Sunday, December 31, 2006

All Things Witham: 2006 in the Witham Nation

Good news!

No broken bones.
No unscheduled hospital trips.
No major hurricanes.
No blizzards.
No rationing of Mountain Dew needed.

It's always good to start a year in review blog entry with some good news.

Now for reality. Hee hee.....

I'm not purposely going for chronological order; I'm too old to remember that stuff now. :)

January began with change. No, really, I mean it! We switched around our cubicles in our office (there are four of us, and three switched; one remained stationary), and it ended up being one of the toughest psychological battles of the year, for several reasons. As of now, I'm still not totally comfortable there, but it's much better than 12 months ago.

The New York Giants received a home version of the NFL Playoffs when Carolina promptly ran them off the field. The Colts choked again.

But just when you needed an emotional boost, it was the return of one of the five things I live for:


More shortly.

Finishing 2006 on the job, it was the first year since 1986 where I only held one job the entire calendar year. Good thing, because work at work is, well, always piling up. One of my employees saw her position eliminated, and we had a late year change in my department; I'm very excited about the person taking over the post. OH!!! I took a full week of vacation without going into the station in six years! I was getting used to that "vacation" stuff, I highly recommend it!!

2006 in sports saw the aforemention Giants dismissal, followed by two teams showing up this fall; one who wins, and one that implodes. They've backed into the playoffs and I'm sure Philadelphia will take care of them once and for all.

The Super Bowl was a bore. Totally. Halftime, too. I cannot stand the Rolling Stones.

NC State had their usual season, at least getting into the NCAA Tournament. After so many years NOT making the tourney in the 90's, I'll take a trip to the Dance anytime! They bowed out after a second round loss. Then Herb went west, several people snubbed the Pack, before they went old school and chose Sidney Lowe to be coach. FINALLY----a connection to the glory days of Jimmy V.

Oh, and two words describe March Madness.........GEORGE MASON??

The win against UConn in the Regional Final was my number two favorite game of all-time in the NCAA Tourney, behind, of course, the '83 Final. "THEY WON IT!! ON THE DUNK!"

Peter Angelos still owns the Orioles, so we'll skip baseball. We made it to one Richmond Braves game; the team's future being a big area story in 2006, when we heard of 4, 377 possible places to build a new stadium to keep the R-Braves, all of which stunk.....until someone finally realized that building/refurbishing at/near the current facility, combined with revitalization of that neighborhood, could end up making the baseball park the centerpiece of a new area of sports, bars, restaurants, parking, et a night at the park could be an "experience".

The BEST sports event of 2006, without a doubt: "The Carolina Hurricanes Have Won The Stanley Cup!!!!!" What a ride; especially the finals against Edmonton. I was livid after they gave away Game 5 at home, and didn't show up for Game 6. But, when I was very shaky about their hopes, their came through in Game 7. The Cup's in Carolina! Whoo hoo!!!

Then it was wait for Football Training Camp, POF and Patrick Henry Football broadcasts! PH finishes 8-2, losing to Hermitage 41-14 in the final game, costing them a playoff berth. The Deep Run game was by far the best game of the year, with it ending the same, yet exactly the mirror image, of their 2005 game. The home team won in the first OT session, when the visiting team was stopped attempting a two-point conversion to win the game.

2005: Patrick Henry 20, Deep Run 19
2006: Deep Run 21, Patrick Henry 20

AND......CURLING at the Winter Olympics! Had it on TV every day at work, and even got a co-worker interested when he realized the women curlers are babes!

Television played a bigger role in our house in 2006 than maybe in any year since we got married. Wifey became "the easily addicted drama watcher". Dad endured the following:

Lost, Invasion, Greys Anatomy, Numb3rs, Psych and Heroes.

Dad accepted: Monk, Desperate Housewives, The 4400, NCIS, and The Unit.

Then Dad saw Mom get into: CSI and CSI: Miami; Vanished, and Standoff.

Dad enjoyed sharing in: Gilmore Girls, The Dead Zone.

Dad thoroughly enjoyed: The Closer. Easily my second favorite "show" (news and sports not included) on TV behind............

MOM AND DAD'S ONE TV APPOINTMENT: Jack Bauer, Chloe, CTU, and the gang. "24"!!!!

After season four ended with Jack walking away into the sunrise having to shed his very identity, we wondered how in the world the producers would top it. No problem, as we quickly found out.

One complaint: Frank Flynn resumed being Jack Bauer much, much too quickly. Other than that, it's hard to find flaws.

Plus, I will, for once, feed my ego, for suggesting the return of the Chinese, which indeed came to pass at the end of the 24 hours. The last scene of season five was exactly what I thought the last scene of season four was going to be!!

Now, a quick look ahead:

--President Palmer's brother will now be President. He's bad news now. I still say HE was the one who outed Jack; NO ONE ELSE was in the hotel room when he perfectly positioned his brother, David, at the window where he could be assassinated by a sniper.

--I hope it takes at least three or four hours for Jack to get back on American soil; as well as find a Gillette.

--And I STILL SAY, at whatever season they decide to wrap it up.....Jack and Chloe must get together. Period.


Robbie's 2006: He finishes middle school (already??!!?), enjoys another choral field trip to Busch Gardens, starts playing at the weekly Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments at Books-A-Million, and starts high school. (High School??!!??) He turns 14, has some lady friends, and got maybe his favorite Christmas present ever when he and I went to the WWE Armageddon pay-per-view LIVE here in Richmond earlier this month.


Rachel's 2006: Finished third grade (her hardest year yet); started fourth grade (she likes!.....except for some classmates who don't like her/it's more like they're jealous), had the flu at the same time as Mom, was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder in April after having MAJOR separation issues from Mom after returning to school. Spends mucho time with her cousins, has one spend the night almost every Friday night. Is in love with Howie Mandel.


