Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Quick, yet potent update....

Well, the "weird" feelings continue....like I want to just drop everything and cry. I think the worst, the outlook is negative, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I'm sure being very tired is one problem here...at least the OCD symptoms have subsided (they were horrible over the weekend), so I'm gonna hit the hay earlier tonight.

Things I STILL want to cover here:

--My PTO adventures (working on forming it now....)
--Fantasy Football Update
--A picture of my Cougar
--A picture of Robbie in braces
--a "This day in Witham history" segment...(wow, that should drive THOUSANDS to the blog.....)

Right now, though.......

An OVERDUE shout out to my production playa, Rodney Woody, aka Jammin' John, aka Dave Shannon, aka Big Poppa.....anyway...

Make sure you buzz Rodney for your next need for a DJ at a wedding, reunion, or other event. I don't have a link yet (I need to get his website address), but for more information on the man known as "Rodney", just click here.

PS----I hear there will be four podiums at the first debate: one for George W. Bush, and three for John Kerry; one for his first position, one for his updated position to sound better, then a third so he can clarify the original position with the updated position, just so that John Edwards can keep up. :)

Monday, September 27, 2004

One of those funky days....

I don't know if it's the weather, or just a simple fact of life while dealing with/fighting depression. Today was one of those "funky" days (with apologies to those who like positive connotations of the word funky; I mean no disrespect to ya!). I was just blue....for the stupidest reasons. You know, things that would make you jealous in the fifth grade reasons....

Last night, I'm in the van waiting on Bonnie and Robbie to pick up Rachel from Awana, and I start thinking of Mama and just started crying. Where did that come from? It's not any type of anniversary or anything, but it could I'm feeling angst for Bonnie's family, as her grandma's life hangs in the balance right now. Add that to the "usual" circumstances of day-to-day life and today was simply a clunker. The girls in the office probably thought I had swallowed a porcupine or something....

I'm not one who can easily "wipe a slate clean", and "start a new day" sometimes, but I need to tomorrow. In fact, it must be done. Work drives me bonkers, but the people I'm around daily keep me going (plus the fact that I actually like what I do...). The last thing I need to do is alienate myself from them.

Another "bothering" point, I guess, is what I call the "pastor syndrome". In my 20's this was no issue, because, well, I wasn't a pastor, I was a radio personality. I got alot of, "you're the guy on the radio", or "your voice sounds familiar....", but none of the usual "preacher" comments.

Now, through my 30's, I have, and I've learned one huge lesson...it is very, very hard for people in my profession to really have "lots of friends". There have been times in the past seven years where I felt almost "friendless". Here are the two roadblocks I and other ministers face:

1) No one can be your "friend" at the church you pastor. First, you are the "shepherd", and the shepherd cares for, protects, and guides the sheep, but you really don't see the shepherd out grazing with them. So, even though it's human nature that a pastor will "hit it off" better with some congregants than others, he works carefully to try to avoid that good ol' sense of favoritism. Now, I'll tell you, I try not to play favorites, but also, those who have shown coldness and rejection to me don't get many handshakes from me.

My point being is a pastor, from a respect standpoint, doesn't have to keep shaking the hand of someone who doesn't respect him, and doesn't mind showing it, even in public. If you either show me you don't want my company, or just simply don't respect me, at least for the position which I hold, then I simply choose not to spend time with you unless necessary. I get flagellated enough in life; so I choose to avoid the beatings which I can see from a mile away.

Bottom line; you create problems when you "play favorites". I will admit, though, that I have no problems spending more time with the sheep who are positive, offer their help to the cause, and do show respect.

2) Outside the church circle, I am always stuck with the moniker, call it what you will, "preacher", "pastor" "Rev", whatever. That automatically brings assumptions to people's minds as to who I am, what I do, what I don't do, how I act, etc. etc.....

I try to tell people I'm "the Christian with heathen tendencies"; I am in no way perfect, and struggle daily, yet I also like to laugh, do crazy things, and have sex.....(with my wife, now...don't get carried away......:) )

(You know, no one can imagine the preacher having sex, much like thinking of your parents.....yecchh!!)

Yet, people still place you in some type of box which reminds themselves and others that you are, a "preacher" (predominate word used here in the South...).

Yes, I'm a preacher, which is a "part" of me. I'm Rob. I like Genesis, the Old Testament book, and the rock band! And sometimes, it's hard to get people to understand this sort of thing....

Well, enough of that for now.

SONG I'M LISTENING TO: "Steve McQueen"--from Sheryl Crow I once quoted a Sheryl Crow song in a sermon recently. I only knew this song from the Wrangler/Dale Earnhardt Jr TV ad and the hook got me. I HAD to have this song. Won the CD on EBay and got it in the mail Friday. Now, what I did NOT know was that Sheryl drops the "S-Bomb" at the start of verse two.....other than that, this song absolutely rocks.

Other notes:

Rachel is happy to report that "Kissy-Boy" is officially not at the new school, so, no more terror on the playground.

Robbie has to get a "psuedo-tuxedo" to perform w/Intermediate Chorus this year, and, gets to try out for All-Regional Chorus. Yikes! Has it been 20 years since I sang in that group??!!??

