Monday, April 30, 2007

Here's why The New York Jets are The New York Jets....

Various thoughts....NFL Draft....United 93....RIP Tommy Newsom....

Haven't willingly not blogged (though a night or two I was just too tired to do much of anything), but we're back during another edition of "24".

I watched more of the NFL Draft this year than I have in many years. I am VERY happy with the JaMarcus Russell pick by my Raiders. I am EVEN HAPPIER that Randy Moss is gone! Considering his lack of production, we should consider ourselves grateful that we at least got a 4th round pick out of it! Now I will say this; hearing that Josh McCown is the "veteran" who will start in September doesn't give me much solace. I see Russell in by week seven.

Lots of talk (I suspect; I've not trolled the 'Net today about it), I suppose, about the Cleveland coup, saving Brady Quinn from continued frustration (great move by the Commissioner to move him out of the Green Room). A quarterback and a really, really big fisherman to protect him. I'm sorry, but I already LOVE Joe Thomas. Green room at Radio City Music Hall? Sorry, I'm gone fishin'!!!!

Giants did pretty well, too. I'm especially excited about grabbing Steve Smith of USC in round two. With Toomer coming off injury and Plaxico, well, Plaxico, it's good to have a young talent to groom. I just hope Eli can get the ball to him!!


I've gotten 2/3'rds through "United 93". When the family returned from WalMart Saturday evening I had to cut it off. It is definitely a "don't have the kids watch" movie. I overheard a co-worker today say he was impressed by the idea of the movie being viewed through the eyes of air traffic control and NORAD. I must agree.


Tonight Show fans: (I mean REAL Tonight Show fans...that means Johnny Carson, NOT Jay Leno....)

We mourn tonight, upon hearing the news of the loss of Tommy Newsom, the foil of many Carson antics, and a tremendous musician who rose to assistant director, which, when Doc was away, guaranteed Johnny even more joke material.

He passed away at age 78, in Portsmouth, Virginia (I didn't realize he settled around here...) and another piece of late night royalty has gone home.

I wonder which suit he's buried in?? That comment would make Newsom smile, BTW. :)


In closing...."24" is very, very good tonight--as the "international crisis" does continue with a new twist, and now, the exposing of Lisa, Jack's ultimate protection of Audrey, and, oh, by the way. Where did Chloe go? Soon I'm sure we will know.

And, YIKES, what a finish....Heller tells Jack to stay away from his daughter, then burns a hole into his psyche as he sits in holding. "You're cursed, Jack. Everything you touch ends up dead."

Great set-up episode as we close in on (ALREADY!!) the season finale, and the annual "24" season finale party on May 21!! Whoo hoo!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Melissa's Homegoing Service...., friends, television family, viewers, everyday folk...all gathered together today to thank and remember Melissa Greer, the hope-filled TV meteorologist who passed last Friday at age 27.

Click this link here to see a report from WBTV with highlights from today's service, and you will also have access to other reports from and portions of the service on video there at


...good job.

If a gay person's life is supposed to be as normal as a heterosexual's life, then I must commend Ellen DeGeneres on the fabulous job of simply being her. She is, whether you agree with the premise or not, living her public life based on that belief. She doesn't flaunt her sexual preference like she did ten years ago (remember Anne Heche?), she just goes about her career.

She's funny, has a successful talk show, and dances better than me. And she acts in a way that reinforces her belief on the normalcy of the gay lifestyle.

And that's one reason why Ellen is still in daytime talk....and Rosie is about to exit again.

Your thoughts?


....good night.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Melissa Greer


PLEASE read the posting before this one. It will inspire you. It sure did inspire me.

Melissa Greer: Perspective on life from someone I didn't even knew.....

An avid surfer at TV news websites, I think I do remember on a couple of occasions seeing headlines about a Charlotte TV personality battling cancer.

I saw on Yahoo! headlines tonight that she passed. So I went to find the site of the station where she worked.

It was WBTV, the CBS affiliate.

Her name was Melissa Greer. She was born in 1979 and only 25 when she arrived in Charlotte to work for WBTV. She obviously made a huge impact on the people around her. She married last year and was expecting her first child when a discovery of a rare form of cancer occurred.

The rest of the story is best told by her colleagues. Please see and read here.

But that is not the page I really want you to read. She was doing well enough that she was able to come to a baby shower at the station three weeks ago, but her condition took a final turn a week later. Eight days before passing this 27 year-old new mother composed an email to her friends that was posted on the WBTV website.

By the end, I was crying. Why? Not because it was a sad story or even that she has passed. It moved me to realize some of the "huge" issues of my life, aren't so huge. In fact, I should consider them to be nothing.

Please, if you've never clicked a link on this blog before, click here. You must read the words of this amazing woman.

