Wednesday, January 21, 2009

When The Family Shrinks

It's been a long week and it's only Wednesday. All the inaugeral hoopla, a little bout with some bug, some very deep cuts at my company and plans for a quick trip to Mexico (I think - have to post on that if I become convinced anyone in our little band of asylum escapees actually knows where we're going) have made for some restless nights.

The economy has been tough on everyone...this week it hit home with my "work" family...Yes, I'm still employed (they're never going to find someone to work my hours for as little money) but some people I've worked with a long time were "broomed."

This is hopefully the worst it will get, but I've seen a lot of strange things and odd decisions in the broadcasting biz over the past three decades or so.

To my friends who are no longer my co-workers...know you are missed. Also know careers do not define who you are.

I have been blessed to see many of my "work family" members at a level that goes far beyond work.

The path may have taken a twist...but our relationships bend with the seasons.

Bless you my friends...we'll talk more when and if I return from or go to Mexico.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Goodbye Mr. Bush

President Bush is preparing to make his farewell address to the nation tonight. I for one will miss him, not only because I do not regret voting for the man, twice. I think history will portray him in a far different light than today's media.

I met George W. Bush long before he ran for public office, when he showed his temper a bit more, and I witnessed his transformation over the years as he allowed God into his life by pushing some other things out of day to day existence. I saw him accomplish amazing things while Governor, crossing political boundaries where many others feared to tread. I watched him tear up when talking to a relatively small group of reporters about how important it was to change our state's adoption find children homes.

I saw the softer side.

However I will confess that a part of me will miss President Bush for purely selfish reasons. As a radio guy, I will miss some of the wonderful words he made up, like "misunderestimate" as well as the many times I was able to watch members of my family cringe as he pronounced the word "nuclear." Like "misunderestimate" - which he said so often it actually is now listed as acceptable in some dictionaries, his pronunciation of nuclear is also now "accepted" some linguistic nerds who decide such things.

The President of the modern era of the 24 hour news cycle is almost always being recorded by someone. I shudder to think what type of compilation of flubs could be made from my rambling remarks on a day to day basis were I in the same position. Mercifully, most of the time I screw up on the radio I am able to edit out my errors.

I believe President Bush has left our country safer, I believe he honestly tried to restore integrity to a place where such a task might not be possible. Make no mistake, I supported the man eight years ago and I still do today.

That being said, I also know he has a sense of I hope he will forgive me for posting here just a few of the "classic Bush-isms" recorded for all time...I'll remember him for these too and remember him fondly.

Come back to Texas Mr. Bush...some of us still speak your language.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Harlan, I Promise One Day I'll Respond

*Disclaimer: The title of this post is completely unrelated to the contents.*

I have an email folder called "Blog Fodder."

This I'm sure is thrilling information for you, but I actually have a point, whether I get to it is anyone's guess.

That little folder is where I direct emails to myself containing stuff I might want to mention on my blog. This can be a news story, a picture, a memory, an occasional inspirational thought, a biblical lesson, or a reminder of a bad odor. It's pretty much a Pandora's box of my head clutter.

Today for instance I spotted this news clipping...although clipping might be the wrong word. The former finance director for Lakeview Weslyan Church and its Christian school in Indiana has been charged with stealing nearly $300,000 from church accounts.
Prosecutors say he spent the money on all sorts of things....including about 800 bucks that paid for his vasectomy. That's money you can't get back, but all things considered it's probably money well spent.

A couple of weeks ago I vowed I would slog through some of the older items and get rid of some of the clutter in my blog fodder folder - sort of like when you finally decide you are really going to clean the garage. I started wading in hoping my tetanus shot was up to date and then got derailed by silly little things, like Amy's health, our daughter's wedding, relatives coming into town, a new house guest taking refuge with us for a while.

So I'm trying again... the end result of this literary expulsion may be profound, poetic or even considered prose - however were I you, I'd take "the under" and bet on more of a mental demolition derby without announcers or even car numbers to at least explain the lunacy. Nothing is off limits including the kitchen sink.

Actually that's not a kitchen sink, but the mention of a sink of any form doesn't bode well for the rest of this phrenological foray...unless of course you bet the under.

A few weeks ago they auctioned off virtually everything from Texas Stadium. It's eventually being torn down so Jerry Jones can make more money to help pay for his monolithic "new" stadium almost as large as his ego and really even bigger than his wallet. It's akin to a modern day Roman Coliseum, and the way the Cowboy's have performed lately gives more credence to that analogy.....substitute Christians for the Cowboys and just about any team for the lions, except the actual Detroit Lions who apparently don't have the teeth for either game.

Anyway, that sink is the official "Dallas Cowboy's Head Coach's Sink" - used by greats like Tom Landry and lesser men.

Still looks like a fairly plain sink to me.

It sold as did almost every piece of Texas stadium including urinals from the team locker room.