Bonnie's suddenly very happy. That's the only comment I'm gonna make....:)

Remnants of Jeanne in the house tonight and tomorrow...then, maybe, finally, the hurricanes will stop. It's NOTHING here, like in Florida. We only had a one-night surprise flood (though we did have casualities), it still pales in comparison to what's happened to Florida, the town of Sebastian in particular.

Well, this blog entry was written by someone with "Rev" at the start of his signature....hope this doesn't box in your thinking. Think I'll take my Abacab CD with me to work tomorrow...

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Game III: Lee-Davis 31, Patrick Henry 14


As great as the Patriots performed last Monday night against Atlee, they were as bad on Friday night in the 46th Tomato Bowl.

I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. I certainly expected a much closer game than 55-0, but I really thought Patrick Henry was the better team. Reasons for the beating (and it was a beating):

1) Battle on the line of scrimmage: L-D's offensive line created holes, Patrick Henry's did not. L-D's front seven swarmed around RJ Waters and stopped the sweeps, plus negated Bruce Mines' carries up the middle. Brandon Randolph ran at will for the Confederates.

2) Attitude: In hindsight, it's easy to believe the team came into the game thinking they already had it "in the bag". That 55-0 win four nights earlier actually, in my opinion, hurt them more than helped. The reason I say this is, with the exception of a short burst to start the 2nd half, there was little fire, little emotion being shown by a team playing their biggest rival. Kinda reminds me of Super Bowl XXXVII (and as a Raider fan, I don't care to remember it), when the Raiders looked like they were playing an exhibition game, not the World Championship.

When Lee-Davis scored to make it 17-7 early in the 4th (it was 10-7 at half; no scoring in the 3rd), you could see it on the looks of the Patriots' faces.....they were both stunned and defeated. I told my broadcast partner Stubby, "It's over". And it was....but not without some last-minute controversy.

So, Lee-Davis recovers an onside kick with :49 left, and they lead by ten. They have the ball at midfield. They call a timeout. I figured it was to decide which knee the QB would kneel on. Kneel twice, the game's over.

Think again.....first down, and they hand it off to their tailback, who runs through the defense for a 49-yard touchdown. A needless touchdown. You know PH's kids thought they were gonna kneel and call it a night. On the air, I conjectured this might add some new controversy and fire to this long-standing rivalry. Stubby reminded us L-D might still smart from last year, when R.J. Waters broke the school season rushing record on their field the final night of the season, so maybe Brandon Randolph was close to some single-game school record or something. Today at church, someone reminded me that how many points you score counts in terms of the VHSL Point System used to determine playoff teams, so, in essence, the point system encourages you to run up the score....

I just want to know Coach Charlie League's reasoning for doing it. I would think that query crossed Coach Long's mind, too. That was the closest I came to be a "homer" on the air in my three seasons. I would hope if PH did the same thing to someone else, I'd be just as critical.

On anothe note, we were plenty critical of the team, especially recapping the game near the end. It simply was a very disappointing performance. Now they start Colonial District play and still can guarantee a playoff berth if they do one thing, win their last seven games. They won't win three more if they play the way they did Friday night. I hope the Monday night team returns for next Friday's game......:)

In the end, I try not to be overly critical of a high school football team, they're still kids for heaven's sakes. But this was the most critical I've been on-air for them. They've shown so much potential; I saw it as a loss mentally and emotionally much more than physically.


---I know I've promised the "PTA/PTO Report" and I will as soon as I can; it's a hilariously interesting story.

---I got my two new CD's in the mail from EBay; the latest Avalon CD, and Sheryl Crow's "C'mon C'mon", which I got solely for "Steve McQueen", and I had no idea she dropped the "S-Bomb" in the song (I'd only heard the part in the Wrangler TV ad and it hooked me.) It's still good, and, if I'm singing, I substitute "crap".

Much more to come, but for now, my wife is calling, and I think I'm gonna like why she's calling me.....:)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

What a great and telling song....

Before the song, a few headlines:

Looks like it's PTO, according to word on the first school newsletter, so the information gathering has begun, as I suspect they'll be looking at Bonnie and I to "get it started" (NOW what do I have myself into??!!?? Hee hee...)

Work goes nuts for 4th straight week....looks like another late-night Thursday, 'cuz I MUST leave Friday at 5pm to get to Patrick Henry by 6pm to ensure our booth space for the football broadcast.

Now, the song:

This couple's first CD was released in the summer of '91, and I remember adding this song to our rotation at the station thinking it sounded a bit alternative for us at the time, but I'm glad we played it. It didn't bring them "widespread" success in Contemporary Christian music, but it did help lay the foundation for their later success, and I'm glad, because I sure rooted for them. I love their music.

Scott and Christine Dente is "Out of the Grey". Christine has quite possibly the most beautiful voice ever created. Honest. It can be so delicate, yet strong, haunting, yet familiar. She's awesome.

I love this song, especially its meaning....it's very dear to my heart. Maybe you have someone in your life you want to make sure you see in heaven, too, especially if they're not around you now in your earthly travels. Check this out.....

