sweeper brushes to push the soybeans to the side, spokesman Keith Todd said.

“We usually try to keep that kind of equipment available during the holiday travel season because it might be needed at a roadside accident,” Todd said.

Crews were able to clear the road by 8 p.m., about three hours after the wreck occurred.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Josh hasn't been home since he headed off to UK for his freshman year. We've been up there a few times to visit. We looked forward to him getting here. He said that he'd be home Monday night or Tuesday depending on what he could work out with his professors.

Sunday morning, I got up and prepared to run. As I looked out our computer room window, I saw a car in the driveway. Upon closer inspection, it was Josh's. I presumed that one of his friends drove it home for him. Donna then said "His bedroom door was shut!". At this point, we ran to his bedroom and found him asleep in his bed. Turns out he left work and just drove home on Saturday night getting there about 11:30pm. I hadn't even been asleep that long (I stayed up listening and reveling in this). Jonathan was in on the secret (which is amazing since he is usually terrible at keeping secrets). It was so good to see him. I hated to leave but I ran and got back as quick as I could.

When we got to church Sunday morning. He said one of the big reasons he headed home early was so he could go to church at home. What a great thing!

Donna never looked so happy doing somebody's laundry in all her life.

I should have remembered Occam's Razor when I saw the car..

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sighing over the Cy...

I am sure that you know by now that Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young award over two very deserving Cardinals (Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright). Needless to say (as a Cards fan), I wasn't really happy.

This was one of those years that it seemed like Lincecum was given the award before the season started (kinda like happens with the Heisman trophy). I'll admit he looked awfully good against the Cardinals when I saw him pitch this summer. He did fade down the stretch while the Cardinals pitchers got better. He led the league in strikeouts and tied for shutouts (with Joel Pinero of the Cardinals). That's it. He was 2nd in ERA but tied for FOURTH in wins. Wainwright won 19 games (most in the league). He should have gotten his 20th. I personally witnessed that debacle when he left with a 6-0 lead only for the bullpen to give up 12 runs and lose it. He also lead the league in innings pitched. Carpenter led the league in ERA (by almost a quarter of a run). He was 2nd in the league in wins behind his teammate despite missing over a month of the season. He led the league in winning percentage.

There were two bizarre votes cast. Keith Law who is with ESPN and out of Boston actually got to cast the Atlanta vote (the Atlanta Consitution doesn't allow their writers to participate). He left Carpenter completely off and voted for Javier Vazquez very conveniently of Atlanta as 2nd. An Arizona writer (very conveniently again) put Dan Haren of Arizona in as his third choice. BTW, Wainwright was voted the Outstanding pticher in the NL by the players (the Player's Choice awards).

I guess it didn't really occur to me you only get to vote for 3 pitchers. I know for MVP, you vote for 10. I don't know why that doesn't happen with the Cy Young. I've heard all sorts of stats quoted as to why Lincecum should have gotten the award. I love math and stats, but I think this is very overanalyzed.

But then, I think of the old Peanuts cartoon where Lucy is giving Charlie Brown all these stats about why their team is terrible. Charlie Brown finally tells her "Lucy, tell your statistics to shut up".

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random thoughts

I haven't had anything happen in the last few weeks to merit a full blog entry. Therefore, here are a bunch of random thoughts.

  • I've seen UK's football team play twice this year. They look OK, but they are nowhere hear upper SEC eschelon yet. However, they could easily be 8-2 and a top 25 team if they had not blown games to South Carolina and Mississippi State.

  • UK is bowl eligible. Unless they pull an upset in the next two weeks, it's looking like the Independence Bowl in Shreveport (and a long drive). I've read UK wouldn't want the Liberty or Papajohn's.com (yes we've come to that in names) since they are on January 2nd. Uk plays UL on that date and it's like the Super Bowl of Kentucky.

  • Arizona looks like two different teams. They win on the road and lose (to SF and Carolina) or almost lose (Houston and Seattle) at home. This is a complete reversal from last year.

  • The New York Giants have collapsed. They should have won their last game but not being able to score a TD when they ran an INT back to the San Diego 4 yd line near the game's end bit them. I hate it for Jonathan because of the abuse he gets, but you take the bad with the good as a diehard fan.

  • I've eaten at the K-Lair twice this year. It's pretty good and reasonably priced. I'd recommend it if you go to a UK Football game. Its ironic that I never went there the whole time I went to UK.

  • My wonderful wife sat through an entire football game with me. It was the first date I ever took to a UK game.

  • I would have never thought she'd be so into sports now when we first got married. Last Sunday, I heard someone say from the living room "That's not a catch!!". Who would have ever dreamed that would not be Jonathan or me but Donna..

  • I watched more NFL football last Sunday than I had in a long time. Two observations. One, it's a rare punt return that doesn't get called back for a penalty. Two, it's seemed like any time a receiver didn't catch a pass, he was pleading for pass interference. It's like a batter thinking any pitch he takes is automatically a ball since he didn't swing.

  • The beltway around Lexington is still called New Circle Road. It was called that when I lived in Lexington. Still haven't located Old Circle Road.

  • Went to BD's Mongolian Restaurant in Lexington. It was excellent. You load up as much meat and veggies as you can in a bowl and they cook it for you and give it back. You can put it over rice or in a tortilla. It's great.

  • We went to Stone Cold Creamery afterwards. I should learn that even it's only a dollar more for the huge size than the small, I need to resist the temptation.

  • The same lady has been cutting my hair now for over 25 years. I told her that she cannot ever retire because I don't think I can ever get someone to cut my hair as well as she does.

  • We've been taking our cars to Mansfield's for over 20 years now. They do a great job and are reasonable in their pricing. I don't know what I'll do if they ever close.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Big Hardee and Sherlock Holmes..

I imagine you are wondering the connection between those two. Read on and see.

I was in the Kentucky Oaks Mall area at lunch. I saw on the Hardees marquee that the Big Hardee combo was available for 3.99. You've no doubt seen their commercials about how great it is and how it puts the Big Mac to shame. I am a Big Mac guy. That is my standard order at McDonalds. I ordered it on my first date with Donna. Jonathan orders it now. You can say what you want about McDonalds, but I have always found that I consistently get a decent meal from one no matter where I go.

I ordered the Big Hardee and let me tell you, it was more disappointing than I even thought it would be. First off, it looks NOTHING like the ads. I looked at what I got and looked at its picture on the menu board. It didn't even resemble what I had. The burgers do not reach the edge of the bun like the picture showed. I didn't even get a bit of burger on my first bite. The burgers aren't that great, the sauce wasn't as good as a Big Mac's, and it had too much lettuce. I won't be switching.

I got home and settled down to watch Superman - Batman:Public Enemies on DVD (we'd Netflixed it). One of the trailers was for the new Sherlock Holmes movie with Morton Downey Jr. To be honest, I was already a bit concerned about him playing Holmes (although he did OK with Iron Man).

I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan. I've got all the books. I read the first group of adventures when I was young and thought he'd died in the "The Adventure of the Final Problem" only to find out he came back from that to be in even more adventures (which I promptly gobbled up). I've read and re-read them. They are among my favorite set of books (right up there with Mark Twain and Jules Verne).