This link provides you information on remembering Melissa by contributing to a fund to help cover the medical expenses of herself and her young son.

And finally, go here to see a video tribute to her as seen on WBTV.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Memo to the NFL: Something is wrong here....

On my links, I include "where I go to make sure I'm not dead". This would be I check it every day or so because sometimes, people you know don't always get much press when they pass away (especially figures in the Christian community).

This obituary caught my eye, then made me upset.

So, a generation ago, a solid member of a pro football champion, Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers was making good money for 1967, at $27 to $28K a year. And then, as life after football continued, Kramer himself watched a gross inequity grow and grow between the players of the 1950s and 1960s, who saw the NFL through the AAFC, battling baseball for popularity, the 1958 Championship Game, the AFL's arrival, the likes of Joe Namath heading to the AFL, consistently bringing the best in pro football during the two decades that really set the NFL in a position to be the pro sports juggernaut that it is today (breath!), and the players of, say the 1990's and this decade, when average salaries reached and well exceeded $500K annually, and with a salary cap for each team expected to be $109 million for 2007.

So Kramer began to do something about it. Read about it here.

Kramer was fortunate that his career was with a championship team and he was able to earn the raises he received. BUT, make sure you read the portion of the article discussing Kramer's NFL personal pension history. If at age 62, Kramer's monthly benefit went to $158 monthly, had bad could it be for others?

Well, then we find the average joes of the old days of pro football, like George Webster. What? Never heard of George Webster? Don't have his Topps card?

Webster died April 19th, as the above obituary link says. It also chronicled his frustrating and futile attempt to "prove" his disability was due to football injuries. If you lost the use of most of one hand, one knee, one ankle, and one foot, how would it impact your employment? Your ability to provide for a family? Heck, your ability to do whatever, job-related or otherwise?

Yet, he was never "ruled" to be eligible for football-related injury benefits. So, in spite of playing 10 seasons in the NFL, the league's retirement board decided his impairments didn't happen on the field, and later, the stinking U.S. Supreme Court agreed.

Then he loses a leg, and five years later, passes at the young age of 61, his monthly "disability" benefit less than 20 percent of what it should have been.

The average NFL career is only four, maybe five seasons. He played ten, yet all of these medical problems weren't created or exacerbated by being on the football field.

I know, I hear you:

1) He should have invested his money better!
2) Didn't he lose lots of money in the court proceedings that he could have had to live on?

My argument has nothing to do with any of that. My argument is this:

Rookie Mark Anderson, DE for the Chicago Bears, was a Round 5 choice in 2006 and came on big with 12 sacks for Da Bears. The average fifth round rookie salary for 2006 was $131,000. He'll probably make more than that in 2007.

Good for him!!!

The league must answer this: if 32 teams can spend over $3.2 BILLION dollars on player salaries alone, imagine how much money the league itself has, and makes.

But they have a retirement board who looked at Webster and balked at paying him an extra $39K a year, most of which probably would have been eaten up by medical bills.

The NFL can't afford a few million dollars to take a little better care of the men who carried the league to the point where they began to emerge as the top dog in pro sports?

Each team drops that salary cap to $108 million dollars, and the league cough up $10 million more, and I suspect the George Websters still with us could be a little better taken care of. Use most to increase pensions, and invest some, too!

$42 million dollars from a league whose current TV deal is worth $3.75 BILLION dollars annually? And there are other revenue streams, too?

Pittance to them.
More power to the pension.

Well, two to one ratio ain't so bad.....hee hee.....and no, I'm not nearly as pretty.....

You Are 65% Grown Up, 35% Kid

Congratulations, you are definitely quite emotionally mature.
Although you have your moments of moodiness, you're usually stable and level headed.

Friday, April 20, 2007

NBC, the news, Virginia Tech, what to show, what not to show.....

One of the many huge topics of conversation this week over the Virginia Tech tragedy is what NBC should have or should not have done with the package they received from the killer of 32 people.

There have been passionate responses to my posting the NBC Nightly News video Wednesday night. To quote my two faithful posters.....

kenju posted: "I don't think they should have put his video on the news. A copy of the written stuff should be made public, but putting the video on the news, where unsuspecting parents might have had children watching, was not a good idea. I watched part of it; it made me sick, and I don't want to see it again."

A great point concerning the fact that children could be exposed to this; I honestly hadn't thought about that.

Frank posted: "Quite typical of the main stream media is the opportunity to gain a few viewers by having something like what fell into NBC's lap. I think it appalling that they thought it necessary to use the material to start with. Being "edited" for broadcast was a bunch of _____ in my opinion. How do you edit out the horror and disdain that was in this package. The families, friends, and colleagues of the slain heros did not need reminding of this senseless event, and especially the ranting and raving of a crazed lunatic who had no soul."

Now to my two cents.....