2006 will be remembered for:

---The Go-Go's Concert, May 15th; Rachel and I went and I had no voice!! Couldn't holla! What a great show!
---Mom's Caribbean Cruise, November 9th thru 18th. Me and the kids experiencing lots of "missing Mom". VERY happy to see her at the airport terminal late that Friday night, home safe.
---Getting a sneak peak of "Happy Feet" while Mom was gone.
---The Match Game Hour, 11 to midnight on GSN.
---Letterman, Rupert G, and, of course, "Will It Float?" Best hometown newspaper blooper, in a supermarket ad......."Boneless Bananas, 10 lbs for $1.00".
---Play-mania debuting on GSN (I LOVE MEL!!!)
---Waking up to Fox and Friends, not the radio, for the 2nd year in a row.
---Mom's Ob-Gyn procedure in November, followed by Lap-Band Surgery in December.
---Dad? Who's Dad? He works or sleeps!
---The "heat" of the summer, discovering our HVAC is too small to cool the house on a 95 degree day. Two window unit air conditioners, anyone?
---Summer #7 of the backyard pool.
---Getting to know the first shift workers at Ukrops.
---Getting to know the second shift workers at McDonalds.
---Surviving "Eliott Yamin" mania, when, not only do my co-workers in the office go ga-ga for him, HE COMES TO THE RADIO STATION one day and we're given specific instructions where we can and cannot be while he's there. I just went in the back room, went to my office, and hoped it was okay to run 10 feet down the hall to the kitchenette to get a plastic fork.
---The second time he came, this past fall, nobody noticed. But I did see him.
---Learning how to communicate via email/phone messages when work prevents you from getting to talk with your friend.
---Yes.....lots of weekend sleeping.
---A trip to Busch Gardens to meet Seka and friends.
---Dad shocks the world and takes the kids to Busch Gardens one nice August day without Mom, and without Mom even knowing it!!!
---Rachel has a piano recital and begins her second year of lessons. Watch out Van Cliburn!!!
---Our summer trip to Monticello.
---The kitties are definitely full-grown cats.
---Listening to CD's in the car rather than Richmond radio.
---Goodbye to my Cougar. My last drive: March 9, 2006, coming home from work on a cold night with the broken drivers-side window all the way down.
---Hello, Ford Windstar! I acquire it when Mom buys a conversion van, since she may have up to five kids with her on any given day.
---The Brick Oven Bistro.
---They go in the Ashland Wal-Mart, I sit in the van. :)
---Watching the entire Indy 500 for the first time in ages! See what Danica Patrick does to me?
---A car crashing into the Wonder Bread store on Staples Mill. Front windows and door destroyed; first row of bread still perfectly stacked.
---Tropical Storm Ernesto. Lots of rain, no repeat of Gaston, but Battery Park got nailed. A sad scene for so many residents.
---No snow. The only significant snow of last winter was in December of '05.
---Mom and the kids' holiday weekend trip to see Mom's best friend Stephanie outside of Greensboro, NC.
---Low key Thanksgiving and Christmas!
---Thank you, Dr. Buxton!
---Goodbye to Crown Gas Stations.
---Citgo equals Hugo Chavez. No more stops at Citgo.
---$3 per gallon for awhile. Currently $2.17. $1.49? Never again.
---Katie Couric took my job as anchor of the CBS Evening News.
---Church family reunions at a couples' dinner, the "24" finale party, and church on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
---Mom's annual "if at first you don't like the way you rearrange the great room, rearrange it again!"
---Glenn Beck's new TV show.


In 2006, we said goodbye to :

Gerald Ford (38th President of the United States)
Paul Lindblad (1970s pitcher--Kansas City Royals)
Lou Rawls (You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine)
Don Stewart (Guiding Light's Mike Bauer)
Jack Snow (LA Rams wide receiver, then broadcaster)
Ron Jessie (NFL wide receiver)
Marc Potvin (NHL player)
Shelley Winters (The Poseidon Adventure)
Wilson Pickett (singer)
Gene McFadden (Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now)
Coretta Scott King (widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Darren McGavin (Kolchak: The Night Stalker)
Don Knotts (Barney Fife)
Dennis Weaver (McCloud)
Anthony Burger (Southern Gospel pianist, toured with Bill Gaither)
Curt Gowdy (what sport did he not call??)
Johnny Grunge (WCW's Public Enemy)
Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster)
Caspar Weinberger (Secretary of Defense under Reagan)
Lyn Nofziger (Press Secretary under Reagan)
Buck Owens (Hee Haw, Saturdays at 7pm on Channel 6)
Ray Meyer (DePaul Basketball Coach)
Maureen Stapleton (actress)
Peter Tomarken (No Whammies, Big Bucks, STOP!!)
Boom Boom Geoffrion (Montreal Canadiens star, Lite Beer ad fame)
Kirby Puckett (and we'll see you tomorrow night!)
Dana Reeve (husband of the late Christopher Reeve)
Steve Howe (LA Dodger pitcher)
Zola Levitt (Messianic Jewish broadcaster)
June Pointer (The Pointer Sisters)
Steve Mizerak (pool champion, Lite Beer ad alumnus)
Craig "Ironhead" Heyward (NFL Fullback)
Lloyd Bentsen (Senator, Dukakis running-mate in 1988)
Dan Ross (Cincinnati Bengals tight end; scored in Super Bowl XVI)
Johnnie Wilder, Jr. (founder of Heatwave..."Boogie Nights", "Grooveline")
Floyd Patterson (world heavyweight boxing champion)
Earl Woods (Tiger's dad and mentor)
Aaron Spelling (Ladies? Hi, Charlie!)
Billy Preston (Nothing From Nothing.....)
Red Buttons (The Poseidon Adventure)
June Allyson (The Glenn Miller Story; Depends commercials)
Jan Murray (game shows)
Glenn Ford (actor)
Bruce Gary (drummer for The Knack)
Mike Douglas (talk show host)
Bob Thaves (Frank and Ernest)
Craig Kusick (Minnesota Twins 1st Baseman)
Byron Nelson (PGA Golfing legend)
Ann Richards (thorn in George Bush's silver foot)
Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter)
Bob Mathias (Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist)
Red Auerbach (THE Boston Celtics)
Marijohn Wilkin (wrote "One Day at a Time")
Joe Niekro (pitcher, Phil's brother)
Sandy West (The Runaways)
Jane Wyatt (Father Knows Best)
Don Christensen (cartoonist)
Christopher Glenn (CBS Radio and "In The News")
Freddy Fender (Tex-Mex singer)
Johnny Callison (Philadelphia Phillies)
Cory Lidle (Yankees pitcher, NYC plane crash)
Ivan Murrell (MLB Outfielder with Padres, Astros, Braves)
Buck O'Neil (Negro League star; ambassador)
Pat Dobson (Orioles 20-win pitcher)
Bo Schembechler (Michigan Football Coach)
Tiger Conway (Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling)
Gerald Levert (R&B Singer)
Jack Palance (Oscar-winning actor)
Ed Bradley (CBS News; 60 Minutes)
Johnny Sain (Spahn and Sain and pray for rain!)
Paul Mauriat (Love Is Blue musician)
Saddam Hussein (evil)
Chris Brown (MLB player 1980's)
Jose Uribe (MLB player 1980's; teammate of Brown)
James Brown (Get in the hot tub!)
Joe Barbera (Hanna-Barbera)
Larry Sherry (LA Dodger pitcher)