Well, watching the trailer just disappointed me again. He doesn't play Holmes anything like the books. There also appears to be a love interest for him. Any Holmes fan knows that NEVER happened in the books. The only woman he really respected was Irene Adler (in "Scandal in Bohemia"). The books concentrated on his keen analytical deductions of mysteries and even had some excellent adverture scenes in them. This trailer just left me with a bad feeling in my mouth.

That's two disappointments in one day. Hopefully, Kentucky beats Mississippi State tonight..

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

No Respect...

Interesting quote from Kurt Warner when asked about if the Cardinals felt they got enough recognition after their Sunday night win over the Giants.

You know, I don't think a lot of people care about it but... there's always a part of you that want people to recognize what you're doing, and you want them to recognize the things that you represent. And that's one of the things that I don't think we get enough of. And yeah, maybe rightfully so that we haven't had a lot of success here so you understand it. ...I watched some highlights on ESPN yesterday, and they didn't show a single offensive highlight of the Arizona Cardinals when they talked about our game. It was all focused on the Giants and granted we made some plays in there, but it just continually amazes you that after the success we had last year and going to the Super Bowl, that we still don't get very much national recognition. ...People continue to think of us, I think as a second rate team and organization, and that's what we want to change and we want to make sure you know the guys in that locker room, that we get the credit that we deserve for the football that we're playing.

He's right about "we haven't had a lot of success here". Being a Cardinals fan for almost 35 years, that's an understatement. Also,(in my opinion), ESPN has a severe East Coast bias. Granted, I only see ESPN when I am out of town, but that is what it looks like to me. I jokingly tell Jonathan during baseball season that it ought to be called RSYN (Red Sox Yankees Network). He just laughs and says "They just talk about the best team (his Yankees) and you're just jealous".

Kurt, just keeping using these kinds of things to keep you and your teammates motivated...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weekend at Lexington

Our last trip to Lexington was over Labor Day holiday. We've kept in touch with Josh via Email,Texts, and Skype but we still wanted to be with him in person. We'd picked out the weekend of the 24th of October for several reasons. The main was that the North Lexington congregation was having a Ladies Day that Saturday and Donna wanted to go to that. UK was to play Louisiana Monroe in football as well and I managed to snag a really good seat. So, we went up last weekend.

We left Friday and made it without incident. We ended up staying at the Hampton Inn in Georgetown (about 20 minutes north of Lexington). It was much cheaper (the hotels in Lexington raise their rates on football weekends). Plus, we were more isolated from raucous celebrators (if you get my drift). The hotel was nice like most Hamptons I've ever gone to are. We checked in and went to meet Josh at his dorm.

He came out and we exchanged hugs and greetings. We had brought up a supply of Hot Pockets in a cooler (Josh and his roommate eat them a lot). Josh took the cooler into his dorm and was stopped by the attendant who made him show him what was in it. I never thought of how that might look (bringing in a cooler) but I am actually glad that they are conscientious enough to check there.

Josh then took me to the "Underground". The Underground is a workout area underneath the dorm next to Josh's. They have machines and free weights plus treadmills and the like. Josh and I worked out together. He showed me how much stronger he'd gotten (he goes regularly to stay in shape) plus some variations on some upper body work I'd been doing. I survived it but was sore the next evening.

We then went to the hotel and to Ruby Tuesday's to eat dinner. Josh ordered a steak and we split a dessert. I was happy to find out they served Coke Zero. We then went to Wal-mart to lay in supplies for him. We went back to the hotel and I helped him a bit with some C++ programming. Finally, Josh just crashed out and we did a bit later as well.

The next morning, Donna left to take Josh back to his dorm and then she would go on to Ladies Day. When Josh got to the parking log where his car his (Commonwealth Stadium), they were already towing cars. One of the stipulations for that lot is you have to have your car out on Saturdays when there are UK football games. Josh's car had orange tape to be towed, but fortunately he got his car out just in time. He parked at a friend's house, then Donna took him to his dorm. Donna went to the Ladies Day and really enjoyed it. Shelia Butt spoke on "Sisterhood" and Donna got a lot out of it. I spent the day at the hotel on the treadmill, then doing some Bible reading and finally watching a DVD I had Netflixed and hadn't had a chance to watch (Wolverine - X-men Origins).

Donna got back and we drove to campus. We parked our car in the same spot Josh had and walked. We went to the K-Lair to eat. This is an on-campus restaurant that Josh works at. He was working and we got to see him "in action" plus he got to hang out with us a bit. I walked Donna back to the car and then walked back to Commonwealth Stadium (I ended up getting in almost 6 miles just walking back and forth).

I got to the UK-ULM game and found my seat was as good as I thought it would be. I was on the 50 yard line 24 rows up and had and excellent view of the game. It was a bit nippy but I had dressed for the occasion. UK jumped on them 21-0 and it looked like it was going to be a rout. However, it appeared UK relaxed a bit and ULM got to within 28-7 and just missed another touchdown at the end of the half when the clock ran out. UK had no offense at all in the 2nd half. ULM moved the ball but fortunately only scored one touchdown. UK finally got a safety and ran an interception back for a TD to win 36-13. They'll have to play better than that to beat Mississippi State next week. I met Josh on the walk back and we met Donna and the car and went back to the hotel for the night.

We got up the next morning and checked out and went to North Lexington for Bible class and worship services. We went to Josh's college class with him. Afterwards, we ate at Wendy's and then had to take him back to his dorm for goodbyes. It was sad. We had a lot of fun together and he seems to be doing wonderfully, but we still miss him a lot.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Delta Gone...

Well, its official. Skywest will replace Mesaba as the Barkely Regional Airport regional carrier. This means that the hub will now be O'Hare in Chicago instead of the Memphis Airport.

I'll miss the Memphis Airport. I knew just where to grab a pretzel or get something more substantal to eat (Backyard Burgers or Popeyes was my usual destination). I know Donna will miss my renditions of "Walkin' in Memphis" that she got to hear to let her know I'd landed safely.

I've never been to O'Hare. I've read it's the second largest airport in the US (behind Hartsfield in Atlanta). There will defintely be more flight options there than in Memphis (the claim is twice as many). I have no idea about food options (always an important consideration for me). I'll definitely give it a try on my nice trip to Chicago (as opposed to a 6.5 hour drive) to see how it compares. The planes are supposed to be bigger (50 vs 36 seat) and faster.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


When Donna and I went to our vacation in Nashville, we wanted to visit some places there we'd always heard about, but had never gone to. My first thought was the Hermitage (home of Andrew Jackson). However, I found out tickets were 17.00 APIECE. That seemed a bit steep to me. My apologies Mr. Jackson...

We also decided to go to the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. It is located in Centennial Park (close to Vanderbilt).

It's a very impressive structure. We walked all around it and checked out the massive columns and the huge bronze doors. It was only 5.00 apiece to go inside (and I had a dollar off coupon), so we went in. The facility hosts displays on the history of the building, a presentation on the original Parthenon in Athens, and an art museum.