1) I had no problem with the first decision by NBC News. Let's face it, had they given it to federal authorities, and washed their hands of it, people would be up in arms about why the public was not allowed to get the thoughts and messages of the perpetrator. Sorry, but the last thing this tragedy needs is breeding ground for conspiracy theories.

2) I do not regret posting the open minutes of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News. It had to be shown. Protect children from it? YES! Come to grips as a people that we live in a society with way too many of these type of people....maybe one living in your neighborhood.....YES. And, you don't have to watch the video for a long time to realize the basics of the horror, both of the evil and the demons, plus the severe psychological problems that were obviously there.

This is not "giving the killer his 15 minutes of fame"; but was necessary to help us better understand at least a few percentage points of the senselessness of the "reasoning" behind this crime.

And the words "freedom of speech" would have been decried in a huge way.

I'm sitting here with the TV on and saw a spot for a movie soon to open with Anthony Hopkins. I realized I see disturbing images on spots like that all the time, but we don't raise a finger to ask networks or ad agencies to stop doing it. To stop the desensitizing of all of us.

Now, YES, the focus in this case is on a real killer, not a Hollywood script. So while there are a much higher set of reality circumstances, it doesn't take too, too many steps to see similar "characters" in the (ha) "creative" media. And people flock to see it day after day, night after night.

3) After trying to watch the 11pm news Wednesday night, I turned the news off. Every channel showed the video at the top of their news, so the killer's face was on 20 different channels, all at once. This was a highly negative "equal and opposite" reaction to the action of releasing it to the public in the first place.

And after the news cycle had finished the morning shows the next day, it was time for the media to say, okay, point taken. Message used.

4) Many news organizations have stopped using it. Good move. If someone really wants to hear this guy, there's always YouTube, et al.


We had a time of remembrance and reflection at noon today at the office. My first time "speaking" since leaving the pastorate. It was, as it always is, an honor to be used.

The message I was happiest to convey was simply, life is fleeting, so cherish every moment, and tell the people you love that you love them. They can't hear you say that to them when they lie in a casket.


And the best news I saw today? The VT Band went to the hospital where Tech students are recovering and played outside, while students came to windows, with great smiles and appreciation.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

All Things Witham--THE VIDEO AGE BEGINS......

I was able to begin posting YouTube videos tonight, after lots of looking and searching....

...UPDATE (Friday 4/20/07)---I have deleted the You Tube/NBC Nightly News Video. The killer's 15 minutes are up here. But it was justified. More above....

Kitty Carlisle Hart....(1910-2007)

...just read the news of the loss of Kitty Carlisle Hart at age 96, whose career spanned over 70 years in all phases (Broadway, TV, et al)...

...but who, of course, will be remembered by me and many others my age as one of the panelists on To Tell The Truth. She would at first strike you as that rich, snotty neighbor who'd never give you the time of day. But she was a great panelist, and I remember last seeing her on TV a few years back on "Today" showing how exercise is important even in your 90's. I never thought I'd type this....but in a leotard at age 93, she looked good. Not "sexy good" (duh), but "in-shape good". Put me to shame.

All true friends of To Tell The Truth, please stand up, and salute Kitty Carlisle Hart.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Latest news on Virginia Tech to your right...

...I've changed the choice of headline words to the right, listing "Virginia Tech" as first. Click on it to get all the latest headlines on Virginia Tech via Google.


....that was the one-word headline in large, bold print on this morning's Times-Dispatch front page.

These things happen in Colorado, or California, or Texas....

...certainly not in, of all places, Blacksburg, Virginia.

I didn't make it to work Monday; meds and nerves took their toll after all that happened from Wednesday on. I got up at 1pm to go online and help out the ladies a bit when I saw a headline on my home page, "live coverage of shooting at Virginia Tech". I thought, what?

I turn on the TV and suddenly life felt surreal. At that time, 22 dead I believe was the report. At Tech? Why? What? How?

As I work here on the computer, I turn to my left and see the horror continue to unfold.

Some thoughts:

1) There will be much said about the shooter. Seems now they are getting at least a glimpse of his problems and some people at Tech had suspicions about him.

2) What should NOT be inferred is that "well, he took medication for depression, and so does my best friend at work, I guess he might go postal next!". That's bullcrap.

3) Va Tech police, et al, handled the situation AS WELL AS THEY COULD, given all the facts known. When is the last time your town or city announced a lockout everywhere within the town or city limits because there had been a domestic shooting? After three or four of those happenings, you don't believe them anymore. And THAT would be the ONE time all hell would break loose. They did the best they could. My only question is why there was not more of a pursuit for whoever was the perpetrator of that first shooting. Why did they think he'd gone out of state? That, I don't get.