---------------------------we interrupt at 11:59pm.........

The ball is dropping, Cody is joining me, Robbie's in his room, Uncle Frank's out, and it's 2007!!!

The Year of "40" has arrived. Where's the Metamucil? Where's the Depends? Somebody run to Wal-Mart! I need Geritol!!


We continue......

Don Jardine (Destroyer/Super Destroyer, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling)
Mike Evans (Lionel Jefferson)
Lamar Hunt (owned KC Chiefs, began AFL, named Super Bowl "Super Bowl")
Peter Boyle (puttin' on the ritz!---Young Frankenstein)
Jeane Kirkpatrick (former UN Ambassador)
Andra Franklin (NFL Running Back--Miami Dolphins)
Lloyd Wright
Roger Hedgepeth


And, in closing, the five top events of 2006:

5) WWE Armageddon----Dad and Robbie's first-ever live wrestling show.

4) Season Five of "24"----provided great fun w/wifey, and a great email discussion group every Tuesday morning!

3) Mom's 40th birthday; featuring surprise party and surprise from Dad. :)

2) The Go-Go's; Live at Innsbrook on May 15th. Rachel and I go "Head Over Heals" for the fab five!

1) Mommy's LapBand Surgery, setting up a healthy future for her, and radical life changes in the Witham Nation.

Happy 2007 everybody!

The year of "40".


Saturday, December 30, 2006

And on the last Saturday night of the year......

....I reflect back upon the trip back in time my brother and I had today, as we took part of the afternoon and drove up to Beaverdam, our hometown. I've done this at least a dozen times or so over the years, but today's trip was THE MOST SURPRISING one I've ever experienced.

You always expect to see new homes being built, since the town is only 40 to 45 minutes from Richmond in a very popular suburban county. Hanover is a "two-part" county. The western portion has always been very rural, and Beaverdam is at the most northwestern point of the county, so the farthest away from Richmond. The other side of Hanover (which is basically cut down the middle by Interstate 95) is much closer to the eastern side of Richmond, so it was developed much earlier. So, by 1985 when I left Beaverdam for college, my home was still in its quaint rural setting, while Mechanicsville in Eastern Hanover had almost become overdeveloped commercially on Route 360 around a high school, and houses were popping up here and there.

Well, Hanover leadership apparently went from liberal to conservative when the questions of developing Western Hanover came up. By this time, Glen Allen had been transformed from a quaint historical village into a large conglomerate of an area that need three different zip codes.

LARGE commercial development, then the advent of many subdivisions, cause "Richmond" to creep closer and closer to Western Hanover. This growth all took place in neighboring Henrico County, so Hanover avoided the development issue, but had become more accessible for people working in Richmond who didn't want to live the city life.

So, in the past 20 years, houses started to pop up, first along Route 33 between Glen Allen and Montpelier (the "enemy" town of Beaverdam in the Southwest quadrant of the county), then around Montpelier, then on Route 715, the main road between Montpelier and Beaverdam.

So, today, a trip to Richmond from my old home in Beaverdam is like 35 minutes, rather than 45 minutes plus, since Ukrops has a store much further west on Staples Mill Road, etc. :) It also means more jobs are closer to Beaverdam, too.

All that being said, it seems major home development finally broke through up at home. There's an old dirt road just above my old homestead (which was a parsonage then, by the way), and I'd read some development was on it, so we took the dirt road to its end, turned around and came back out. Back at the road, you resume straight on 715 and a tenth of a mile to your right is my one and only childhood home.

Just as we're preparing to slow down to view as much of the house and its surroundings as we can while driving, I let out the biggest "WHOA!!!" I've ever shouted. To the left, was a road. A new road. A road where the woods my brother played in for years used to stand. Seeing a new house somewhere is one thing. Seeing A NEW ROAD almost in front of my old house is another. I stopped at it, then got back on 715 so we could see the house. A young couple bought it a few years back and the outside looked basically unchanged (they've added a nice shed where Dad used to park the school bus) but I've been told the inside has lots of TLC. :)

I drove down to the next dirt road, went by Union Baptist Church, and around the old dirt road where on more than one occasion I drove a little too fast, trying to make sure I got my girlfriend home by her midnight curfew! I knew a new subdivision had been started at the other end of the dirt road, near her old house; I had driven in what parts had been established a few times over the years.

Then, thanks to the thinking of Uncle Frank, he put two and two together. At the end of the main road of the subdivision has been another road. Turn right, and it ends after just a few lots. Turn left, and there were new lots up for sale over the years, but that road wasn't very long, coming to a point where, unless you owned a dump truck, you had no business trying it.