It also houses a full scale replica of Athena. Athena was the Greek goddess the temple was built for. This is supposed to be the largest indoor statue in the US. The picture at the top of this blog entry will show you what it looks like. The statue is covered in gold leaf. She holds an image of Nike (Greek goddess of victory and the namesake of the tennis shoe corporation) in her hand.

As I looked at all this, I couldn't help but think of Paul in Athens and his sermon on the Areopagus. He would have been able to see the original Parthenon from where he spoke.

16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. 18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. 19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. 21 (For all the Athenians, and strangers which were there, spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.) 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

My understanding of this is that even with all the idols in the city of Athens, their reared up an altar "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD" in case they had missed one. Paul was able to use this to preach to them about God and Jesus. What would Paul see if he came to our city to look around I wonder? He wouldn't see the images reared up like then. But that certainly doesn't mean we don't have idols today. Anything that we make the primary focus of our lives instead of God, is our idol. For example...

Money - We have to have money to function in our society. Money is necessary to do the Lord's work. The problem comes in when we make money the driving force in our lives. Someone takes a job that God wouldn't be pleased with them working. Or, they are dishonest in business dealings with others to make extra money. Some work long hours to make every dollar they can to spend on their wants not their needs causing them to miss worship services and serving God.

Fame/Popularity - How many times do you see a celebrity do something sinful that gets them attention? This doesn't apply to celebrities only though. What if we go to places we shouldn't (dances, bars, drunken parties), hang out with people we shouldn't, or do sinful things just to be "popular" or approved of by the "popular" people. Sadly, adults can be just as guilty of this as kids.

Sports - There is nothing wrong with participating or watching sports. We are to keep ourselves healthy and fit to be able to worship God and do work in his service. However, some skip worship to attend/participate in sporting events or practices. Some get way too obsessed with the teams they root for by acting like a crazy person while cheering for them or getting way too upset when they lose (Ugh, that hits me pretty hard).

TV - Again, there are worthwhile shows on TV that help spread God's
word or provide entertainment. The problem comes in with watching shows that are vulgar and obscene or ridicule God,Jesus, and Christianity and its values. Some people can spend hours and hours watching TV to the detriment of doing other more positive things. I am fortunate that we don't have cable TV or I am afraid that might be me. When we were in Nashville, I spent three straight hours watching "Cash Cab".

The saddest thing of all is THE UNKNOWN GOD appears to be to a lot of people today what our Heavenly Father was then - UNKNOWN

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Donna and I went to Nashville last week for our yearly week-long vacation. It was the first one in almost 20 years that we went on by ourselves. We couldn't bring ourselves to go to Myrtle Beach, so we just went somewhere close (Nasvhille). We didn't do a whole lot. We went to see Dave Ramsey's studio (see previous post). We also went to see the Parthenon (upcoming post). We also made a couple of trips to the Opry Mills Mall.

I know some people won't like this, but I am not very enamored with the Opry Mills mall. There are a few things I like. The Tony Roma's is good and there is a place where you can buy fried donuts. I also grab a Strawberry Julius whenever I am there. I don't like how narrow the aisles are. The layout is funky. It has two main pathways and you have to walk all the way to the end of end to get to the other (no cut throughs that I could find). There aren't any stores that just blow me away. I detest how I feel like I am in a carnival with hucksters. There are too many vendors trying to drag you over to sample their wares. Donna walked up laughing just as some girl grabbed my hand wanting to look at my nails.

I think a lot of my prejudice stems from my memories of what used to be. When you come into Nashville, all of the directional signs mention Opryland. This constitutes the Gaylord Entertainment Conglomerate (Orpy Mills, Grand Ole Opry, the Opryland Hotel, General Jackson steamboat and I am sure other stuff). Opryland will always be something entirely different to me.

I remember going to the theme park there. We went in the early seventies to the theme park. They had characters dressed up musical instruments. I distinctly remember Yancy Banjo (for obvious reasons). It was only two hours away, so it was easy to pop down to for a day of fun. I remember going with Chris Leaver and his family one Saturday. We rode the Wabash Cannonball something like 16 times (it was one of those corkscrew type coasters). Donna and I went on a Saturday with Rick Alvey and his girlfriend when we were dating. We went again after we got married. I remember even going there on our honeymoon. The rides were closed for the season (it was March). But, Ralph Embry did his daily show there and we got to be in the audience for that. I remember it being a family oriented kind of place.

Alas, just before the boys got old enough to go (1996 I think), they abruptly decided to close the park. I've read various reasons why. One is the park had no room for growth. It was bordered by the Cumberland River, Briley Parkway and Opryland Hotel. They had to rip out old rides to put in new ones. I also remember hearing that Gaylord Entertainment just wanted to stick with hospitality type services (whatever that means). There was some rumor they were going to keep a few of the rides, but they didn't.

It wasn't widely publicized outside this area. I've even heard that tourists still show up at the site looking for the theme park (given the area is still called Opryland).

This is a good site with all sorts of info including old maps they gave you when you came in plus TV commercials. If you ever went to Opryland, you'll really enjoy exploring it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dave Ramsey

If you don't know Dave Ramsey, he is a financial radio talk show host with a nationally syndicated program. I first caught him many years ago when he did a show called the "Money Game" from Nashville.

His teachings are very straightforward. Live on less than you make. Don't borrow money and especially don't use credit cards. He has a method called "the baby steps" for getting out of debt. We followed his plans years ago and have been out of debt for over 7 years.

He's very straightforward in his radio show. He has little good to say about credit card companies, payday loan establishments, big nationwide banks, and debt collection agencies. He has no trouble being blunt with his callers when the situation calls for it. He also can be very compassionate and generous when the situation calls for it. I download the free hour of his show he provides each day and listen to it when I run each day (the nerd in me coming out of course). I can almost predict what he'll say to most callers, but he still teaches me things about money. I also love to hear his commentary on current financial issues. He of course hated "Cash for Clunkers" because most people would go into debt to buy the new car. His cash for clunkers recommendation was "Drive a clunker and you'll have cash!!".

Dave recently became a part of Twitter. I of course became a follower. A tweet came out saying that listener's were welcome to come to see Dave's studio. Donna and I were going to be in Nashville in September and this sounded like something I wanted to do. I emailed the email address provided in the tweet. I almost immediately got back a very nice response from Martha Thompson letting me know we were most welcome to come. She also said Dave would come out during breaks and talk and even pose for photos.

As we got close to going, I emailed her again and she recommended Monday as being the best day to come. Monday arrived and I very excitedly drove to Financial Peace Plaza in Brentwood (south of Nashville) with Donna. When we came in, we were greeted very warmly by Martha Thompson. She made Donna a fresh ground cup of coffee in an actual mug and even gave her a linen napkin. She also had cookies and gave us both one. She showed us Dave's studio (which is actually in the lobby where anyone can watch) and told us to sit in the chairs facing the glass of his studio. She said he would come out and talk if he sees people sitting there.

True to her word, he came out on the next break. He talked with several people and then it was my turn! We talked for a bit and I thanked him for the influence he was in Donna and my lives. He very graciously posed for the picture you see here.

