Saturday, May 31, 2014

Another milestone for Mason.......

Recently, I blogged about my introduction to James Bond some fifty

years ago through the movie, "Goldfinger".

Today, I introduced my 7 year old grandson to 007.

"Goldfinger" was coming on one of the cable channels, and I thought

I would just let it play and see what happened.

Mason was riveted.

"Is he a good guy or a bad guy?" was the repeated question as if

on a playback loop upon the introduction of every new character.

When Oddjob demonstrated his skill with his flying hat, Mason blurted,

"That was very impressive!!!"...

But Bond's car sealed the deal.  Rotating license plates, machine guns,

smoke generator and an EJECTOR SEAT!!!...

When Bond put it to good use on one of the bad guys, Mason shrieked

with delight.  He wanted to know if I could have one installed in my car.

"Don't think I haven't thought of it, Mason..."

He didn't understand any of the sexy stuff. (At least I don't think he did..)

Tonight, as we tucked him in, I said, "Mason, I've had a great day with you.

We had fun at the pool, you made me laugh and I really enjoyed watching

the movie with you..."

He looked up at me with those big blue eyes and replied,

"I think it's so neat that I saw my first Bond movie..."

And there's somethin' in my eye....

Friday, May 30, 2014

Does the name "Pavlov" ring a bell???......

You know, the guy who did experiments where he would ring a bell when

he fed dogs...The dogs would drool over the food. Soon, the dogs associated

the bell with the food and would drool just at the sound of the bell...

"Conditioned reflex" it's called.

Marianne has taught Foxy Roxy to nuzzle a bell hangin' from our front and

back door knobs to let us know when she wants to go outside.

Sophie can't figure it out. Not the brightest bulb.

Instead, she will just stand in front of me. And stare.

I know to let her out. Simple.

Foxy Roxy will bring me a ball. And stare.

I know she wants me to throw the ball for her and we go outside.

When they are outside, a single bark let's me know that

they want in...

Foxy Roxy and Sophie are easy to train.


And apparently so am I......

Now if I could just stop droolin'...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Creature of habits......................

We all are, I suppose...  We have our little ways of doin' things.

Before I go to bed at night, I set up the coffee maker for in the morning,

so that it'll be ready to brew at the touch of the button as I walked by on

the way to let the dogs out. I also savor a teaspoon of peanut butter.

And once I get into bed, and am ready to fall asleep, I position myself

on my back, legs straight with toes up, and my hands folded across my chest.

This used to freak Marianne out a bit because it's tad too "casket ready"...

I also habitually carry things with me during the day. As a fan of CBS' hit show,

"N.C.I.S.", I'm well aware of Leroy Jethro Gibbs Rule #9..."Always carry a knife..."

So I usually carry a small folder with me in case I'm attacked by an emergency letter

 or package, or in case I've got a random thread hangin' from one of my 20 year old

shirts...And I feel absolutely naked without a pen.

I think this was caused by my stint as a bank teller during my summer

between high school and college. Several times a day, customers would ask to

borrow a pen. I'd oblige. And they NEVER gave it back. I'm quite picky

and protective of my pens.

Some things ingrained in me since I was 9 years old.

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Russell, began every morning with an inspection

of sorts. I don't remember to what standard the girls were held, but for the boys,

we had to have a clean handkerchief, clean fingernails and a comb.  Well, I didn't

really have any fingernails as a nervy little boy, and my hair was cut in a very close

crewcut, but I passed muster with a clean hanky everyday.

I've grown up a bit and now can produce clean fingernails.

I still have no use for a comb.

I ALWAYS carry a clean hanky.

And if you need to borrow my pen? No problem.

Don't wanna give it back?

Remember: I have a knife.  ;-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The classic dilemma......

I had a lot of dilemmas growin' up...

My parents always bought "Neopolitan" ice cream. Chocolate, Vanilla and

Strawberry all in the same container. Not a total dilemma for me.

Chocolate all the way.

Black and white television of the 60's fueled the most internal debates.

Laura Petrie or Samantha Stevens?

Bobbie Jo, Billie Jo or Betty Jo?

Ellie Mae Clampett or Wrangler Jane?

But, by far, the classic dilemma for me and millions of boys like me was...

Ginger or Mary Ann???

One tall and beautiful. One short and super cute. Both WAY overpack

for a three hour cruise.

At first, it was Ginger.

But, there was somethin' about Mary Ann.

Sweet. Unpretentious. And made a mean coconut cream pie.

I decided (at around 11 years old) that Ginger would be a fun date.

But, Mary Ann was a long term deal.

Adult men still have this debate, by the way.

If you doubt me, throw it out for discussion at your next get together...

I've interviewed Dawn Wells several times. By phone, unfortunately.

I thanked her for drop kickin' me through the goalposts of puberty.

It was meant as a compliment, and I think she took it that way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Goin' crazy with colors......

"The new LL Bean catalog is here!!!  The new LL Bean catalog is here!!!"

Well, maybe I wasn't quite THAT excited, but I enjoy perusing the pages.

Something on the "Footwear" pages caught my eye.

The color choices for a pair of hiking boots I liked were...

Black. Autobahn. Detroit.


Autobahn and Detroit are colors???

I had to know, you know?

So, I did the only logical thing.

I called their customer service.