Well, the dump trucks obviously made it through to the other side, because this was the road that, now completed, came out almost in front of the parsonage. Nearing that road's end today I told my brother, "we've never seen our house from this view before!!!"

So once where the woods reigned supreme and young boys acted like Daniel Boone, not needing a game controller and a Playstation to stimulate imagination, now stands many very nice homes (big enough that we can't afford one of them!) with more lots available.

So the growth continues. Exponentially. If I return once a year from now on, I fully expect to see accelerated growth and will be surprised if i do NOT see it. The exact opposite of the mindset I've had for 21 years.

Oh, and in the old cowpasture next to our back yard where we played football, baseball, et al.....about where the barbed wire fence always was.....we saw some heavy equipment parked there. So, soon, where cows once mooed and where I once walked a half-mile behind the house to a pond at the back of the cowpasture, should be replaced with rooms.

As Peyton Manning says in the latest MasterCard commercial to the guys who let the piano (I think) get away from the moving truck and it heads downhill to its inevitable demise, "They're not saying 'boo', they're saying 'mooooooversss..'".

The times, oh they are a'changin.


There should be enough Doritos left at your local store now to top off your New Years Celebration.

He won't need anymore.



So, on this night when Saddam Hussein was finally, finally executed...............

CBS News has an "exclusive" with the most bloodthirsty commander of the Taliban, Mullah Dadullah. The interview is filmed at the Afghan/Pakistani border. The report on TV shows the Taliban blowing up a US/NATO coalition vehicle.

If he's so flippin' dangerous and an enemy of America, WHY IN THE WORLD DID THEY LET HIM GET AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the most wanted people by the United States in the entire world is in front of CBS News and they do......nothing.


I'm sorry. I just shake my head; I simply don't understand.

Next, The Early Show sends Harry Smith to the border to do a cooking segment with Osama Bin Laden??!!!????

Ah, heck.....bring 'em back to America while you're at it, let him cook on the Rachael Ray Show, then get him back to whatever cave you found him in.

What's the difference between my suggestion and what CBS just did?


Except poor Rachael isn't involved.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Quick news and notes......

This morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch front page concerning the death of President Ford was incredibly classy and touching. Probably the best obituary front page photo I've ever seen them published (and I delivered their papers for 14 years).

John Edwards is running for President. Yawn. Joe Biden will get a double yawn.

There were, like, three more bowl games today. Why? A friend at work mentioned all the empty seats at a bowl game in California last night between Florida State and UCLA. I guess so. Do you think fans of schools of that caliber are going to go to San Francisco to see an Emerald Bowl? (Note the "spin" on the attendance figure in paragraph two of the story on the game's website.) Apparently, UCLA fans weren't even excited by the fact they didn't have to leave the state to see the game!

Now, what's the over/under on Miami fans flocking to Boise, Idaho for the MPC Computers Bowl?? 500? Am I being generous??

R.I.P. to my one and only Mama, who passed four years ago tonight. Doesn't seem that long. I continue to miss her, and always will.

In conclusion, 17 days until the return of Jack Bauer and "24"!!!! Therefore, you'll know what over half of the blog entries will be effective January 15th!!


Third annual New Years Eve blog, "year in review", coming Sunday night. Insomniacs rejoice!!

This, though, bothers me......

.....concerning "new" information from the late President Ford from "embargoed" interviews.

I saw the CBS 1984 interview clip Wednesday night where the President said how he really didn't want the phrase "long national nightmare" in the speech he gave immediately after taking the oath of office. That was interesting, and I could see why he'd want that saved.

But the headline on my CBS News Email at midday today talks of an interview Ford did in 2004 concerning his opposition to President Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

His opinion is fine, but, why did he want this embargoed?? He seemed to be very thoughtful and passionate about the subject, as I believe Ford would have been. He would have carefully thought it out before forming that opinion. But why embargo???

Did he not want to deal with the press, knowing they'd "use" him as a way to prove Bush wrong? My Lord, he was 91 at the time; I could see why he wouldn't want to deal with them.

Did he simply try to respect the office he once held?

For whatever reason, CBS News sure looked horrible to me today. I am sure I'm not the only person who saw this story and thought, "Dear Lord, he's not been dead two days and he's already being used as a political whip (no Congressional pun intended) against Bush."

Okay. Sorry. Just had to voice my opinion.

President Ford, a thanks.....

I'm sorry to hear of the passing of Gerald Ford, who was the non-politican President of sorts. It was perfectly fitting that he was the only President to serve and not be elected. He came up from our ranks and played a pivotal role in not only restoring faith in the Presidency, but bringing some normalcy back to American life. How?

The end, THE end of Vietnam.

No more Watergate pre-empting soap operas every day. That's NOT a smart-aleck statement. Watergate HAD to be "ended", "put behind" the American psyche. I was seven at the time of Nixon's resignation, and didn't understand a whole lot, but I liked Ford then and I better appreciate him in light of the prism of history.

I sure wouldn't have wanted the job. Think of "America-thought" in 1974.

We failed in Vietnam.
We were at the end of one cultural revolution.
Our governmental foundation had been rocked.

There were not a lot of people "waving the flag". The best two things to happen to America in the mid 1970's were Gerald Ford and the Bicentennial.

Well, the third was the premiere of Saturday Night Live, back when it was funny. :)

Thank you, President Ford, for a lesson in humility and leadership.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

POST #500----No, not the Gap Band and NOT a Lap Dance.....

First of all, Merry Christmas!

Secondly, I want to thank everyone who's been bored enough to check out this blog over its two plus years of existence. Today we type in post #500. For once in my life, I started something and actually kept it going.

On this Christmas Eve, what will our post #500 discuss? A radical change here in the Witham Nation.

My wife has been overweight since childhood. In our 19 years together, she's lost weight on two occasions, but "plateaued" at a level which was still over her ideal weight. Add some other health issues in recent years, and she recently decided to have Lap-Band Surgery.

What is it? Click here. She now has a "tiny" stomach, then the rest of her stomach. The goal is to change eating habits by having lesser portions, eliminating certain foods, emphasizing others, especially any food with lots of protein----then add regular exercise and water consumption.