Written by Christine Denté, Scott Denté & Charlie Pea

We don't say much
When we're around each other
I wish you'd tell me
How you feel
We do so much
Dancing around each other
Won't you reach out
And pull me in

So many things I wish you'd say
So much I would change

But I would let these wishes go
Push them all aside
If there was one thing
I could know for sure
Tell me that when this life is over
I will see you there
On the other side of heaven's door
This means more than anything
This is my wish for you

Do you know how much
I really love you
I wish I knew
How to show you more
I do so much
Thinking about you
But keep to myself
What am I waiting for

So many things that I should say
So much I would change

But I would let these wishes go
Push them all aside
If there was one thing
I could know for sure
Tell me that when this life is over
I will see you there
On the other side of heaven's door
This means so much more to me
This is the most important thing
This is my wish for you

Good night! Will this life ever slow down? Maybe I don't want it to.....:)

Monday, September 20, 2004

Game II: Patrick Henry 55, Atlee 0

This is my third season calling Patrick Henry football games. Tonight's performance was as close to perfect as I've seen.

We were "rained/stormed/tornadoed" out Friday night, so the make-up game was tonight (Monday), in front of alot less fans, unfortunately. Usually a Friday night game pitting two Hanover County High Schools would draw thousands. Monday night is another story, and that hurts the budget of the school's athletic department. That stinks.

Patrick Henry scored touchdowns on its first six possessions of the first half. With :38 to go in the half, they got the ball back. They took a knee to end the half. So, technically, you could say, "and on the 7th possession, they rested."

42-0 at the half. RJ Waters shows no sign of leg cramps tonight with 8 carries, 157 yards, and 4 TD's. Bruce Mines gets a TD, Troy Leftwich broke one open, so did week one star Dean Thomas, and back-up QB Jordan Harris got his 2nd of the season, too. Atlee had 2 yards total offense in the first half and didn't make a 1st down 'til their opening drive of the 2nd half.

PH had 290 yards of rushing offense....in the first half. They only attempted one pass all night. They didn't need to pass. What a performance.

Now, a quick turnaround to Friday night's Tomato Bowl, as PH looks to beat their biggest rival, Lee-Davis. This is the first Tomato Bowl in Ashland since 2001. Lee-Davis won tonight, too (we went off the air so early I got to hear the end of their game on the radio...and honestly, I think we do a better broadcast. :) )
so both teams are coming into Friday with victories.

It will be more of a game than the first two, but I don't see Patrick Henry losing unless the youngsters get too cocky and ahead of themselves after these first two games, winning them by a combined 96-12. I see no reason that PH shouldn't be 5-0 going into the home game with Freeman October 15th. We'll see...and I'll bring you the highlights every Friday night (or Monday if twisters break out again.....)


--We'd like to thank Dan Rather for joining us. How many CBS'ers really wish HE was retiring at year's end rather than Brokaw at NBC?

--We had the "PTA or PTO" debate at school last week, and I'm holding comment until the final vote is announced and the group begins to form. Then, trust me, I'll have plenty to say. Meanwhile, if you STILL don't believe the National PTA doesn't have any political agenda, look who they're partnering with for a "get out the vote and make schools better for our kids" event this week at one of my favorite sites in the world.

--Today's my buddy Kim's birthday. She's such a dear person, I can't believe I've only known her 5 years. Don't know what I'd do without her. Love you, Kim.....funny, you don't look 54....:)

--Rachel made an "office cubicle" to take to school tonight. It's so cute.

--Robbie got a tin of Yu-Gi-Oh cards last night since Mom didn't find him anything on her weekend shopping excursion to Williamsburg. It was me and the kids from noon Saturday to 630pm Sunday, and I'm happy to report I remembered how to be the chief domestic operator, and the house didn't burn or fall down. :)

See, I was "stay-at-home dad" from May 1997 to November 1999, to this day, two and one half of the best spent years of my life. :)

More later....gotta make sure I have a pair of clean shorts to wear to work in the morning, when the 8am temperature will be 50, and people will complain to me, "HOW CAN YOU WEAR SHORTS IN WEATHER LIKE THIS???". I'll say, "shorts season is now just gettin' started!!" :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

National Weather Service Forecast, Mobile AL 9/15/04 1043pm EDT

Hurricane warning through Thursday.
. Tornado watch until 11 pm cdt.
. Flash flood watch through Thursday.
Tonight. Hurricane force winds. Widespread showers and thunderstorms. Southeast winds 30 to 40 mph with gust to 55 mph becoming southeast 85 to 95 mph with gusts to around 120 mph. Lows in the mid 70s. Chance of rain 100 percent.

Thursday. Hurricane force winds. Widespread showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Southwest winds 60 to 70 mph with gusts to around 100 mph becoming west 35 to 45 mph with gusts to around 65 mph in the afternoon. Chance of rain 100 percent.

Thursday night. Mostly cloudy. Windy. Numerous showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 70s. West winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts to around 45 mph decreasing to 15 to 25 mph after midnight. Chance of rain 60 percent.

God bless the people of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ah....a little help??