After he went back in to his studio, we sat and talked with Martha Thompson for a while. Turns out she is the producer's mom (Blake Thompson). Dave always talks glowingly of Blake Thompson and how he "makes Dave look good". She talked of how great a place it was to work. It has won multiple awards for being the best place to work in Nashville. She talked of all the great things he does for his employees.

I sat and just watched for a while. The lobby is set up very nicely for visitors with chairs and tables to sit and watch Dave in action. Martha also runs the gift shop where you can buy any of Dave's material (CDs, t-shirts, books, etc.). I finally had to drag myself away....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Coach Cal

Unless you have no interest in college basketball at all, you know that John Calipari is now the head coach at the University of Kentucky. He's done a good job of going all over the state and being "an ambassador" for the team. He finally made it down to Paducah tonight to speak at the Carson Center. I hadn't planned on going at first, but Donna convinced me to.

My first thought when I arrived was the huge crowd already there and wouldn't it have been nice had that many shown up for the Area Wide Gospel meeting there a couple of months ago. Sports outweights spirituality for many and can even be their idol.

I settled in and after a few opening remarks by Jeff Bidwell (the local Paducah TV sports anchor), Coach Cal came up to a thunderous greeting of the crowd clapping to the UK fight song.

He talked about his book that just came out called "Bounce Back". He was pushing that really strong (he was signing books afterwards). It talks about failures he's had in his life and how he's "bounced back" from them. He brought up his brief tenure as head couch of the Nets and how he was fired. He discussed how close his Memphis Tigers team came to winning a National Title.

He stressed two philosophies in his life. The first was to do some thing nice for at least one person a day to show you appreciate them. The second was that leading (like a coach) wasn't how much he could do for himself but what he could do for others.

I've heard these teachings before..

Galatians 6:10 - As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Matthew 20:27-28 - And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

It would be a much better world if we took these verses to heart.

UK 2009 football preview

Yeah, I know I should have done this sooner but I have been busy with "insert lame excuse here".

UK has produced three splendid years (well for them) in a row with three straight bowl appearances and wins (something even Paul "Bear" Bryant couldn't do here in the early 1950's). Things were looking really bright with their best defensive players (Trevard Lindley, Micah Johnson, and Jeremy Jarmon) opting to not jump to the NFL. Alas, Jarmon was banned for the year by the NCAA for taking a dietary supplement available over-the-counter (I'll not start a diatribe on that one). Anyway, without further ado, here's my preview

Miami (of Ohio) - At first glance you'd think "Wow, what an opening game" til you add "of Ohio" in there. This game was played at the home of the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday. Kentucky looked quite bad for about a quarter and half but ended up winning easily 42-0. Rich Brooks is never one to run up a score so it could have worse..

Louisville - Well, well, well, how the mighty have fallen. Three years ago, Louisville capped a strong season by winning the Orange Bowl. Bobby Petrino left and its been downhill all the way. Many are expecting an easy win for UK, but I think Louisville will give them a good game. Steve Kraigthorpe is trying to save his job.

Florida/Alabama - These games are at home, but it would take almost a perfect game from UK to win either. The main goal is not to get anyone critical to the team hurt. If they manage to win one of these, a really special season is in the making.

South Carolina/Auburn - It'd be nice if these two were swapped with above and at home instead of on the road. Kentucky really needs to take one of these. The Auburn game is probably more likely, but I wish they'd beat Steve Spurrier just once (they never have).

Louisiana-Monroe/Mississippi State/Eastern Kentucky/Vanderbilt - This starts a four game string of games Kentucky really ought to win. Of course, UK lost to Miss State in 2007 at home (a game everybody thought they'd win). Jonathan and I saw Louisiana Monroe give UK a great game at UK (losing only 42-40). Vandy beat UK last year at UK so these are not givens.

Georgia - Winning "between the hedges" is always tough. UK could win here, it'll depend honestly on how the season is going.

Tennessee - The streak. Uk hasn't beaten Tennessee since 1984, they haven't beaten them at home since 1981. Let me give you some perspective on that. In 1984, I had just started dating this gorgeous 19 year old girl. I was just 6 months into my job at Martin Marietta in Paducah. If you had told me that I would have been married to that beauty for 23 years, worked at "Martin Marietta" for 25 years and had a son who is a freshman at UK and UK would not have beaten UT in all that time, I would have never believed it. I SAW the last time UK beat UT at home. It was 21-10 in 1981. I was a junior at UK at the time. It was cold and spitting snow and UK was 2-8. I remember leaving early had I known the significance that win would have years down the road, I'd have stayed for the whole game. I am certainly hoping Josh's presence there this year will do the trick. Then, we can shoot for Florida (the next longest streak) in 2011.

My guess for their record this year is 8-4 which we get them in the Peach Bowl (oops, Chick-Fil-a Bowl) in Atlanta. I am really wanting 9-3 and the Outback and a trip to sunny Tampa though.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Delta Gone....Hello United?

In the continuing saga of who will be the carrier at Barkley Regional Airport here (or if we'll even have one), a new development has sprung up. When bids were opened yesterday, United put in a bid to have twice daily service from Paducah to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Not only that, but their cost would be almost half of what Delta's bidding to charge the government.

I'm torn. O'hare would have many more connections. I'd even consider flying to Chicago instead of driving (since it's direct). On the other side, I'd hate to see Northwest/Delta employees lose jobs here. I've become very acquainted with the Memphis Airport. I know where the best places for food are and where the restrooms are. I know Donna will miss my singing "Walking in Memphis" every time I have a flight into that airport.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I spent the last week at training in Atlanta. It was about as calm and uneventful of a work trip as I ever been on. The class was good (but a lot of material). The drive down was fine. I stayed in a very nice hotel (the Embassy Suites Perimeter). I had good meals every night. I went to Wednesday Bible Study at Chestnut Drive church of Christ. I came home Saturday and the only issue I had was in Nashville. For some reason, I-24 was closed at I-440. I went around that to I-65 and picked up I-24 again to home.

The only thing that really happened of note was at breakfast one morning. At the Embassy Suites, they will cook you eggs to order, pancakes or omelets. I generally got a couple of eggs over easy. To save time, I would drop a couple of slices of bread in the toaster (it was one of those rotating belt toasters where you put the toast in the top and it comes out the bottom) and make my order. As I was waiting to get my plate of eggs, I saw an older couple just grab my freshly made toast and walk off. I wanted to yell "Hey, you stole my toast". Instead I just laughed to myself and went over and toasted a couple more pieces of bread.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

One of the things that I love in life is to eat. I enjoy all types of food, but lean toward the carnivore side (as you've seen in previous posts). My wife is a fabulous cook (I went from 155 to 175 in the first year we were married) so I don't even bother with places like Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans because I can get better down-home cooking at home (plus the cook is gorgeous).

I tried a couple of items I've seen over and over again on TV in the past few weeks. The first item was the Angus Burger at McDonalds. Advertising on this one is at supersaturation level. I am a McDonalds guy. I know some people won't go near one. I do know when I go to one in any town, I can always get a decent meal. My standard lunch/dinner order is a Big Mac, Fries and a diet soda. I broke the pattern and ordered the Bacon Cheese Angus Burger. It was very good. It's 1/3 pound of meat on a special roll and you also get a standard version or a mushroom/swiss combo. It's a dollar more than the Big Mac and it packs a couple of hundred more calories than a Big Mac. I'd order it again though.