Her goal? Lose 100 pounds over the next 12-24 months. And, as opposed to gastric bypass surgery, it provides gradual weight loss, rather than radical loss early. Here's a comparison of the two procedures.....

The number one reason she chose Lap Band was it did not require any stomach stapling, etc. It is also a reversible system. They can take the Lap Band out just as quickly as they put it in.

She stayed at the hospital overnight; came home around noon Friday. She is taking longer to back up and running than some others, so we're glad she doesn't return to work until January 5th (though the paycheck sure takes a hit!).

She has been and is still worried this "will not work". I continue to tell her it will because she has the will and strength to see it through. She wants to be physically able to be active with our kids, then with our grandkids.....we want to see her leg pains, back pain, HBP and thyroid conditions to improve or completely disappear.

And, yes, she was posed the inevitable question by several people, "Did you do this for your husband?" And, we ALL KNOW what they mean by that question.

Her answer to them has been, "He married he fat, didn't he??".

My answer is: well, yes, she did do it for me, so we can enjoy healthy active lives for many years to come (and now it's my turn to get some physical issues straight)!

BUT, it has NOTHING to do with any "lack of attractiveness" concerning her AWESOME body. It's always attracted me. :) :)

I will admit, though, that intimate relations after she loses 100 pounds should be very interesting, to say the least, in that new avenues and opportunities will arise. So, I'm excited about that and I know she will be, too, in time. Right now, her entire focus is on the culinary and lifestyle revolutions that have begun.

And looking at the five tiny and one medium-sized incisions 'round her belly.

We'll, of course, keep you posted on her successes, and, do you know anyone who has had the surgery? Click on "comments" below and give us your story!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This is HILARIOUS----and NOT insulting!

Caught the end of a new "Monk" commercial on USA the other night. They have taken the early 90s rap song "Down with O.P.P" and turned it on its ear.

Are you down with O.C.D??

I can guarantee you there will be some people with O.C.D., some medical professionals, and some plain ol' fussbudgets out there who will get "insulted" by this "Monk-Mocking" of the disorder.

OCD has been a part of my life for, well, most of it. The real onset was at age 12, but I can remember things before that which, had people understood the disorder in the 1970's, would have signaled the "train coming down the track" as it were.

I LOVE the song. Click the above link at get down with OCD!!!!

It's true--regular wrestling fans do have a voice!

I've visited regularly since discovering it several years ago. It's the BEST site on the web for not only wrestling news, but excellent commentary as well as some funny comedy and parodies.

After getting home from the Armageddon PPV Sunday night, I sat down immediately at the computer and emailed them my synopsis of the evening. Being a longtime fan, but a first-timer at an actual event, I was excited to share my thoughts.

They sure weren't obligated to, but they published it today! I am honored they decided to do that. Make sure you do two things:

1) click on the above link and assuage my ego (ha!)

2) save to your favorites if you're a wrestling fan. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, December 18, 2006

WWE Armageddon----it almost blew up before it started.....

So, tell me something......why would the Richmond Coliseum and WWE decide to keep thousands of fans in line outdoors (one line was so long it curved back to itself and formed a second layer...I know, we were in that line) until literally minutes before their PPV. It's not like they can start 10 minutes late, considering the show is on TV worldwide.

I was already fired up to blog about the WWE's lack of planning when, finally, we got into the building, walked around to our seats........and sit. My son and I sat down at 7:47 for the 7:45 bell time. Ironically, now I'm glad they started three minutes late in house.

My son's early Christmas present was a BIG hit; he was as happy as I've ever seen him. We had a wonderful time----it was the first live wrestling event for both him and me.

Robbie? He was psyched for every match.

Me? Chris Benoit.

Until.......they changed the tag team title match from a regular team vs. team match to a ladder match AND added two more teams previously unannounced. So, instead of a possibly run-of-the-mill tag match, we saw the match that STOLE the show. How they sacrifice their bodies like that, running into ladders for 20 minutes, is beyond me. One wrestler ended up with a broken nose and tons of stitches. I won't tell you how it happened (it's kinda gross), but suffice it to say, his injury was NOT part of the script for last night's show.

Overall, a fascinating experience. I probably wouldn't go see them every time they came to I'd make my wife take Robbie next time. :) :)

In closing, it's pretty cool when your 14 year-old son looks at you in the middle of a live wrestling pay-per-view and isn't ashamed to say "I love you."

That was MY Christmas present.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Looks good on paper.......

Here I go, being cryptic again. :)

You've heard the term......

....a sports team trades for and signs free agents, trying to create the "best team money can buy". Then you look at their line-up, and say, "On paper, there's nobody who can beat these guys!"

Inevitably, some team that did not merit a piece of paper and investigation would come along and expose the dream team's fatal flaw, proving again that what looks best "on paper" isn't always the winner, and doesn't always translate to the reality of life.

This analogy can also be placed in human relationships, too. Family, spouse, parent, college buddies, neighbors, friends since childhood, doesn't matter. The analogy can work. Ponder this awhile; comment if you think any of this makes sense.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

.....that list you know nothing about, part five (with updates from parts I--IV)....

WJRA and WILD.....

......I've been corrected that Dave Kasale did not deliver eggs in the land of "Johnny and the Marbles". Rose did. I must admit not remembering a character named Rose.

......I also didn't remember that Johnny and Dave were police partners as well as brothers. We should revive this as "Law & Order: The Kasales".

......the game "fumble recovery" on the.....more like, diving onto the bed. Put all the pillows and blankets from my bed and my brother's bed into his bed to create the "defensive line". One of us tries to dive over the line, the other is on the bed as the middle linebacker of sorts. That poor bed, as my brother recently commented. Of course, we'd play until we heard footsteps coming down the creaky wood hallway.

Dad: "What's going on in there??!!??!!"

The Brothers Witham (now in their individual beds looking like they're watching TV): "Oh, nothing, Dad, nothing at all."