Just a shout-out to whomever may be passing by this blog (and to those of you who have stopped by a few times, I'm forever grateful and wonder why you have so much free time...hee hee...)

One of my many "hats" is in radio commercial production. We're always looking for creative ideas. NO, we don't want rip-offs of current commercials. :)

If you know of any blogs regarding advertising, media, or copywriting, please let me know---we can always use the help, and I need to pay for my children's health care. :)


On a totally separate note; I hear from my wife that our meeting at the elementary school Thursday evening to discuss whether to form our parent/teacher group as a PTA or PTO could be very interesting. She talked to a "PTA" parent today with very definitive opinions. Also, several parents expressed concern with not being able to get to a 6pm meeting, so "ballots" are going out early; absentee if you will. I quite frankly am not comfortable with this; how can you effectively vote until you've heard about the two choices?

Oh, well---I'm just there because I felt the PTO side should be presented, since 65 percent of the new school population comes from a school which had/has a PTO. Whatever the final outcome is, I'll support, because I'll support kids. Let it be said, though (and I may have to show people this entry in coming weeks to prove this), that, as of September 14, 2004, I really can't see myself doing a board position this year on a PTA, PTO, EIEIO. Work is too laborious, too filled with pressure, and I have to make sure the church is certainly not neglected, so something has to give. For this year at least, it may be this. Note I said "may"; if there's a leadership vacuum, I'd be glad to help, but I don't expect that to be the case.

I just hope the parents now known as "Greenwood Parents" are intelligent and mature enough to be able to hold a good discussion, make an informed choice, then work together for the betterment of the best group of kids in Henrico County. :)

Oh, and my BP today is 160-105.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Pressure Up, so, Pressure's Up


No, not lopsided NBA scores. That is my blood pressure on Sunday and today, respectively. It began with a shaky trip to church yesterday, which ended in me turning around and driving carefully home.

Your kids won't remember this, but there used to be "horizontal" and "vertical" controls on your TV to make sure the picture didn't go "roly-poly". My horizontal control began to break down yesterday. I remember one time the scene in front of me just kinda move from right to left. I had the most difficult time keeping my eyes open. All this with my seven-year-old daughter in the back seat, watching The Lion King II.

I counted the exits to see how far I could go, and after 28 miles, I couldn't go any further. I took the exit, turned around, and headed the home way of 295, calling my wife in the process to try to explain the bizarre incident I was experiencing.

I left her on the cell phone the whole way home, updating her on when we hit a certain benchmark. She told me she'd come get me, but I was scared to pull over, thinking I might fall asleep or, worse, pass out, and scare the mess out of Rachel. Trust me, had I been in a position where driving would have been life-threatening, I would have pulled over.

We made it, immediately checked BP, and got the first reading. Medicine, and straight to bed. Yesterday was opening day of NFL football, and our fantasy league, usually one of the highlight days of my year. I saw a few plays on the TV, sound turned all the way down, just on while I spent the day sleeping.

The only football I really saw was the opening of the ESPN Sunday night game, because I was bound and determined to see Pat Summerall.

Because of the intense (and that's a mild descriptive word) pressure at work right now, I forced myself in. One-half day's work of problems, and when I go pick up Rachel from school and meet Mom at home as she arrives from work, we check BP again and get that 2nd figure. I'd been 150-100 before....but never 160-110. I immediately blamed it on a certain account executive who was driving me nuts today......

So, the doctor gets a call in the AM; I'm liable to have two doctor appointments tomorrow. Shoulder doctor at 330pm, my regular doctor.....well, we'll find out.

In the meantime, I'm going to catch a play or two of Green Bay/Carolina, live in the misery that I just figured out 45 minutes ago my fantasy team lost its opener, and get as much sleep as possible.

Irony thought of the day: September 12, 2004, I spend most of day in bed, missing church (work). September 12, 2002, I spend most of day in bed, missing work (radio), until the phone rang at 6pm with the news that Mama had been rushed to the hospital with a seizure. I pull myself out of bed and meet her there, and we get the horrific news that Mama's lung cancer was now in her brain. Thus began her final 107 days.

At least there wasn't horrific news yesterday......

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Game I: Patrick Henry 41, Hanover 12

It's back. Oh, it's my favorite time of year.....

Football!!! And not just the NFL, not just fantasy leagues, either. There is just something about spending a Friday night at a high school football game....the community comes together, the kids hang out (I know, I used to be one...), it's a great slice of Americana.

20 autumns ago this month I was embarking on my senior year of high school, and part of that ritual meant Friday night at the football game. If Patrick Henry wasn't home, I'd either check them out on the road, or go to another game with a friend from Governor's School. Friday night simply meant football, and friends.

In 2002, a long-time friend, Rob Kennedy, helped make a boyhood dream come true in the most special way possible. Up to that point, I had done most everything radio had to offer: news, morning drive, afternoon drive, interview host, commercial production, live remotes, anchoring Election Night, you name it, I had done it. Well, save two things:

1) Traffic reports (ground-bound or in a chopper, didn't matter)

2) Sports Play-by-Play.

I offered color commentary at a couple of high school basketball games in the 90's, but never had the chance to be the play-by-play guy, the "voice" of a team, as it were.