Last week on the way to Lexington, we stopped at a KFC. They advertised the grilled chicken. Let me explain that you cannot get this in Paducah. They had a free grilled chicken day where you could a free piece. Josh and friends headed out to the nearest KFC only to be told they didn't have it. They were told that the KFC would have to put in a special grill to make this chicken. The manager also told them that this may be a temporary item (I don't think I've seen that alluded to in the ads which are also at supersaturation level). The closest place to Paducah that has it is Calvert City (about 20 miles east of Paducah).

As we pulled in, I pleaded with Donna to do whatever it took to keep me from ordering the buffet. I always rationalize getting it by saying "It's only a dollar or two more than a meal anyway". It's where two of my big passions collide - thriftiness and food. We ordered a grilled chicken meal. I was disappointed. The skin didn't have that great a taste and the meat didn't have the usual taste or consistency of what I expect from grilled chicken. I would just as soon have their Original Recipe which I really like.

Your mileage may vary. If you have opinions on these or any of the latest supersaturated currently advertisted food items, please comment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

18 and Life

Well, I am now the father of two adults. Josh turned 18 a couple of weeks ago. It makes me feel pretty old to be honest.

Also, the big day arrived to take Josh to UK to move him in. He left early last Saturday and got there well before Donna and I. When he (and we) got there, they had a lot of security to keep you from parking where you shouldn't (parking is a big issue at UK, there isn't a lot of it to go around). We finally got to his dorm and got his stuff in there. We ate lunch at Chili's and then went to our hotel room and rested.

A few weeks ago, I noticed there was a 5k called "Midsummer's Night Run" in downtown Lexington. Josh and I decided to run in it. We picked up our packets that afternoon before we went to the hotel. Later, we picked up a friend of Josh's (she was obviously very bored to want to spend a Saturday night at a 5k). We parked on the fringe of UK (behind Memorial Colesium) and walked to the start line.

It wasn't quite as bad as the MLB 5k, but still (as I found out later) had almost 5000 participants. Again (to my chagrin), there was no statement about lining up based on pace time. We took off and again we were dodging walkers for the first mile. I had moved toward the front this time, so I didn't have to dodge so many.

It was hot and humid. Being downtown, there was little to no airflow. I did great the first couple of miles, then wore down the last mile. When I got to the end, it took a lot of effort to find water (which was bad since it was so hot and humid). I finally found the others (Josh had finished well before me of course) and we started back to the car.

I discovered that the walk back in the dark was much scarier then the walk there in daylight. We were all a bit spooked but we got back. We went to the hotel and Josh back to his dorm.

We picked him up at his dorm the next morning and headed to worship services at the North Lexington church of Christ. Everybody there was nice as usual. Several told him about the various activities they have for the college kids which made us feel much better. We stopped by Wal-Mart for some last minute supplies and got lunch at Canes' Chicken Strips.

We got him back to his dorm and said our goodbyes. Neither of us broke down or anything, but it was still sad. I was able to listen to the Cardinal game on the way (which put Donna to sleep) and we make it home OK.

We were able to use Skype that night after church and do a video call with Josh to be able to see as well as hear him. He looked fine :-)

It's gonna take a while to get over him not being here. We miss him a lot already...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Toot, Toot, Tootsie

After our elder-deacons meeting today, I grabbed three 69 cent tacos at Taco Bell (they sell for that on Taco Sunday here). Afterwards, I wanted something sweet to cap that off. I headed to our local Dollar Tree to check out the candy. They had the big (3 oz.) Tootsie Rolls 2/1.00 (actually 2/1.06 with tax). That's a great deal but they don't always have them. I got two and promptly started devouring one as I left the store. I felt a bit guilty. I felt a lot better when I read the nutrition info to find one big Tootsie roll only has 150 calories. I didn't expect that low of a calorie count. I resisted the urge to eat the other one (I gave it to Jonathan after church).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Update on the Brad Thompson Situation - Tony LaRussa speaks out

Mr. LaRussa, this is much better...


St. Louis right-hander Brad Thompson will appeal a three-game suspension for pitching inside to the Mets' David Wright, a punishment Cardinals manager Tony La Russa called unfair.

Thompson was not ejected after a pitch rode up and in to Wright during New York's 9-0 victory on Wednesday, after the Cardinals' Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick were hit with pitches by Nelson Figueroa. Thompson was not ejected.

La Russa said Friday that Thompson was "very harshly treated, unfairly."

"I'm not happy because the pitch got away, and we always tell them [the pitchers] if you're going to throw the ball inside and you're going to miss, miss down and not up," La Russa said. "But the fact was, and I tried to explain to [umpire] Bill Miller, Ludwick and Albert got hit and I don't think they [the Mets] were trying [to hit them], they were trying to work the ball inside. And Albert was coming off six hits."

Wright is 5 for 10 with two doubles and a homer in his career against Thompson.

La Russa questioned how the Brewers' Prince Fielder could try to muscle his way into the Dodgers' clubhouse after being hit by a pitch from the Dodgers' Guillermo Mota on Tuesday night, yet the two players weren't suspended and Thompson was. Fielder and Mota were fined.

"I just think [major league disciplinarian] Bob Watson's criteria are tough ... I don't think there's consistency there," La Russa said.

Thompson continue pitching until his appeal is heard.

"We're on the record -- we don't throw the ball at guys' heads," La Russa said.

Bud Selig, I think you need to step in here...

Headhunter and a Mindreader?

I have refrained from commenting about Cardinal baseball all year, but with what I heard yesterday, I couldn't help myself.

On Wendesday, the Cardinals were losing to the Mets 7-0. David Wright was up. Brad Thompson had come on in relief for the Cardinals. He threw a pitch near the bill of Wright's cap. Yes, it was a bad thing that it came that close. I've watched the replay and based on where Molina's glove is before the pitch and the reaction of Thompson after the pitch, I don't think it was intentional. Brad Thompson has even stated he didn't intend to throw high and tight. Well, lo and behold Brad gets a 3 day suspension from Bob Watson and an undisclosed fine.

The night before, Prince Fielder was hit in the leg in the 9th inning of a 17-4 loss by the Dodgers by Guillermo Mota. After the game, Fielder attempted to push his way into the Dodger locker room to "confront" Mota. He had to be restrained by security and his teammates. He ended up only being fined (as was Mota).

Bob Watson vice president in charge of discipline handed these down. I just cannot see how he can determine intent unless he is a mindreader. Pitchers throw bad pitches sometimes. I've seen a MLB pitcher throw a wild pitch when trying to issue an intentional walk. It was very obvious what Fielder's intent was but he was only fined. Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick were both hit in the game earlier (not coincidentally after hitting home runs the night before) but nothing was said nor the pitcher hitting them fined.

I think back to several years ago (2004) when Watson suspended Julian Tavarez of the Cardinals for NINE games because he said he had pine tar on his hat. The year before, Sammy Sosa was caught using a corked bat and only got a SEVEN game suspension.