4) Gun control. Here we go already. No funerals yet, and we're already fighting politically. Virginia is the 2nd "easiest state" to buy a gun, one report said. Funny, I don't remember hearing, "...a gun shot and killed 32 people before turning it on itself...". There was a human being involved.

---I was impressed by both Gov. Kaine and President Bush at the commencement today. Words of healing, reminder, and many thoughts of God.

Virginia Tech meant "Hokies", "Gobblers", "Michael Vick", "Frank Beamer", "Seth Greenberg", "Lane Stadium", bowl games, et all of us around here....

....until early yesterday morning. Now, the term "Virginia Tech" never will mean the same.

FINALLY------I was INCREDIBLY IMPRESSED by the way students that were interviewed all over TV yesterday were composed, were mature, were just, I'm not how exactly to describe it but if I were Tech's President, I would be so proud of how the students of Virginia Tech tore down any notions of Tech being just "the home of the worst shooting in U.S. history", but of a University of young men and women who are shocked, who hurt, who will continue to hurt, but one day, by God's grace, this event will help them in some way to lead their families, their communities, and this nation.

And AS that happens, beginning with yesterday...I know for sure that no one who was killed yesterday died in vain.

I'm prouder to say, "I love the Hokies" today more than ever before.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Back home...waiting on the storm.....

You've no doubt seen the snow up north, the rains and tornadoes down south. We've heard what Carolina was looking for the last two nights, but now we know what they're thinking back home here in Richmond.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms overnight, plenty of wind through Monday. So, we'll see what happens...kicking back all afternoon and evening tomorrow watching rain fall really won't be a problem with me. :)


The funeral took place Friday for Grannie. Not a cloud in the sky, but windy and plenty of sun...enough that I got some burn on the face while out in the cemetery. Saw some relatives I hadn't seen since Mama died, one who didn't remember me (which was hilarious!) and got to hang with bro for awhile, which is always good, even in the saddest of situations.

As a pallbearer, I did have one really important factor to remember, and my brother kept it at the forefront of my mind. Make sure I'm on the "left arm" side of the casket, so I don't use my right shoulder, which is permanently on the disabled list in terms of how much weight it can carry. And all went well, until we took the short walk behind the hearse to the gravesite, and as the casket is brought out, I see that process turns around at this point.

Ut oh. Well, I improvised and did a "shuffle step" using both arms to carry the casket. Everything worked out fine. The service was a service; I have thoughts about it that I decline to share.

I took the children over and showed them Grannie's parents; my Great Grandparents, and their Great-Great Grandparents. Grannie's dad died very young (at 43 in 1937), but her mom lived 87 years and I got to know her really well. My favorite "Granny Robert" story (yes, we used the first name of the grandad to identify both; I don't know why, I just heard my siblings do it when I was little and followed suit) was when we'd have breakfast.

The last six years of her life she lived with Grannie and Granddaddy Frank after her second husband passed. So when I went down to visit for several days I got to hang out with her, too. You'd think an "early teenager" wouldn't want to spend the day at the home of his grandparents, in their mid to late 60's, and his Great-Grannie, who was in her 80s.

Not so. Grannie Robert and I would sit down for breakfast...of course mine consisted of Grannie Frank's homemade biscuits and homemade butter, churned by a friend at the end of the dirt road. Oh, and field peas. They are dark, NOT mushy, don't taste like a green pea at all, but are NOT black-eyed peas. I could eat them three meals a day at Grannie's. Grannie Robert would sit down with me with her milk and Nabisco Shredded Wheat, and, each morning proclaim, "...time for my bail of hay!". She was so cool.

So, I introduced the kids to their "great-great-grannie", their "great-grannie's" mom. Talked to several people, and, then walked through the cemetery showing the kids and Mom headstones of veterans of World War I and II, one for a man who was born in 1869, or as I told the kids, four years after the Civil War.

Uncle Frank and I both confirmed that our funerals will be "anti-funerals". There will be laughter, celebration; he's thinking about havin' a pig-pickin....each attendant at mine will automatically receive a 24-pack of Mountain Dew just for coming. Neither of us want solemn, because, hey, when I'm gone, I'll be at peace, so why not everybody else? :)

Then back to the hotel for the indoor pool, run out to get food for dinner, watch some TV, get sleepy and go to bed. Oh, forgot that I woke up Friday morning VERY groggy (in other words, like I do on days when I may end up in bed all day; even my wife admitted last night she was worried when she saw me), but God helped me through because I had to be there for Grannie. As soon as we returned to the hotel, Aunt Tammy, mom, and the kids went shopping and I went TO SLEEP!!

Today we shopped, we ate, and we came home. We also made the trip much quicker when the kids decided to play a game of "How many license plates from different states can we find?" And, yes, admit it, you've done that on a road trip, too, either in the back seat as the kid, or the front seat as the parent thinking..."occupied, gotta keep them they don't kill each other....."