Rob has contact with the manager of the AM station in Ashland, just a few miles north of here, and where I graduated high school shortly after the discovery of electricity. The station needed a play-by-play man/woman for Patrick Henry football. Knowing it was my alma mater, Rob automatically thought of and recommended me. A couple of phone calls and an interview later, and I got the post.
I'll always, always be grateful to Rob for it.

2002, our first year, saw great football, games moved due to the sniper, and another PH playoff appearance, upsetting the top seed in the first round, losing a heartbreaker in the Regional Title game on a COLD night in Hopewell.

2003, it rained, then it was Isabel, I think it rained some more...
PH moved up from Division 5 to 6 (enrollment determines your division) and the fight for playoff berths was much tougher. 7-3 in Division 5 in 2002 meant playoffs. 7-3 in 2003 in Division 6 meant wait 'til next year.

Well, it's next year. :)

Tonight, I began my third season of play-by-play as the "voice" of the Patriots, 20 years to the month I started being the PA announcer my senior year at PH games (the county paid me $15 a game to do it, too!)

My partner, Andrew "Stubby" Price, has been there from the beginning. Now a graduate of Randolph-Macon, he's writing for Hanover's newspaper, the Herald-Progress and doing quite well. He is an absolute hoot to work with, and besides, he's an NC State fan!!! We work well together on the air, which is cool considering we've never spent a moment together outside the confines of a high school on a Friday night.

Stubby and I picked up right where we left off tonight. I felt good about the broadcast and think this will be a very interesting year. Four teams dominate PH's district, and PH is one of them. They have to play 2 of the other 3 on the road; they've lost to both of those clubs two years in a row......

Tonight, the opener against new county rival Hanover, the Hawks now in their 2nd year of existence. Several mental errors resulting in penalties, mostly in the 2nd half, and some dropping of the football resulting in some key turnovers that, in a game in late October, can mean losing a playoff berth, were their Achilles heels. Some of that is to be expected on opening night. But overall, PH should be happy with its first performance, a 41-12 win that saw fullback Bruce Mines punch it in 3 times, and the debut of tailback Dean Thomas, a sophomore, whose first varsity game is one to remember.....

Reasons: 1) 2nd carry from scrimmage gains the better part of 20 yards.
2) After Hanover scores to cut the lead to 14-6, Thomas takes the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the touchdown with 3:02 left in the first half, and PH never looked back from there.

3) He administered quite honestly the most crushing defensive hit I've ever seen in scholastic football. Hanover WR Robbie Bailey had broken free on a short screen and was destined for paydirt; Thomas raced across from the middle of the field, caught him at about the 10 yard line, and when they met, Thomas, who's not much bigger than a bug, literally picked Bailey up of his feet, bearhugged him, and bodyslammed him to the ground. Not maliciously, no personal foul play here, just a vicious, vicious hit. The whole crowd cried a collective "OOOOOHHHHHHH!!" when they witnessed it.

So, a good first night for the Patriots, who begin 1-0 (I can't remember the last time PH lost on opening night), Coach Long is one step closer to the record for most career wins by a coach in the Central Region, and now they head east, off Route 301, to Atlee High School, who got destroyed tonight by the other 2nd year team in town, Deep Run. Folks, this one may not be pretty. Or, Deep Run is a surprise and Atlee will give PH a run for its money.

We'll find out next Friday night, and, hey, if you can't make it to Atlee High School, coverage begins with the pre-game show at 7:05 on WHAN (1430AM), with Stubby and yours truly.

Getting to call my alma mater's high school football games on the radio.....I couldn't ask for more. I serve an awesome God!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Coming up next: Plague of Locusts!!

Okay, we can stop with the "horror movie" weather scenario! I'm sure our local TV stations are now very happy with their investment in Doppler Radar this, and Vortex Tracker that, and the "We're All Gonna Die 3000", or whatever those gadgets are called....

Today we welcome "Remnants of Frances", and, rather than 14 inches of rain in 9 hours, she decides just to throw nasty bands of storms containing the perfect set-up for....TORNADOES! LOVELY!

Our NBC affiliate, NBC12 has a good synopsis of what seems to be the worst of the tornadoes, in Bowling Green, north of Richmond, south of Fredericksburg, and home for several years to the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort AP Hill.

The tornado damaged trees, a pavilion, and more around their elementary school, where kids were held past the final bell as the storm hit around that time. Several almost-completed new homes were also demolished.

My hometown, Beaverdam, got not one, not two, but three storms today, at least two of them containing tornadic behavior. I'm watching the TV at work (shh!! Don't tell the boss!) as the radar pictures zoomed in and I knew the intersection just southeast of Beaverdam they were talking about. It's a "Y", rather than a regular intersection, and Ms. Virginia Lillard lived in the white house on the corner for many, many years. Both this afternoon and tonight, storms with "rotation" detected on radar went over that very intersection, and tonight's went right past the old church, and by Ed and Carlene's house in Ruther Glen. Prayerfully, there was no touchdown!