Loudest nothing you've ever heard! Oh, and then you can always throw the little football (you know, the kind the cheerleaders throw into the stands at halftime of your local high school football game.....) into the bed with pillows and blankets....and yell "fumble" and watch two guys scramble for the ball as if it were a Victoria's Secret model.

More things......

......Alan Smith and Karna Small anchor the 10 O'Clock News on Channel 5 in Washington.
......I watched some of the first ever episode of "20/20", and yes, if you know anything about this event....the show was THAT BAD.

......I also saw the first-ever "Nightline" with Ted Koppel, March 24, 1980---which, up until that time, had been a weeknightly (is that a word??) special report on the Iran Hostage Crisis. ABC decided to change it to a regular late-night news program which goes to this day. Why was I up at 11:30pm on a Monday night in the 7th grade?? Because earlier that night, I watched Louisville defeat UCLA 59-54 to win the NCAA Basketball Championship.

......the trampoline at elementary school. I never did do a forward flip. Awkward I was, which later led to the demise of my right shoulder in the summer of 2004....

......and kudos again to big brother for reminding me of a most painful day.....during that 7th grade/6th grade softball tournament we played in P.E. for day, the other team's power-hitting lefty came to bat and I switched from left-center to right-center. As I was jogging into position, the ball was hit...DEEP into right-field. I motor it as fast as possible to make the catch and show the position switch to be justifiable and successful.

I ALMOST got to the point of snagging the deep fly ball.......then BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You see, the school basketball courts were kinda "behind right field"; you could call the chain-link fence surrounding the courts the "right field wall". But there was something else in that vicinity......right in front of the chain-link fence. That would be a soccer goal.

A soccer goal with a net......and made of....well...the kind of stuff you make soccer goalposts with.

Goalpost? Robbie. Robbie? Goalpost.

The entire left side of my body slams into the goalpost, immediately bringing my journey to the quickest of halts. I had enough wits about me to try to find the ball, which, along with my glove, were behind me kinda entangled or behind the netting. I got the ball, flipped it to my teammate, and, of course, by the time that happened, all the runs had scored.

My long-time next-door neighbor played on the other team, and later told me that, from his point of view back in the dugout, his first thought after I hit the pole was, "Oh, God, is he dead??" We've laughed long and loud about this since.....well, probably the day after it happened.

I look back and realize God was very gracious, allowing this incident to cause NO injury, and, a life full of funny anecdotes. Brian says my run back to the dugout at the end of the inning was somewhat staggered, and my next at-bat was a joke. Three pitches, three swings, have a seat.

What a day. :)


......the orthodontist with halotosis. He was much nicer, though, than the original orthodontist, a very cranky old man. Sorry, but the truth is the truth.

......the opening day of the 1982 Worlds Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was there. Weekend 9th grade French class field trip.

......cowboy baths....

......the ultimate measure of athletic greatness in elementary school: The 600 yard run.

......Frog dissection. Cool!!!

......the first night the air conditioner was in my window in the spring. :)
......the first night the air conditioner was out for the winter. :( NO NOISE!!!!! first dance (8th grade junior high).

......"good job". Those two words led to my first love. Didn't need a pick-up line to hook, line and sinker me, huh?? :)

......The Unknown Comic!!! Gene-Gene the Dancing Machine!!! Tossing my hats at the bedpost, trying to land the hat on said part of furniture.

......the first letter I received from my first love, on my 14th birthday, June 23, 1981.

......let me clue you in that, well, we never became an item. BUT we are friends to this day and I love her dearly (but more like a sister now.....hee hee).

......The Ridge Cinema Theatre.

......"The Top 100 of the 70's" radio special, New Year's Eve 1979 on Q-94 in Richmond, sponsored in part by Tiffany's Bridal, with the jingle, "Tiffany's, where the gowns are!", sung by an average lounge singer.

......come to think of it, that's about all I ever was, too. :)

......WKBW, Buffalo. Music in the nighttime, baby! brother listening to the Lou Dean Show on WRVA.....he was the all-night host at the time.
Unbelievably, I worked with him over 20 years later. I still can't believe that.

......Murphy's Mart in Ashland.

......The Annual Family Day for church, held at the Ladysmith Ruritan Club.

......The Penny Crusade.

......the elderly couple who came as they were able to church on Sundays, driving a Chevrolet Corvair. I would ask myself, "what kind of car is that??"

......and, finally, in this edition.....The Ultra Code.

The perfect lead-in to my high school years---FILLED with stuff you know nothing about.....:)

Just a brief political thought......

......maybe Hillary Clinton is giving Sen. Barack Obama some moments in the spotlight........ when she accepts the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, she has a natural running mate poised and ready to go.

Thinking like this "THIS" early, you say?!?

Wouldn't surprise me.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Balance of power hanging in balance--who controls Senate? Who will be committee chairmen?---oh, and by the way, how's the Senator from South Dakota?

I absolutely flippin' do not believe what I've seen the past few days in press coverage of the emergency brain surgery and critical health condition of Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota.

Let's break this down......

---Wednesday midday, Senator Johnson falls ill.

---630pm, ABC and NBC lead their newscasts with the "possible stroke" suffered by Senator Johnson, but cannot resist going into a conversation with "Washington correspondents" about the sudden political implications with the balance of power so even in the Senate.

---635pmish.....CBS gets to the story, goes to Gloria Borger, who first says that, of course, the first priority now is to think of the Senator and his family, then launches into the 94 percent of her report....which concerns how his health possibly affects the balance of power in the Senate.

---7pm ET-----SENATOR JOHNSON GOES INTO SURGERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The poor man hadn't even entered the operating room and pundits around the nation were talking as if we'd better prepare for his temporary or permanent departure from the political landscape, and since the Governor of South Dakota appoints a successor, and he's a Republican......yadda, yadda, yadda.

My dad had major brain surgery in May, 1984 for an anuerysm, and let me tell you, you know NOTHING but approximate percentages of risks going in, and NOTHING definite as to short and long term damage until days, weeks, MONTHS later.