With Spring Break week for many ending places, the states we saw the most were:

1) New York (overwhelmingly; in fact it got to be a running joke after awhile.)
2) New Jersey
3) Maryland (right on the heels of New Jersey)
4) Pennsylvania
5) Florida

We didn't consider Virginia or North Carolina plates.

We also saw Tennessee, Delaware, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Georgia.

Surprises included Wisconsin, Texas, South Dakota, Colorado, Idaho and Arizona.

Canada weighed in with three from Ontario and one from Quebec.

But the kids went NUTS when we saw......Hawaii. Yes, Hawaii. Wow!

Finally, each of us had a state we really wanted to find. Rachel wanted Mississippi and we didn't see any. Dad wanted Maine and we didn't see any. Robbie wanted to see California.

We get off the interstate near home, grab food at Chick-Fil-A, and although Dad earlier proclaimed the game over being now off I-95, Dad couldn't help but drop his jaw as, driving home,I see a car waiting to turn left into a housing area. Yep. License plates from California.

Couldn't let that one go unannounced. :)

So, it's nice to be home and we have a day to rest, unpack, recharge and get ready for the real routine, in effect again, Monday morning. It's also nice to know Grannie is at peace, and the cloud of "waiting for the inevitable" is behind us once more.

If you're out tomorrow anywhere from South Carolina to Maine, be careful!!

Next week, posts devoid of words such as "pallbearer", "cemetery", "tears" and "Mountain Dew".

Well, actually I can only promise you the absence of the first two words. :)

Friday, April 13, 2007

In North say thank you.

Grannie Frank passed away at 5am Wednesday morning after being taken back to the hospital earlier in the night for fear of pneumonia settling in.

We didn't make the visitation tonight (I didn't get away from work until going on 7pm) and we hit the road a little after 8. Hotel room is great so far (I'm sitting on the bed as I type!)

Funeral is later today at 11am at Barbours Chapel Advent Christian Church. I'll be a pallbearer. Then, later in the day, we're determined that the kids will have some fun before spring break ends (we were originally booked to be in a hotel in Virginia Beach tonight). We're right beside the huge shopping complex (used to be called the Carolina Pottery) here in Smithfield; the Ava Gardner Museum is downtown, about two miles away, and there's a new 10-screen cineplex behind the hotel.

Oh, and the indoor pool here. I think we'll find something to do. :)

BUT--I MUST EXPRESS MY FURY against the Smithfield Herald's website, which is operated by the News and Observer of Raleigh. Grannie's obituary had two errors:

1) It said visitation would be Thursday, 7p to 9p, at the funeral home. Quick question: Which funeral home??

2) But MUCH WORSE, she is listed as being survived by her four daughters. Her oldest daughter was my Mama....who died 12/28/2002. I hit the roof when I saw that on their online obituary section and immediately emailed the managing editor. I'll be interested if they publish a correction. They sure need to; that's a complete insult to the memory of my mother.

So, back home Saturday afternoon...and back to work and school Monday. It's been a weird spring break for the kids. I hope we can finish it with a bang.

Live at the Best Western Smithfield Inn, Smithfield, North Carolina....good night!

Monday, April 09, 2007

An Easter to remember, for good and bad reasons....

We spent Easter in North Carolina. We enjoyed a wonderful service at my brother's church, where he's currently filling in while the search for a Pastor continues. The Easter sermon--as Dick Vitale would say, "Awesome baby! With a capital "A"!!"

On the way to church, a different story. As we come to a "T" (our road ends at another), we begin to see unfold in front of us the results of a four-car accident that had obviously just happened. One car heading north with its front end completely crinkled in with someone trapped inside. A second car now in the deep ditch on the other side of the road, damaged. A third car hit, and now on the grass at the southwest corner, with a lady injured, down on the ground and in shock, and, honestly, I can't remember where car #4 was.

I was among the first to call 911; we stayed a few minutes to see rescue personnel begin to arrive, as did a few others who had come up on the scene. It was horrible; people on their way to Easter Services (you could tell by their clothing) and now this; probably the worst accident I've seen.

And if you have a problem digging there's a God, believe this. We were to leave my brother's house for church at 10:30 and my wife had decided to put her makeup on in the van to keep us from being later. Then, a change of mind just before leaving. That puts us in the van at 10:32.

Two minutes? It can make a huge difference.

I've checked all the news sources I know of in New Bern and have not seen any coverage, so I'm hoping that is good news and there were no serious injuries. If there weren't, it is nothing short of an Easter miracle.

Tammy tells us of another way to the church, and we get there to find out several of the rescue workers worship there, so when the page went out, beepers went off everywhere with people racing out of the church.