So, we've had about 7 hours of tornado coverage off and on from TV today, and for good reason; this weather is unusual for us. Gee, I'm not what defines "unusual weather" around here anymore....

Trust me, if Ivan gets to the mainland of the US, somehow, someway, he will leave a mark on Richmond. Sure seems like the others have!


FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!---It went VERY well. Mom volunteered at Greenwood, helping car riders get out and find their classrooms. I took pictures of Rachel (including the one featured on here) and Robbie and I helped her get upstairs to her new home, room 204. We met her teacher, Ms. Legee. She was very nice. I saw some of our old teacher friends from Longdale, and parents, and Rachel's friend Rose from last year. The school is wonderful; I'm so impressed with its simplicity and yet it's style.

Rachel loves her teacher, has one classmate from last year (Montel) and one from Kindergarten (don't remember the name...oops!) She eats lunch at 11:25.....

.....and so does Robbie! We take you now to the slightly-less crowded Brookland Middle School for day one of 7th grade, or, the second half of Robbie's public school career!! His best friend Travis shares two classes with him, and they eat lunch together on both even and odd days, so Robbie's psyched. I've signed my name 15 times in the last 27 hours. I hope none of them granted custody of Robbie to anyone....I admit to not reading all the fine print. :)

So, the school year is in, and early bedtimes are back, including mine, so a night-night I go.

Anyone have a umbrella impervious to locusts??


New year, new school, new dress! Rachel's first day at the all-new Greenwood Elementary School, September 7, 2004. Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Virginia's own Elliott Sadler brings it home in California tonight, cementing his top 10 championship position as NASCAR heads here to Richmond Saturday night. Posted by Hello

Labor Day: Events, Traditions, Changes

Labor Day Weekend.....means lots of things.....

--College Football season is getting underway. My NC State Wolfpack destroyed the hometown Richmond Spiders, 42-0, a result to be expected unfortunately for the Spiders....

--Summer vacation is OVER---and we've gone through the "go to school and see the class" routine, except I made one and missed one. So, Tuesday morning, I WILL be walking Rachel into her brand new school, for she will not start there without her dad knowing where her class is and who her teacher is....period. :)

--Time for the pool to close: Our family CEO reports, with the seven-day forecast the way it is, that if we don't get in the pool tomorrow, it's over. I haven't taken the plunge yet this year (thanks, shoulder....)

--Jerry Lewis---what a comic genius, even at 77, and he's still ticking every Labor Day. The telethon was a not-to-be-missed event for me as a kid; I collected money and made pledges and tried to stay up all night watching it several times. For the all the crap he's taken over the years (i.e.--he's exploiting these people to raise money), he's never missed a beat. So, while I may not endorse everything he does or believes (heck, I don't endorse everything I do!), I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and I dread the first Labor Day after his death. Maybe neuromuscular disease can die first, that's certainly my preference!

--NASCAR in......California??? It was inevitable, with NASCAR's push nationwide. You want to expand your audience; so, you use the holiday weekend in which "SC" to widen your presence?

A) South Carolina
B) Southern California

It's a no-brainer. A sad day for the tradition that is Darlington, but it's a new era for NASCAR. With anything in life, with growth comes change and adaptation.

--Another Weekend We Stay Home: It's pretty much a Witham family rule...we do NOT travel on holiday weekends unless we really, really have to. Too much traffic, too many idiots on the road, just not worth it, when there are around 47 other weekends year-round to choose from.

So, my month of blogging 'til 1 or 2am come to an end, as I'll begin the day at 630am effective Tuesday. I'm the bus in the AM, Mom handles the PM (our children do NOT ride the cesspool called the School Bus in our county; if my mom isn't the driver, it's not good enough!)

Good thing; puts me to work earlier....but does that really mean I'll get home earlier???? We'll see......

SHOUT-OUT: To Jason and Eileen Wiltshire, our new missionary friends we finally got to meet today. They were in town to visit Jason's grandma (our Elsie Rusnak) and they shared with us their work so far in Romania, where they will go full-time to minister in about a year. They both have a servant's heart and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to hang out with them a few moments today!

Enjoy your holiday, brush your teeth, take out your pressed clothes, and look out for kids crossing streets, ok? :)


Friday, September 03, 2004

Lots to pray about, or, I wish I were back working in news tonight...

It's almost time for the 630pm network news tonight, and, as I listened to my 5 inch TV at work (yep, I was still at work!), I thought to myself, what in the world is the lead story???

--Hurricane Frances bears down on Florida
--Former President Clinton hospitalized; heart surgery coming
--More than 200 killed in Russian School Terrorist Attack
--RNC Over; Bush/Kerry fighting on the stump

Well, politics should, and did, take a back seat...

With some anchors already in Florida, Frances came first on CBS and NBC. Peter Jennings over on the French-Canadian Channel...I...I mean ABC, started, admirably, with the Russian tragedy. That should have been first.

Reason? First, it's a stupid tragedy. Seeing children injured not just physically, but seemingly brainwashed by fear and horror. Just look at their faces as they were being helped out and given medical treatment. Second, it should remind us of the steps our terrorist enemies are willing to take to hurt, disrupt, and, quite frankly, destroy us (that's their ultimate goal, whether you want to believe it or not or whether you think they can do it or not...)
Muslim extremists will stop at nothing; they are taught to kill the enemy, the infidel. They won't capitulate or compromise when it comes to final outcomes. More than 200 people's lives being taken for NO reason just underscores this point....