But meanwhile, Dick Cheney is back practicing pounding a gavel with a smile and Sen. Harry Reid, privately, is.....well, one has to wonder what the political part of him is thinking. I wouldn't want to be him right now. He's genuinely concerned about his fellow Senator, he visits the hospital daily, the press I'm sure hounds him as he leaves, etc....etc.....

So.....before we determine the Senate seating arrangement, anoint 2008 Presidential nominees, elect one.....etc.....

how about we pray for the good Senator's recovery? Step by step, day by day.....

....I guarantee you he'll show much more progress during a difficult time of recovery and therapy than any legislation will NO MATTER WHO IS IN CHARGE of the Senate.

Thank you, and good night.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

As I was driving home.....

.....I wondered late tonight if there was any significance to December 13th in my personal history.

Didn't take me too many years counting backwards to realize....

...I had my last "real" conversation with my Mama four years ago tonight. Our communication in the hospital was very little; most of it as she slipped into a coma for the last time.

Four years already. Happy thought: is NOT the last conversation I'll ever have with her.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Remember this?

I'd be shocked if there are more than four or five still running today.

The Chevy Monza I alluded to in the last post. :)

Yo, bro---remember?? Didn't it have an FM Radio, or am I dreaming?? :)

...that list you know nothing about, part four (so as to not forget I'm still doing this and haven't done so in over a month....

--bedroom basketball (when the suction cups stayed on the mirror, that is....)

--the first time I got to stay home instead of having to go with the church choir to another boring revival service because I wasn't old enough to stay home....

--July 1982, a church that shall remain nameless in Louisa County, Virginia, where I witnessed, to this day, still, the worst sermon my ears have been privy to. In fact, I think the conclusion is still echoing somewhere in the countryside near Mineral or something.....

--Dear Dee.....


--Card Sharks, the TV game, and the game I played pretending to be a game show host, with a deck of cards.

--Three Stooges at 4:30, Gilligan at 5, Get Smart at 5:30.

--my first hair permanent (1/24/81, the day before my Raiders won Super Bowl XV).

--Meatballs (the movie! Going to the theatre with my brother to watch it, and today wondering why it's NEVER on television)

--Star Wars in the Ashland Theatre, Ashland Virginia.

--My best ever trip to North Carolina, 1982, summertime. Bro and I travel during the overnight to get there; spend a few days at Granny and Granddaddy's, enjoying the land, checkin' out the garden, going into town in Granddaddy's '66 Red Dodge Truck, shelling peas on the front porch. The last night, a visit to Aunt Wanda's near Raleigh, then the trip home, again in the middle of the night, arriving at 3:45am, just in time to see Dad get up to go to work at Ukrops!

--My worst news after returning from my best trip to North girlfriend wrote to break up with me. That night, I stayed up 'til 3:45am listening to the radio and, at the wise old age of 15 years, 1 month, trying to pick up the pieces.

--Nichols Dept Store, Fredericksburg, Virginia

--Dad loved the subs from KMart in Fredericksburg. Always stopped to get one if he had to go up to visit a church member in the hospital.

--My one season in Little League. The highlight? A two-run single to rightfield. :)

--Monzas. Two of them.

--Is it me or is the chimney leaning?

--The 7th grade/6th grade P.E. softball spring tournament....(my team won--I think we won 15 games, they won 13.)

--Fluffy! Fluffy Dog! Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy Dog!

.....more to come.......

Rosie says, "Be tolerant of my was just comedy!!"

Wonder if Michael Richards could have gotten away with that??

If you haven't been clued in on Rosie's "humor" recently on "The View", mocking Asians while explaining how the drunk Danny DeVito appearance would be covered in, say, China.

Well, click here for the story.

I do want to emphasize the statement from her spokesperson....

"She's a comedian in addition to being a talk show co-host," Cindi Berger, O'Donnell's spokeswoman, said in a statement. "I certainly hope that one day they will be able to grasp her humor."
On Dec. 8, O'Donnell wrote in her
blog "it was not my intent to mock." She clarified her position on Dec. 10, calling the bit "comedy."

Grasp her humor?? Heh?? What?? Comedy??

When she does something, it's comedy. When you do something, it's despicable. I think it's a very fair statement to say, when it comes to insulting a race of people, there's no real difference between the actions of O'Donnell and that of Richards a few weeks back.

Whether Richards was truly sorry, we don't know.....he did say he was. Either sincerity or damage control.

Rosie? She just chalks it up as "comedy" and her self-perception of her perfection continues.


Remember, Rosie also showed keen insight into today's Evangelical Movement back in September by saying....

Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state…"

I have no problem with her saying this. I don't want to call for any boycott. If anything, it makes me sad that she would make such a statement without obviously doing any serious analysis of Christians in 21st Century America.

Last time I went to a Baptist church, for example, I don't remember the women veiled and ordered to shut up, or a business meeting after church to discuss finding and apprehending a church members' cousin who recently converted to Islam so he could be tried, convicted, and beheaded.

You want a Christian jihad?? Bring the subject of "what color carpet do we want in the new fellowship hall?" up at a church members' meeting and see what hell breaks loose!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I knew she was attractive and very smart......

...but this makes it official!!!

I love Michelle Malkin. She's left-handed!!!

Now, three great reasons to love Michelle.

PLUS, for all you leftys out there like Michelle and I, check out this post from her blog. Eat your heart (or hand!) out, rightys!!

The Latest From Iran.....the brave, the haters, and the secret lover of women without a veil!!! two-day conference to discuss the Holocaust.

Here is a brave Arab at this "event". I pray he lives to see 45 and beyond.

And as for the award-winning seminars? Well, check out paragraph six from this article. Somehow, I think "Knitting and You" got bumped at the last minute.

And finally today, let's see what President "I'm A Jar-Head" was caught doing that goes against the teachings of Islam! Guess he tells people he didn't check out the Victoria's Secret Special last week thanks to a special satellite uplink. Ha!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Glenn Beck Show, November 30, 2006---the transcript (blog catch-up, part 3)

Want to know the real reason President Amhadinejad (aka President Tom, aka Scary Doofus) wrote "a letter to the American people"?