One thing I thought that was pretty cool was that first response volunteer workers, some of them, arrived in what looked like their own vehicles, which also contained all the equipment and apparently markings, so that you'd know it was rescue if it came up behind you on the road; I don't remember for sure about the markings. We explained to Rachel that Craven County is different from Henrico County, in that Henrico has more money (close to city, more population) and has more "rescue vehicles", where there they used other means.

God bless those willing to sacrifice their Easter Sunday service for those whose Easter went very wrong.


The rest of the day went well. There is a decent Golden Corral in the world (it's NOT in Richmond!). The New Bern location, and the Smithfield location, are the two I will frequent. Moms and kids went to the movies and do a "Flat Stanley" tour of downtown New Bern, while bro and I chilled, watched some hockey, some Masters.....

...and I was very happy to see Zack Johnson win. What a great story.

And, the trip home went well, too. One quick note; we stop in Tarboro to gas up, and after paying at the pump, I went in to buy a Coke. The lady there was unbelievably nice; showing me where the soft drinks were (on the opposite side of the store than the beer, et al, which was unusual), and asking me if I was on my way home. I whispered, "yes, ma'am."

"Have a safe trip", she replied, in the nicest manner possible.

I love North Carolina. You'd think I was born there or lived there for years. I've not lived one day as a "resident" of North Carolina...but thanks to all my family ties, I'll do what they do for famous people when they come speak at college commencements....

I'll make myself a "honorary" citizen! How I know I deserve this? I killed (gulp) an entire pint of Smithfield BBQ at work for "brunch" today.

BBQ...pig out...what symmetry. :)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

So, Kenju, guess where I am? I sit down this afternoon, and see my blog friend kenju left a comment on Friday night's crybaby "why doesn't anyone think I'm attractive" entry (which wasn't the original reason for the posting, but nonetheless...)

The post was a friendly nudge that she would visiting a place near and dear to my heart....Smithfield BBQ.

Well, dear, as I post, at this wife is bringing me...Smithfield BBQ!!!

Whoo hoo!!!

We spend Easter in North Carolina; another keep weekend trip, and certainly bittersweet.

Last weekend, my sister-in-law called and told my wife that my Grannie, who's been in poor, declining health for awhile now, looked at her and said, " tell Robbie that if he wants to see me, he needs to come down."

When my wife told me that Sunday night, it floored me, quite frankly. The fact she even was thinking of me was very touching. So, the wheels start spinning as to when to try to get to see her. We ended up shooting for Saturday and came down after my wife got off of work yesterday afternoon.

We arrived in Four Oaks and I took a quick trip through "town" and back to Grannie and Grandaddy's farm where I'd vacation every summer in my very, very early years (5, 6, 7 years old). Whoever owns it now has done a masterful job keeping its originality but also making it modern with beautiful fixtures and features.

My favorite part? One of Grandaddy's old tobacco barns was still standing. Not well, mind you, but still standing. :)

We met sis and headed to Benson to the nursing facility and when I got to her room, I was stunned by her appearance. I didn't think she was going to be as far downhill as she was. So, I took a moment while going in to readjust, and told my Aunt Edna my doctor may have told me not to talk for two weeks, but I every intention of talking to my Grannie. :)

We stayed about 1/2 hour and my cousin Terry, who I of course didn't recognize, came in to relieve my aunt so she could go home. He would spend the night with her. She tried to speak but we understood very little. I did, though, hear her say "Jesus", so I believe it will be a short time before she heads home, but I was very happy to say she was not in pain; the only problem other than the overall health was sores on her ears from lying on pillows hour, after hour, after hour. Her Parkinson's did the most damage; without it she probably would be ticking right along, albeit with limited mobility. But when it got to the point several weeks ago when she fell at Aunt Edna's house, where she lived and my aunt couldn't pick her up, it was time to place her in a care facility.

When Grannie passes, it will almost end the Four Oaks era of life; save Aunt Edna, the Strickland (Frank and Cleo side) will be gone.

And this was the first time I had been bedside of a relative since I lost Mama 4 1/2 years ago. I made it.

Several weeks ago I had to trains of thought:

1) I don't know if I can handle watching someone in the same condition as my Mama was for nine days.

2) I don't want the next time to see my Grannie be with her in her coffin.

Well---Grannie (and I shouldn't be surprised), answered it for me. And I'll forever be grateful for coming down.


Easter 2007; I'll post in a bit. But first (kenju!!!), I've just been given a Smithfield BBQ sandwich and hush puppies.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy.....Spring Break?

I'm sorry, did someone say Break?

The kids only had a "half-day" at school, and with our usual driver out of town on an emergency, there was no one to pick up/watch the kids. So, Dad leaves work, gets Rachel, stops at McDonalds, goes back to work; about an hour later, Rachel and Dad leave, pick up Robbie, give him his food, take him home, Rachel and I return to work again.