Second should be Frances. It's an "upcoming" story rather than "ongoing/concluding". Yes, it's "ongoing" for evacuees, and I'm not diminishing the importance of this (remember, we had Gaston, the supposedly punchless storm, destroy part of our downtown Monday night), but the Russian story, for the moment, deserved top billing to inform us of, first, the tragedy, and second, the fact that the enemies in the war on terror have no boundaries of taste.

After Frances, we look at the surprising news regarding President Clinton. Politically, I couldn't/can't stand him. His attempt at "sermonizing" in New York last Sunday made me mad; I try not to "spin" in the pulpit, just preach Truth. Clinton was his usual best in "spinning" behind their mic.

They showed him at a book signing in Louisiana on Wednesday, I believe, and he did not look good; he looked weak and fatigued. Now we know why....our prayers need to be with him, Hillary, Chelsea, and the entire family. My father had bypass surgery in 1987, and, yes, since then, many consider this to have become "normal surgery", but whenever you're messing with the heart, there is no such thing as a "normal surgery", so keep the former President lifted up in prayer for a complete recovery.

Finally, we can let politics come into play. Bush/Kerry....Bush/Kerry....let it begin. Time says Bush is up 11 points....I'd like to be happy with that, but I don't think it's true, plus, Labor Day polls are pretty much meaningless. I'll start looking at them after October 20th.

Can you tell I've spent the better part of 20 years in the media??
I would LOVE to have been the executive producer of a national newscast tonight, deciding what to cover first, and how extensive to cover each issue.....

Oh, and the political spinning of Clinton's surgery has already begun. My first thought was, "that takes him off the campaign trail", but I heard a comment on the news tonight that I had to agree with....this could be a rallying point for Kerry, i.e., win one for Bill, so to speak. Ironic that Clinton will probably have more influence on the results of the '04 election than he could have in 2000, when Al Gore basically kept him at arm's length, asking him to stay...hide....disappear in the Rose Garden.


--The injured children and teachers in Russia, and especially the families of those who've lost loved ones, especially children.
--The people of Florida for protection from Frances
--Fmr. President Clinton and his family

What a week. Massive flash flooding Monday....I worked 38.5 hours the past 3 days, didn't see my family for 2 days, got to Robbie's middle school orientation, missed Rachel's elementary orientation today (which really ticked me off because I STILL haven't been in the new school!!), and now all these headlines and events.

SHOUT-OUTS: To Blonde Sagacity, and Leah Simone, two of my favorite blogs. Thanks for the kind words from y'all (y'all is Southern for "you guys"...hee hee....)

I have a constant feed of the NBC affiliate in Miami streaming here on the computer, watching their local coverage of Frances approaching. For a weather junkie like me, it's about the "best fix" there could be.

MUSIC TODAY: Tony Vincent's 1995 debut album from Star Song, especially the songs "High" and "Out of My Hands". Synth based, drum-infused 90s Christian pop. His career is going in a different direction now, quite interesting.

I'm going into a new rotation of CD's and am so glad to have such a variety of Christian CD's, and glad I'm rebuilding my collection of the "music of my youth", i.e., the 80s and much of the 70s.

In fact, my wife has already asked me to compile my wish list for Christmas....maybe I'll throw a list together, blog it, then get you to offer your suggestions (approaching 40, I find myself forgetting more and more....I think it's because my brain needs to be defragged!)

God protect the people of Florida, and comfort our brothers and sisters in Russia....


Gaston Update and RNC Thoughts...

Update on Gaston's destruction in Richmond.....

We now have eight confirmed deaths in the area, mostly from people being swept away in their cars. There is incredible footage on TV from the videocam of a city bus showing the water rampaging by the bus, carrying other vehicles. Then the driver and few passengers trapped realize there's a woman on the roof of her car beside the bus, so they open an emergency side window, two people hold someone while they dangle out of the bus and pull the woman to safety. Unbelievable to witness.

Good news: Shockoe Bottom reopens at 9am today (Friday 9/3), but residents have to show some sort of proof of residency (I'm thinking, what if it's all up in my apartment??) Some roads in the area probably won't be reopened for weeks, maybe even months.

We are now thankful that it does not look like Frances will make that dreaded northwest-north turn up the East Coast, but I'm praying for the people of Florida especially, but also Alabama, Georgia and others. This "tropical depression", Gaston, reminds us all that you don't have to live on the coast to lose your life because of a hurricane....

On now to NYC and the RNC...

I've watched the last two nights on a 5 inch B&W TV in my office, working ridiculously late (getting home between 1130 and midnight both nights)....somehow between the holiday weekend, football broadcasts starting, and whatever else, we were deluged with commercial work this week. This too, I'm happy to say, shall pass, and it beats the alternative!!