Not sure how many they sold or for how much, but the listing did mention to remember that, "There is no 'P' in team." Presumably the NFL drug testers didn't sanction that slogan.

I was elsewhere while folks were bidding on the "Throne of Champions" - yes, an entire locker room toilet stall - no, I'm not putting up a photo. It's a toilet. Big sweaty men sat on it for a lot of years. Someone paid a lot of money for it I'm sure.

Besides the obvious fact that much of Dallas will soon be adorned with bits of Texas stadium, making it unsafe to visit anyone in or near "Big D" lest you be surprised to find they are the proud owners of a towel rack once used by Luis Zendejas, the auction was disturbing to me because I was at another auction as the Jerry Jones Wallet-A-Thon one was going on. I was at a fundraiser for a San Antonio charity called the:

I try to take part every year. Our radio stations band together and we broadcast for a couple or three days round the clock asking folks to give money or come visit us and bid on "silent" auction items - which it's usually my job to hawk not so silently.

It's a wonderful organization that does wonderful work and it tugs at every string of your heart. Plus, as charities go, it's about as transparent as they come. Elf Louise has no paid employees, everyone is a volunteer; 98 cents of every dollar donated is spent directly on one thing: toys. Just for the record, the other 2 cents goes for insurance and sometimes warehouse costs. Every toy is given to an underprivileged kid in the San Antonio area by volunteers dressed as Santa and elves, who pay for their own gas.

Thanks to a little corporate leverage , Elf Louise has some buying power so they figure it costs an average of seven bucks to buy a brand new "good" toy for a child often expecting nothing, because that's often the only way their young lives have ever been. Little lives with low expectations.

Nothing was on sale at Texas Stadium for seven bucks...or for charity, unless you think Jerry Jones needs more money.

At the Elf-A-Thon I donated some time, some money and "bid" on one silent auction item not thinking I'd win since I was the first bidder. I should have taken the under on that one too.

You may not be aware of this, but apparently there's not a real market for "Doggie Day Care."

I won a certificate good for three days of "Doggie Day Care" from what I'm sure is a wonderful place. What I'm not sure about is how I'd use it. I mean maybe we'll have a day when we'll want to take one of our three dogs to "day care" instead of our apparently out of fashion approach - we open the back door and say "get out..out..out! Then we leave them out there with food and water and their destructive tendencies until their barking makes us try to remember the last time a neighbor smiled at us.

Of course were we to take one of our dogs to "day care," jealousy might rear its ugly head. The certificate is good for "one" dog - I already thought of the idea of trying to convince these folks to take three dogs for one day instead of one for three.

No chance.

For one, there's a required doggie day care "pre-interview" our lucky dog and its owner must attend. Sitting through a doggie day care "pre-interview" with one of our rebellious hounds will probably have Amy and I promising each other almost anything to avoid...sitting through a "pre-interview" while trying to keep all three of our dogs from destroying Camp Ruff Ruff (not the real name) would be an impossible task and neither of us could promise the other enough to make it worthwhile to either.

Yes, the upside is that it will make the blog fodder folder should it happen.

Of course I'm also sort of nervous about showing one dog favoritism over another. Not that we don't already. I mean "Abby" has the run of the house, sleeps in the bed half almost all the time, chews on whatever she can find that is the most valuable, and is spoiled rotten. Yes, for those of you paying close attention (I can't imagine why) we did change her name from "Gabby" because the origins of that name were disturbing to us, much as was the person who bestowed the moniker upon her.

Back to the point, like someone is following this, I recently read that dogs can perceive when they're getting the short end of the stick or no stick to fetch at all. Apparently they actually get a p.o.'d - (note the urinal-theme foreshadowing) and become somewhat beligerant.

In short, researchers gave one group of dogs treats for doing a simple trick while training another group of dogs to perform the same trick. You got it, second group, all tricks but no treats. Soon, the second group not only stopped doing the trick, they refused to acknowledge the trainers existence for the most part, spending most of their time yawning, scratching, licking themselves - well, you get the idea.

Were we to take Abby to doggie day care - assuming this is a pleasant experience - I can envision Winston and Avery being completely disobedient.

Then again, that wouldn't be much of a change I guess.

The idea that dogs might experience emotions such as jealousy and to a degree a sense of retribution gave me pause to wonder if some folks might think twice about getting a dog in the future. What if they form a union or worse yet a political party - then no one would want one.

What would we do for companionship we could love and ignore depending on time constraints?

Thank goodness for the blog fodder folder.

Oh, and say,"Hello" to Aiko.

"Aiko" is a life-sized "Fembot" with amazing abilities as demonstrated in the video below.

The inventor of "Project Aiko" swears he has no plans to try to create a robotic girlfriend...he prefers to train her to be a "maid."

Call me suspicious, but with that attitude I suspect he's not going to find many girlfriends anyway.

Sigh....I barely dented my blog fodder file and I already have to go....dang urinal theme.

Saturday, January 03, 2009