Head spinning yet? Thank goodness I didn't have as much commercial copy to hunt down today than I normally have on a Friday, so it all worked out.

So, Robbie and Rachel are off until 4/16, my best buddy at work is gone all next week, and, to beat all, they say it's snowing here overnight. Yeah, spring break alright!

We head back to North Carolina (I'm catching up from all the trips I missed from '03 to '06!) tomorrow afternoon. Grannie is not doing well, and she has asked to see me. Now that is an honor, so I won't let her down. We'll visit tomorrow evening, then head to New Bern for the night, and Easter Sunday Service at my brother's church. That'll be cool.

And, I can't wait to sing the great Easter hymns like, "Christ Arose" and "Christ The Lord Is Risen Today"....oh, that's right. I can't wait to mouth them. I can make myself look like I'm belting out a major league tune, and continue in silence.

Tonight, the past few hours, have been the most difficult time so far in this odyssey keeping myself from talking. Normally. So, I'm getting somewhat frustrated with myself. Being as exhausted as I am right now, I suspect that something to do with it.

So, trip to NC and cannot talk. I WILL, though, talk to my Grannie! :)

Back home Sunday night. Then I hear it's Dad, work your butt off Monday thru Thursday, so we can leave Thursday evening for my first trip to Virginia Beach since the earth-shaking weekend of May 2 and 3, 2004. The family's next trip to Va Beach was the next month, without me, as I am home, working, with a severely separated shoulder.

So, I'm looking forward to the trip; it's really the first "relax trip" I will have taken in, well, three years, and that one was "one night only".

And a shout out to a friend at work who hooked us up with a new place (to us) to stay at the oceanfront. Whoo hoo!


Apparently, Ace Young was at the radio station the past two mornings. I think I walked right past him coming in to work Thursday morning. I didn't know who he was (remember, American Idol is banned from our home). Find out he's back today and a friend apparently brushed against him, came back in the office and said she wasn't washing her left arm again.

Someone does the accidental brush on me, and they return to their cubicles and say, "SAFEGUARD! DIAL! PURELL! ANYTHING! No one took a picture did they? I'd be SCARRED FOR LIFE!"

So, I learned this week that long hair, a six o'clock shadow, jeans, and no jelly belly apparently equals ladies wanting to brush you or take pictures with you.

Having none of those items/qualities, I can only conclude by saying....

"Fat lot I know!!"

(Editor's rebuttal: I have lost five pounds in the past two weeks, eating more salads and definitely less fast food. I'm going for "24 pounds", boy is that ironic! 24 pounds would return me to the 200 level. Then we'll go from there.)

5'10", 180 pounds, and most of the belly gone. That would be great...healthy, more energy, improved sleep.....and still no "hey, he's handsome!" pronouncements. :)

It's gotta be mid-life crisis symptom #17. For years I could have cared less what people thought about my looks. Maybe this will go away, just quietly go away.

Maybe the gut will, too!


Boy, this wasn't meant to be a "lose weight, got a gut, woe for me that no woman notices me" post....that just kinda came up.

Our TOP STORY: Spring Break is here. Lots going on the next nine days, and, of course, we'll keep you posted.

And if you haven't been here either in a few days, or ever, please scroll down to the picture in the last post.

I wanna be her geek!! I love you, Chloe!!!! :)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More and more I fall in love......

If Chloe is a geek, sign me up for a pocket protector!!

Click here for the interview with Mary Lynn Rajskub....

Two weeks of silence: five down, nine to go.....

Not speaking. For two weeks. The first day I thought it to be psychologically chic. The weekend was no problem. Monday I realized how emotionally wrenching it can be to not be able to talk. Today I tried in any way I could to be the witty jokester, only without the use of the spoken English language.

With nine days to go, I'm compiling a list of "things that might happen when I start talking again....or, things I hope are fixed during these 14 days other than my vocal cords....

BUT BEFORE WE BEGIN: I get a kick out of people asking me for answers to questions and explanations to whatever. It's not their fault, it's a natural human action. :)

1) I might recognize my voice.
2) I get to say the word "angst" again, and not just feel the emotion.
3) Drive-thrus will return to being relevant.
4) My brain has had enough time to reprogram itself to make sure I stop yelling the name of my Swedish lover, Anna, in the middle of the night.
5) That I won't have to waste precious vocal cord tissue on the following trite advertising phrases:

--that number again
--it's that time of year again
--hurry, sale ends soon
--lowest prices of the season
--friendly, knowledgable staff
--"insert holiday or season name here" is right around the corner!
--want to save money?

Ha! No, I'm burning through my money, I won't be coming to your store! Heavens to Betsy.....