Wednesday night: I thank Zell Miller for his stand, his honesty, and his bold frankness. Everybody's "so scared" to tell the truth, and now everyone (in the "media") is labeling him "mean". Gee, he wasn't "mean" in '92 when he went off against Bush 41....what's the difference, eh?

Zell spoke truth, and I loved it....no man who has spent 20 years of Senate service constantly attempting to gut the defense budget, who voted against Desert Storm for crying out loud (let's see, a Kerry world would have Saddam Hussein in power over Iraq and Kuwait, and by now, most likely Saudi Arabia...and the price of a barrel of oil would be......) has any business being our commander-in-chief. I don't care if he did wear a military uniform. Gomer Pyle did, too, would you vote for him??

John Kerry's military "tour": 4 months.
Dick Cheney's service as 2nd in Command to the Military: 4 years.

You decide the experience edge.....

Cheney was, well, as I expected, and that's great. He's laid back, thoughtful, but will tell it like it is. Gee, I note a developing pattern here....mediawonks and liberals don't seem to care much for people who tell it like it really is (Bush....Cheney....lump ol' Zell in there now since they've ex-communicated him).

Peter Jennings, as Zell walked out, noted that "he is retiring this year", i.e.--he wouldn't do this "for his family's future" if he had to run for re-election. Peter, quick word of advice, don't say that within earshot of Zell. Ask Furball's Chris Matthews what happens when you mess with Zell.....

Tonight: Bush did fine. I actually heard an NBC wonk correctly point out something; he's definitely more passionate when talking about the war on terror and defending our nation. I think some of that is because how much emphasis he's been forced to place on it during his first term (did anyone use the word "terrorism" during either convention in 2000??).

I was happy overall, totally not surprised that the well-behaved, respectful left had a couple of plants in the audience, and like lots of his ideas, especially the "zones" for economic/job development. We've had them in our area for years. I used to work in an area where it had really, really gone downhill. I'm at a Christian radio station working, at night, fearful because someone might stumble out of the bar across the street, come in, and do whatever.

George Allen (then Governor, now our US Senator in VA), approved "enterprise zones" that Chesterfield County took full advantage of. Now I drive down the two-road, three-mile stretch, and the only thing that looks run-down is where I used to work!! It's a shame, too--the station went to a new location in 1996 just before I left, and the company obviously has spent zero dollars to at least keep the old place (since it's still being used for housing electronic equipment for companies renting space on the station's towers) looking, well, as if it weren't condemned.

I'm on a rant, anyway---the bottom line is, today there's a Home Depot, a Food Lion shopping center, a Wawa, revitalized storefronts selling new boats (marine store), a new McDonald's, multiple new hotels, etc....NONE of which were there ten years ago.

Give the American entrepeneur incentive and he/she will come!

Bottom line: For our future, our safety, for steady, experienced leadership who puts America first....

"We don't need to go to the John!"

As you see with the link, he's already whining about military service records....let's see....they didn't matter in 1992 when a draft dodger ran for President as a Democrat...certainly there's no double standard here....

Let the campaign begin!!! Go George W!!!!!

Oh, and Dick Cheney, too. (With apologies to the Jib Jab folk)

Hopefully, over the weekend, less work, more blogging, and back to stuff other than politics, floodwaters, and 28 hours of work in two days.....


"Black Tuesday???"

The following is a portion of the transcript from Larry King's show post-convention coverage, Tuesday night/Wednesday morning east coast time. The comment that leapt out at me was made by Jacque Reid of BET Nightly News.

Read the whole thing (I wanted to paste her whole answer, not just one part), but note the bold print. Had a Fox News white woman said this, people would want her out of a job and deported....

KING: Jacque are blacks going to turn out?

REID: You know what, African Americans turn out when their passionate and the majority of...

KING: Are they passionate?

REID: They're very passionate with their dislike of President Bush and there's a lot of get out the vote campaigns going on and what we're hearing is that a lot of African Americans are going to go to the polls this time around.

KING: The lieutenant governor of Maryland didn't touch a lot of blacks tonight or did he touch whites who want to be impressed with the feeling of appealing to blacks?

REID: Well, it was interesting to see him in prime time and Rod Paige was out here tonight. We talked earlier about the former Miss America. She's African American. We had the Harlem Boys Choir. We jokingly around BET called this Black Tuesday.
It seemed to have a black theme with the compassionate conservatism and maybe it was part of that outreach to the African American community. We say we hope there are some things for us to cover for the rest of the week. They might have used it all up tonight.

But, you know, Michael Steele, he gave a good speech. I mean the crowd was a little distracted but if you listened and especially towards the end, it was very strong and he talked about the civil rights agenda of the Republican Party and how it started with Lincoln and just continued on and he talked about how African Americans broke away in 1964 but now it's time to come back. So, he hit on some very good points.

End of transcript....

BLACK TUESDAY??? Yeah, let Rush Limbaugh have all black guests and black callers one Tuesday, call it Black Tuesday, and see what happens.....

Yeah, I know, she said, "jokingly"....the point here isn't whether she meant it or not, the point is she gets a free pass, and a conservative "jokingly" doing this would be asked to kill themselves for the betterment of our society.

Hypocrisy...gotta love it.