Want to know why political correctness is corrupting us (the U.S.)? Why are we so scared to call out the nutjob extremist Islamofacists that truly do want to destroy Israel and Western Civilization (if you don't think so, I suggest a Reader's Digest study of the history of Islam and Christianity, the battles of the past, and the rise of today's extremists, which arguably had their coming out party at the Munich Olympics in 1972 with the world watching....)??

Why are we (the U.S.) stupid enough to think we're invincible?

Read the first half of THIS transcript, in case you missed the 11/30 Glenn Beck Show on Headline News.

You oughta watch Beck sometimes (7p, 9p, and midnight eastern)....yeah, you might give up an edition or two of Jeopardy!, but you might be smarter after watching Beck rather than Alex!!

I'm the 360 man, not Anderson Cooper!!! (blog catch-up, part two)

So, it starts out like any Tuesday with outpatient surgery scheduled for the wife. Up early, to the hospital, she goes in, she comes out, she doesn't throw up (Thank God!! She gets big-time ill on anesthesia), and we're home by 10:15.

Procedure goes flawlessly, Mom is really groggy, is in pain, and is nauseated.

I log on to my work computer, and within the half hour, I discover an employee in my department has resigned.

Now, I'm in pain, mentally nauseated, and I wished to be groggy.

So began a day of....

1) Taking care of wifey (meds, soup, crackers, etc....)

2) Damage control at work, by working from home.

13 hours later, I signed off the work computer, and, though still pained, Ms. Witham was feeling better and no longer nauseated.

As for me? I felt better, much more mentally stable, and enjoying the medication that made me feel that way. :) :)

So, my day is spent in the computer chair. 180 degree turn to wifey, 180 degree turn to computer. Stay in chair, take care of the world.

Glad it worked out that way, because I'm still dealing with traveling far from home, so I'm not really ready to spend a week in Turkey. So, Anderson, you can keep that assignment.

But, I'll fight ya for the "360" label. :)

The Wolfpack frustration continues..... Chuck Amato is let go as N.C. State head football coach.

I credit him with the Philip Rivers era (the highlight being the slaughtering of Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl New Years Day, 2003), but with it comes responsibility for the past few years, especially 2006.

It's sad, because he injected some serious life into the football program. Now it's time for another dosage. But who comes to Raleigh??

Butch Davis is moving in at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest just won the ACC Championship (congrats to the Deacons!), and Duke doesn't count in football. :)

I have no idea who may be on the list, but think of this.....

---When Amato came in 2000, it was still basically Florida State and the rest of the league. State beat FSU four out of the past six years, including the first league win by anyone against FSU in Tallahassee.

---Now, going into 2007, it's wide open in terms of which ACC team wants to step up and be the "Wake Forest" of the year. So.....

...would this not intrigue some coach (a good, hungry one; I don't care about name recognition at all) into coming to Raleigh, recruiting voraciously, adopt and follow a set plan, and, maybe, sooner than you think, it's the Wolfpack in the BCS??

This is how open the ACC is now.....Virginia beat Miami this season. Virginia stunk. Questions?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Construction crew returns......

...yes, another change or two to our blog.

--New link list, easier to distinguish each one on this template.
--Good type and font to read.

Working on other things, too. Thanks for your patience!

Connecting with Cats (blog catch-up, part I)

Haven't been here this week, and now, on a late Saturday evening, I can begin reviewing this past week, all its craziness, and why I'm playing "Blog Catch-Up".

Monday 11/27: That appliance I referred to two posts ago? It was delivered Monday morning. I had backup to "house sit" for me in case the delivery arrived after 10am, but cancelled it when the guys showed up before that. They did a great job (and quick, too!), and before you know it, I'm heading out the door for work....

.....when all of a sudden, I have this feeling to make sure the cats are okay. Normally, the only thought I give them is, "don't kill the house or each other", and I head for the van. This time was different. I had to make sure they were in the house....probably because the front door was open alot during the demise of one washer, and the debut of the other. Recently, the cats have been taken into the backyard for some outside time by the rest of the family, so, remembering a day in spring 2005 when I couldn't find Katie Pickles on my lunch break (finally did), I commenced searching.

"Kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty!"---usually gets us a double response of jingling necks. Not this time.

Again. Nothing. More nothing. Then, I get worried and head outside to the front yard, looking. Nothing.

I come back in the house, turn to the hallway, and there's Cody, staring at me. Whew! "Cody....where's your sister??" For awhile he just kinda, well, was a cat.

A few minutes later I realized that where I went, Cody went. I dig into our walk-in closet in the bedroom, where she's been known to be found, and Cody joins in.

When I stop, sit down in the living room and call Mom, Cody lies down on the floor in front of me. We check closets, behind the new washer, even the kids' rooms even though their doors were closed.

Zoe loves to hide under our bed. Not there. My worry is now panic. I can't go through another episode a la Katie Pickles (having to tell the kids a pet is gone or dead).

I tell Cody to hang on, run to the van, and take a SLOW drive around the block calling for her and looking (as best you can) for a cat whose colors blend in well in portions of the great outdoors.


Did she get out the front door, climb the fence, and get in the back yard? to the porch to look out the windows. Nothing. Finally I was going to open the back door and go in the yard (which I didn't want to do fearing Cody would follow), and I just happened to look behind the TV stand on the porch.

There they were---Zoe's eyes. Apparently the movers scared her and she landed in the porch corner behind the small TV and stand.'s big enough that Zoe realized once there, she couldn't get out.

I helped her out, sat on the porch floor and bawled. They scared the crap out of me. But I learned something that morning........I connect with those cats more than I thought. And they even like me. :)

So, in a word......Whew!

November's Winning Numbers.......

.....7, 18, 20, 25, 25, 30.

You didn't know numbers were eligible for multiple appearances?