6) It will be at least 12 hours before yelling my childrens' names returns to being a reflex action
7) I still won't speak a foreign language.
8) I can verbally explain to my wife why "not tonight dear, my legs hurt" is damaging to a guy's ego.
9) I can sing along to the portion of "Rappers Delight" that begins, "..ever been over to a friend's house to eat and the food just ain't no good?"

We will stop at nine. More to come, I reckon.

That is, if I stop yelling out Anna's name. That keeps up, and my voice won't be the only thing on my body not working. :)

No Arm? Still Travel......

....or "24", 9pm to 10pm.

I was VERY close to calling last night's "24" the most boring of the season to this point....until Jack found Gredenko's left arm on the floor. Then it got interesting real fast.

Suddenly, one of the best markout moments in recent "24" memory springs to the surface. Here's an idea! You chop off my left arm; I out you in a bar full of really, really drunk guys. Who see the terrorist stuff on the bar TV. Who realize that Fayed was, well, Fayed. Let the brawl begin.

But the even better part was after Jack got there, told the guy they'd get medical attention for his friend, once Fayed proclaimed he hoped he died, he just plants a foot into Fayed's face and says, "SHUT UP". THAT was priceless, purely priceless.

But then, EVERYBODY gets the last minute swerve that Palmer, yes, PALMER ordered the same strike he fought Daniels to stop. Why? For Palmer it was all a power play. Now he gets to show he's "tough man". Now...let's go back in time shall we?

1) Brother, President David Palmer, assassinated from across the street, high-rise to high-rise, marksman style. The only other human in the room? WAYNE PALMER.

2) When Buchanan offered his house as a quick haven for Chloe to do critical computer work before it was busted into by guys with guns, who was it that also was there, apparently went to bed and NEVER (what?!?) heard the commotion?? WAYNE PALMER.

3) Who, somehow, leaving many "24" wonks with scratching heads, became President during the 18-month Jack Cruise To China? WAYNE PALMER.

4) Who was playing the "buddy-buddy" card to get the VAST majority of Muslims to rise up against the militants, even going as far as to working with a known past terrorist who SAID he wanted peace (but never really had a chance to prove it) in Assad, thereby refusing military action after the nuke hit? WAYNE PALMER.

5) And now, after dramatically coming out of a coma (what?!?) in time to make a phone call, who has "turned on a dime" and ordered the assault that could create World War III-ish chaos? WAYNE PALMER.

You know, the guy who made sure his brother stood in front of the window perfectly and long enough for the shot heard 'round the world.

I've been saying this for a year now, PALMER IS EVIL. And, after a few weeks of learning how to hate VP Daniels, we all may be wanting to attend his next pep rally, even going as far as endorsing his move to commit perjury.

I am smelling the Palmer I've been waiting for. Let's see what happens.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

"The Witham Headlines" debuts.....

....go down the right hand side of the blog's front page and find my newest addition:

The Witham Headlines---powered by Google News, works via keyword. I currently have five. Click on any to see the latest headlines featuring that keyword.

I'll change them up from time to time with GUARANTEED PROMISE.

The following will never be keywords:

--Anna Nicole
--Paris Hilton
--Tom Cruise

Won't it be nice to see news and NOT have to see any of that? (Unless they party in Hanover or with someone named Bonnie, of course....)

The best two reasons for silence today......

......first, of course, not to be egotistical, We're past the 72 hour mark of our two weeks of silence. I have slipped a few times (how can you NOT, you know?!?), but don't think I have spoken more than 40 words since Thursday afternoon.

......secondly, the normal silence you hear coming out of Baltimore, Maryland, is the 2007 Baltimore Orioles baseball season, which, unfortunately begins tomorrow. Is this the year Tampa Bay finally surpasses the O's for fourth place in the AL East?

And, as a final, side note, I'm reading some predictions on regarding the new season, and I note at least one name being touted by experts as their choice for American League MVP......AND I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THE GUY.

I think baseball "jumped the shark" in my life a long time ago.

The Final Two.....

....well, Georgetown goes down and so does my bracket and my chance to beat my brother in our bracket challenge. As Rachel would say, "Ah, snap!"

Tomorrow night. Let's be serious. Do you honestly think Ohio State has a chance? I sure don't.

Florida beat them 86-60 in December, with, granted, some definite changes in Ohio State's makeup.

Any changes won't matter. They'll make it interesting, but it's Florida by 14. Call it 76-62.

NOTE: After seeing him interviewed after Ohio State's win yesterday, I will predict this:

Greg Oden will be a very, very good college basketball analyst one day. In the short answer he gave, I could separate him from the usual answers that are given, plus his vocal clarity was excellent. Hey, if 6' 10" Len Elmore can do the job for many years, why not Oden?

March's Winning Numbers.....

....4, 5, 11, 21 and 25.