Tony Larussa complained bitterly about the Tavarez incident and even said he felt Watson was biased against the Cardinals. All he said about the Thompson incident was "pitchers shouldn't throw at a player's head". He didn't try to stand up for his guy at all. I'm a bit disappointed in you Mr. Larussa.

Should you ever intentionally throw at a guy's head? No. I just read an old issue of Sports Illustrated online about Tony Conigliaro's getting hit (as told personally by Conigliaro) in the eye by a Jack Hamilton pitch. They have a picture on the cover and it's gruesome. Conigliaro was never the same hitter. I just feel Waston over-reacted quite bluntly because an east coast team was involved.

Here is the incident. Feel free to comment..

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Josh found out a few months ago that he had to have all four of his wisdom teeth pulled. We spent time figuring out what to do and he finally decided to go ahead and have them pulled. We decided to go with Dr. Heine since he'd done Jonathan's.

Last Friday was the day. Josh and I had eaten a big meal the night before (see the previous post) since he knew he wouldn't be able to eat a whole lot for the next few days. We went into the surgeon's office about 7 and checked in. We waited a few minutes and were shown back to a room with a dentist chair. Dr. Heine talked with Josh a bit. His main concern of course was when he could get back to his running and exercising (answer: 3 days and then only gradually). They started an IV and began injecting him with the knockout stuff. We were escorted from the room to the waiting room. Donna and I talked a bit and I settled down to read a few chapters of Job. I had read only a couple when the nurse came back and said "He's done". The procedure only took 20 minutes. That seemed really fast. We went back and Josh was groggy but not totally out. They gave him only a few minutes and then walked him out to the car to go home.

We stopped at CVS to pick up three prescriptions they gave us (a pain killer, an antibiotic to fend off any infection, and a steroid pack to reduce the swelling). Donna went in to get them. Josh kept pleading with me to let him get and walk. I wouldn't let him, I had visions of him stumbling onto Lone Oak Road. They had our prescriptions filled within 10 minutes and we headed for home.

We got home and Josh was still awake. He promptly settled into the couch, fired up his laptop and got into Facebook. He seemed OK especially since it had only been an hour since his teeth were pulled. I ended up just going back to work.

He's made it great. He's had a little pain but not much. It's taken him a few days to get all his strength back mainly because he wasn't able to eat much.

Dr. Heine called twice (once on Saturday and once on Sunday) to check on Josh. I was very impressed by their office and their concern for him. The whole process went much better than I ever would have imagined.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Martin Fierro

First, sorry for the lack of posts. I've had several things going on the past few weeks (doing the powerpoint at the Area Wide Gospel meeting at the Carson Center for one) plus not feeling the best in the world (I think my sinuses are messed up).

A few months back, a new restaurant opened in Paducah called Martin Fierro's Argentinean Grill. One of the meals they server is the Rodizio where they bring different cuts of meat on skewers and you eat your fill. I had said I wouldn't go there til I got my weight below 180. I had managed that over a month ago, but hadn't arranged a trip there. Josh was going to have his wisdom teeth pulled on Friday the 31st so we decided to go there for a big meal the night before. We figured he get that in before he'd go several days on a liquid/soft diet.

We ended up taking a couple of Josh's buddies with us. Turns out on Tues through Thursday, you get the rodizio for 22.95 as opposed to the usual 37.95 price. I had made a 5 o'clock reservation and we got there right at five. Turns out you can see them cooking the meat on the grill from the window so we sat mesmerized watching that.

We finally went in and were shown to our table. The waitress explained that we would be brought nine different meats and then could decide which one we wanted repeats on. She showed us how the disk on the table worked. You leave it green to tell them to bring you meat and red to tell them to stop. She showed us the salad bar they had, but we just laughed and said "Bring us meat". So, they did...

We started with sausage, then went to bacon wrapped chicken breast and chicken legs. They brought us top and bottom sirloin, bacon wrapped fillet, pork tenderloin and lamb. They finished up with ribs. It was really, really good. They also bring you rolls, garlic mashed potatoes, and caramelized bananas. After the first round, we requested more ribs, chicken breast and fillet. That finished. Josh took another round of chicken and sirloin and finally gave up. We were all well stuffed and could barely waddle to the car. Josh's friend Chad said he was still not hungry almost 24 hours later. Josh said that it helped him not be so hungry after not being able to eat today because of his teeth being pulled (more on that later).

It was an excellent meal. The only meat we didn't think was fabulous was the lamb (it seemed a bit overdone to me). Everything else was fork-tender, hot, and delicious. Since we were some of the first one's there right when they opened, they didn't bring the meat out as fast as other similar places I'd been too. It did enable us to have a leisurely dinner discussing a myriad of topics.

If you are a staunch carnivore like we are, I'd recommend you give it a try. If you are wondering where the name came from its the name of a 2,316 line epic poem by the Argentine writer José Hernández.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Famous tomatoes...

My in-laws (Jack and Carolyn Woods) finally some some pub for their excellent tomatoes that they sell to several local supermarkets.

Delta Gone (the sequel)...

This story appeared in the Paducah Sun the other day.

Delta Airlines will file a notice next week with the U.S. Department of Transportation that it intends to suspend commercial air service at Barkley Regional Airport in 90 days.

But the notice isn’t as scary as it sounds.

It is a necessary first step for the airline to receive a subsidy from the federal government, Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said. “We intend to continue service without interruption.”

Delta operates three daily flights between Paducah and Memphis. The number of flights will drop to two next month.

I hope they are right... We'll see what happens in 90 days..

Sunday, July 12, 2009

MLB All-Star Game 5k

Several months ago while trolling for Baseball All-Star Game tickets, I noted that MLB was doing something new in their All-Star game festivities. They added a 5k run for charity (cancer research). I talked to Josh and we decided since it was close (St Louis) and it was the first one, we'd give it a shot.

We went up this weekend to run. We stayed at the Hampton by the Arch. We made sure to get their early since there was a free concert nearby (Sheryl Crow and Elvis Costello) and we didn't want to get caught up in the crowd. Josh and walked over the "Sponsor Zone" (over by Busch Stadium) to pick up our race materials. We managed to snag free tacos from the Taco Bell booth. We traipsed all over downtown looking for food. Once again, the Lion's Choice was closed. I went back to the hotel and did a search and finally found a Subway at Lacledes Landing. I brought food back and we ate and rested.

The next day, the weather was good. We ate and headed over about 7. There was a lot more people than I thought there would be. There were 8,000 in the race. It was a colossal jam. They did have chip timing for a more true time. It was actually in a piece of tape you looped around the laces of your shoe. This way, you don't have to remove it and turn it back in when you are done (like other chips). The crowd to start was huge. Lou Brock (Cardinal icon) was the official starter. It took us almost 10 minutes to work our way to the start line. Trying to get a good time was almost impossible. There were way too many who walked that pushed to the front and there just wasn't enough distance in a 5k for the crowd to thin out. I would get going good and than either come upon a group of walkers or one would move right in front of me. We both made it fine though and got a medal and a t-shirt for our efforts. We were able to get cleaned up in plenty of time to make to Collinsville church of Christ for Bible Study and Worship.

This was their first 5k so I'll cut them some slack. However, they really need to stress in the future that walkers stay in the back and stay to the sides (this is normal protocol in most 5ks). They might consider corrals (used in half and full marathons) that split up people by mile times to help with congestion. We still had a lot of fun and got to spend time together and be a part of history...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I See Blue - Part 2

Josh had signed up for Freshman Orientation at UK a month or so ago. It involves the parents as well (they have all sorts of informational sessions for us) so Donna and I went as well.

We left Saturday even though the sessions didn't start til Monday. Josh jokingly told everybody "It's because my dad wants to make sure we are on time for everything". Our real reason is so we could attend worship services at North Lexington church of Christ. We'd been there before and one of my fellow deacons at Central (Dr. Tim Mabry) always speaks highly of that congregation plus he said he would let people know about us and Josh.

We drove Josh's Impala just to make sure it would handle the 250 mile trip ok. Plus, I wanted to show him the ins and outs of the trip like which exits have the best food and the route to take. The drive isn't really all that complex except for the part where you go from the Western Kentucky Parkway to the Bluegrass Parkway by taking a two mile stretch of I-65 around Elizabethtown. Josh did all the driving and did really well.

We got there about 8 and checked into the Doubletree Suites. Something about the place kept nagging at me. I finally realized that this was the old French Quarter Suites that I had stayed at a lot many years ago. When we were working with Portsmouth Plant to integrate more fully together in the early 1990's, this was the favorite hotel to use. The rooms were really nice with two flat screen TVs and a jetted tub.

On Sunday, we went to worship services at North Lexington. Everyone was really nice and said they'd "Keep an eye" on Josh. The preacher (Steve Johnson) was very good. Turns out he's from our end of the state (Farmington in Graves County). They have a class for the college students and we were told "they take good care of them". They even gave us a loaf of bread when we left (which Josh promptly devoured). We ate lunch at Cane's chicken strips and then went back to the hotel. We rested all afternoon. I wanted to eat at the Columbia Steak House near the hotel. It was good but I forgot how much food they give you. I couldn't even finish mine. We went back to church, got back and rested and finally went to bed.

We drove to the campus on Monday morning with no issues. We went to the Otis Singletary Center for the Arts for the beginning of orientation. We sat through several presentations and then had a catered lunch. Josh saw a girl he went to Ballard with so they hung out together the rest of the day. Her mother stayed with us since I still know my way around the campus pretty well. In the afternoon, they had breakout sessions you could pick from to go to. One that especially interested Josh was MathExcel. This allows him to have additional work with a smaller group on Calculus and they even have a "Math House" to meet at. It even sounded neat to me. We had checked out from the Doubletree that morning since the rate went up abruptly for Monday nite and went to a Hampton Inn instead. We discussed at length where to get dinner and finally just walked to McDonalds. I did drive to a Krispy Kreme I saw the day before to get dessert.

We checked out the next morning and headed back to UK. First, the students went to a general session while the parents went to sessions basked on which college the student would be going too. Josh is majoring in Computer Science which is in the Engineering college so Donna and I went to that. They explained about classes and degrees and how the students sign up. Then, we went to the Student center for more presentations on things like Campus Security, Parking and Transportation and HealthCare. The students met with their advisors and registered for classes. Josh got in what he wanted and he was happy. The drive home was uneventful and we got back on time for Josh to go to the Summer Youth Series.

We enjoyed it, but it only draws us closer to the day in August when we nock that arrow and shoot it far away.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Delta Gone (well almost...)

When the Delta/Northwest merger was announced last year, many wondered what would happen at Paducah's Barkley Regional Airport. Some hoped that they would bring in additional Delta flights to say Atlanta. Some feared they would trim back service.

The later came to pass as was announced yesterday. Delta announced it would cut back from three to two flights out of Paducah. They are dropping the mid-day flight and leaving only the 6:30 and 4:00 pm departures. This is the fewest number of flights I ever remember going out of Barkley. When TWA (later American) was there, there were at least 7 (3 TWA and 4 Northwest). American pulled out a few years ago and Northwest had trimmed back to three flights. Needless to say, this caused somewhat of an uproar. Several local businessmen expressed their displeasure at having to either get up really early or get to their destinations really late. Local government (McCracken County and Paducah) said they'd try to convince Delta not to do this. I am unsure how they think they are going to convince a large company to do this but anyway. The reasoning was of course as most often is cost. The flights out of Paducah are smaller commuter flights that hold about 30 to 40. They are generally always pretty full but I presume that simply wasn't enough for Delta.

Northwest in Memphis is the next hop for other areas besides Paducah such as Hattiesburg Mississippi, Fort Smith Arkansas, and Monroe Lousiana (just to name a few). From what I heard, some of those flights might be cut. There is starting to be a fear that Delta might someday pull completely out of Paducah leaving no airlines there. From about 7:00 to 2:00, the airport will be a ghost town I'd guess. It'll certainly hurt the two rental car companies there (Hertz and Avis). It wouldn't surprise me to see one of them pull out too.

Other flight options besides Paducah are Marion Illinois (about an hour away) which has commuter flights via American to St Louis. Cape Girardeau Missouri is about 1.25 hours away and also offers a couple of flights to St. Louis. And of course, one can drive to either Evansville or Nashville. This move solidifies my going to Nashville for my travel. I don't want to have to get to the airport at either 5:30am or leave at 4:00pm and not get to my destination til very late. I often have to fly out Sunday for a class starting Monday and I don't want to miss worship services by flying out really early in the day or really late. By going to Nashville, I can worship at Lebanon Road church of Christ.

I certainly hope they get more flights or another carrier for Barkley Regional, but right now I am not optimistic at all..

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One is the worst number that you ever heard..

The other night Jonathan went on a date. Based on the timing (from when he got home from work), he chose "Year One" as the movie they went to see.

When he came home, he was very upset. He said the movie was terrible and made fun of a lot of good men mentioned in the Bible (Abel, Abraham and Issac) while extolling Cain and the inhabitants of Sodom. I just didn't see that coming at all in the previews. He apologized profusely to his date..

We talked for while and I let him know that it's perfectly acceptable to walk out of movie he finds objectionable. I also told him about a web site that I use and have recommended to others called screenit.com. This site gives very detailed information broken out by various categories. You can very easily see whether a movie is one a Christian would be able to attend or not.

It has reached the point where Donna and I rarely even go to the movies. There are just not any that we feel right going to. It's
sad but true.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wii Fit

Right before Memorial Day, Josh came to us wanting to buy a "Wii Fit". He had the money and Donna and I agreed it was OK.

I didn't think much of it for a couple of days until Josh asked me to come and try it out. The Wii Fit consists of the game CD and a balance board. First, you have to pick a Mii (this is an animated character that kinda looks like you). Then, you are weighed and the system measures how balanced and stable during that. I was surprised how non-balanced/stable I was. You are then presented with a couple of balance challenges (they vary each time you weigh in). The system then melds all that data together and gives you your Wii Fit age. Mine was absolutely awful to start with - 63!!.

You can then have four categories to choose from - Yoga, Aerobics, Srength Training, Balance Games. I started with the Yoga. I found that I was not flexible at all. You are given scores based on how well you keep your balance during the various Yoga poses. Strength training consists of basic exercises such as Twists, Push-ups/Planks, etc. You are scored on balance on some and how stable you are doing the others (the balance board measures the amount of pressure you put on it). The Aerobics has exercises like Hula Hooping, Stepping and even some runs (I do that on my own). The Balance part is more like games, but it's fun to do and would be really fun to do with younger kids.

I was skeptical of this thing at first. It actually seems to do a job of making sure you do the various exercises correctly. It certainly makes you accountable on your weight (giving you your BMI as well). You can look at charts to see your progression (or lack thereof) on your BMI/weight. If your weight goes up, it asks you to choose a reason why (snacking, late eating, over-eating, I tended to choose "I don't know").

You can set a goal for weight loss. I had a goal to get under 180 by Monday. Well, I amazingly (it's words not mine) hit my goal today. I haven't weighed that little in many years. It promptly made me set another goal so I am trying to lose 3 more pounds in a month (to get my BMI under 23).

Did it make that much of a difference? I have gotten more flexible and my balance is a bit better (but still pitiful when I do the yoga Tree Pose.). My Wii Fit age is down in the 30's (it was actually 30 today). Knowing I was going to have to weigh in and it would be recorded forced me to be more careful on my eating. For example, we went to Back Yard Burgers one night. I normally get the large double-meat burger combo, but I went with the single burger combo instead. I eat one plate of food at dinner and don't eat after that until breakfast the next day. If I could resist those new Sonic Molten Chocolate Bundt cakes, I'd be even better off (I'm glad they are available "only for a limited time").

Would I recommend Wii Fit? It costs 89.00 or so (assuming you have a Nintendo Wii). It's a lot easier doing this at home and I certainly feel more comfortable not having an audience like I would at a health club. Plus, there aren't immodestly dressed people in the game like could possibly be at a health club. You acutally see your Mii get thinner as you lose weight. The daily weighing does give you accountability. It's not quite Yoga like you'd get in a true Yoga class, but I think it's great for a beginner like me. If you are just beginning, I would recommend you at least take a look.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

I had another one of those moments in my life when I realized I am growing older.

Jonathan interviewed this spring for a summer intern job in Engineering where I work at USEC. He really didn't think he'd get the job since he's only been in college for one year. He ended up being chosen though. I was very proud of him. He did it all on his own, I didn't try to talk to anybody there about it.

His first day was last Monday. I saw him in the hall and he said he was heading out with another engineer to a project site. It's very strange to see your son working at the same place you do.

He's heard (and me too) all week that "you look just like your dad" and "you can tell whose son he is". I am sure he has this nightmare.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Doughnut Day 2009

I was reminded by a collegue that today is Doughnut Day 2009. Krispy Kreme will give you a free doughnut of your choosing today.

I love Krispy Kreme. I've been well-known to careen across multi-lanes of traffic when the "Hot Light" is on. There is one in Fenton Missouri on I-44 on the way to Six Flags that I've careened off the exit at 70mph when the light is on.

Alas, there is no Krispy Kreme in Paducah. My understanding is the guy who came up with them is from Paducah, but never opened a store here. The closest one to me is in Evansville (a 1.5 hour drive). Don't think I wasn't tempted :-).

Friday, May 29, 2009


Tuesday night was Josh's high school graduation. The place was packed. There were twenty more graduates than at Jonathan's last year and it showed. Fortunately, we got there early and got decent seats plus managed to hold spots for both of our families.

Josh was one of two valedictorians. Both of our sons were valedictorians and as you might guess, I am pretty proud of them. They took hard classes (Calculus, Physics, etc) so they certainly earned it. Josh did his speech on "Attitude Determines Altitude". He did a great job on it. Transcripts are available for a nominal fee :-). Afterwards, Josh went with some of his buddies to eat and then come back for Project Graduation. This is (as you probably know) where they lock the kids in until the next morning to ensure a "chemical free" night. From what Josh told me and pictures I've seen, it looks like a lot of fun for them. Its better then most graduation nights I was familiar with in the past in this area which turned out to be huge drunken bashes.

It was an emotional day. Donna called me that morning and I could tell she was really upset. She finally told me that she was upset because Josh was leaving for school for the last time. She could remember when she sent him to pre-school for the first time and now he was done with school. I do not know how we'll ever get home from Lexington in August after we drop him off. I imagine sedation of some type will be in order. I am reminded of a lesson Jim Faughn preached where he referenced Psalms 127:4-5. These verses compare children to arrows in a quiver. He also talked about the coming when those arrows come out of the quiver and are shot into the distance. We're nocking our bow with one right now and it'll be let loose in a few months...

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I enjoy reading a lot. My favorites are the Bible and various classic literature by writers such as Mark Twain, Jules Verne, and Robert Louis Stevenson. I have given up on reading most modern literature. For example, I tried to read Stephen King's "Bag of Bones" years ago and found it so vulgar that I gave up. The only "recent" fiction I've read is the Harry Potter series. I still read a lot of non-fiction (Finance, Bible study aides) books plus books of facts like almanacs.

A favorite classic of mine is the "The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. I was reminded of this recently when I saw the Facebook page of a young man (Derek Ratliff) I go to church with . The story is about a man who appears to be a brainless rich aristocrat who turns out to be a dashing brave famous hero (The Scarlet Pimpernel) who saves French aristocrats from the clutches of the French "Reign of Terror". Does the general premise of that sound familiar (rich man who is actually a hero that nobody could believe would be him)? I've always felt that this book was the forerunner of the disguised superhero genre that is popular to this day (Bruce Wayne/Batman, Tony Stark/Ironman, etc). It's not an immensely long book (about like Treasure Island). It has some history in it concerning the French Revolution. I'd recommend you give it a read.

What I've just found out is the Baroness wrote other prequels and sequels to this book. I am already scouting out a few to buy to find out the further adventures of "The Scarlet Pimpernel"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oooh, Donuts...

I have loved Red's Donuts for as long as I can remember. Their original shop was on Bridge Street. I can remember in my youth getting a Large Dr Pepper, four soft shell tacos from Taco John's and then getting 6 of their fabulous chocolate iced-cream filled donuts to top it off (this would be after a couple of rounds of Putt-Putt golf). That was back in the day when I could eat and eat and never gain an ounce... I have learned not to buy donuts anywhere in Paducah since I am always disappointed when I do.

They moved to a location on Jackson Street some years ago. It's right on the way to where we worship (Central church of Christ) and we have to constantly resist the temptation to stop in and grab some. This morning, Donna wanted to buy some donut holes for the Ladies Tea at Central. If you don't know what donut holes are (I actually met a guy from New York City a few years who didn't), they are the little pieces of donut that are cut out from the center of a regular donut and fried and covered in glaze. They are excellent especially when they are fresh like they were this morning (second only to the chocolate iced - creme filled I mentioned before). I had to make myself stop from eating all of them along with the chocolate iced - creme filled I bought so there would be some left for my sons.

Anyway, they now put advertising on their boxes. Donna and I always find it funny that this advertisement is on there.