A very friendly lady named Brenda fielded my call.

"Brenda, what color is Autobahn? What color is Detroit?"

As any reasonable human being would do, she LAUGHED.

"Please hold on a minute sir. I want to find that out myself."

After a few seconds, I was speaking with a product expert named Liddy.

She charmingly explained to me that "Detroit" is a light gray, and "Autobahn"

is a dark gray.

Can you imagine that call in reverse?

"What color is dark gray?" "AUTOBAHN!!!"

Anyway, the ladies on the phone were great and lived up to the stellar service

that LL Bean is known for...

But, can't we just keep things simple?

It's all about marketing, I suppose...

But, I do have to wonder.

Would every female I know have been all abuzz about a book entitled,

"Fifty Shades Of Detroit"???

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

I don't remember the gentleman's name...

He was one of almost 100 WWII veterans that left Raleigh-Durham Airport

early one morning a couple years ago...

I was humbled to be in their presence for the Triangle Flight Of Honor.

A day in our nation's capital, including a visit to the WWII Memorial.

His escort had stepped away briefly.

I captured the moment.

I wondered, "What is he thinking? What is he seeing in his mind's eye?

What is he smelling, hearing and feeling?"

I imagined he had gone back in time. Perhaps to a firefight at The Bulge.

Maybe to a pitch black jump over Normandy.

 Or the steaming jungles of the Pacific.

I had an overwhelming sense that was recalling his teammates.

His friends. His brothers-in-arms.

The ones that didn't make it back.

His heroes...

I may not remember his name...

But I will always remember this image.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends..."

John 15:13


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby.........

On this Memorial Day weekend, I thought I'd share this letter that I first learned

about in the movie, "Saving Private Ryan"....

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
Dear Madam,--
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln

On this Memorial Day, let us honor the memory of all who have paid the ultimate

price in the service of our Nation, and remember the loved ones they left behind.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I plead "No Contest" to her subconscious....

It was before dawn, when I heard Marianne's voice.

"I don't want you touching me!!!"

"Huh? Whaaaa?"

"You ripped a bandage off of me!!!  Really hard!!!"

I'm lyin' there only semi-semi-conscious, and I'm thinkin'....

"When did I DO that?" I tried to remember any injuries she may have sustained recently.

I came up blank. What kind of husband forgets that his wife has been injured?

My mind spun as fast as my mind can spin prior to my morning blast of caffeine.

We had done yardwork yesterday, I thought. Nope. That wasn't it.

Ahhhhhhhhhh........I had hurt her in her dream...

Marianne's dreams are very real and she can recall them for decades.

I am responsible for any errors that I commit in her dreams.

I am responsible for any errors that I commit when she's awake.

I remember that time Salma Hayek and I were makin' out in our kitchen.

Oh, wait.....That was MY dream.

And...apparently....I am responsible for errors I commit in my own dreams.

Note to self... If I ever wake up again with a great big ol' smile on my face...LIE.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Close Encounters Of The "No Shoulders" Kind......

I love surprises. When pulled on others.

I'm usually embarrassed when I'm surprised...Don't know what to say.

I was surprised today.

I was cleaning up some stuff we've had piled up near our HVAC units.

Old sprinklers, bags of river pebbles and empty flower pots.

That's when I came face to fang with a coiled up copperhead.

Almost became an "old sprinkler" myself...

I called a friend who catches and releases them, but he was 150 miles

away, so I did what I felt I had to do.

I've always teased Marianne that she has a very specific "Snake Scream".

Turns out, she's got nothin' on me....

She says mine's somethin' like..."WHOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!"

She also claims that I used other words. A lot of other words.

Words she's never heard strung together before.

Even  compound words that previously had never existed.

Apparently this time, I knew what to say...

Now I'm waitin' on our HOA to fine me for violating some noise ordinances...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

First you start, and then don't stop...

In the Fall of 1999, my wife Marianne was working with the youth drama team at

our church when she had an idea...What if she could combine the story

of the birth of Christ with the Charles Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol"?

She locked herself in a room at the nearby Holiday Inn Express for two days.

She wrote it so that each member of the team had a role, including some comic

relief in the form of a shepherd who couldn't find his sheep...

"The First Christmas Carol" was born and performed by the youth as the Christmas play.

It played to capacity audiences twice.

And that was the end of it. Or not.

The idea kept nudging her...

In 2006 she started the process of writing it as a novel.  Her efforts ebbed and flowed.

She'd write some and then quit. Rinse. Repeat.

The idea percolated and persisted.

She wrote more. Found a publisher. Who found her an editor.

I watched as she would open the brown envelope with the editor's

red marker streaks all over her manuscript.

She kept at it.  Fewer and fewer red marks appeared.

"The First Christmas Carol" was published on Nov 7, 2013.

Her Mom died six days later on Nov. 13...

Her highest "high" and lowest "low" in less than a week.

The holidays brought book signings along with radio, TV and newspaper


Last evening in Ridgecrest, NC, at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian

Writer's Conference, she received the "Director's Choice" Award 2014 for Best


Over 14 1/2 years from inception to award.

I'm so proud of her and her determination to get it done.

And so is her Mom...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Daddy/Daughter Date Night......

We were driving to Durham to attend the Brian Regan comedy show at DPAC,

when our daughter Jessica piped up from the back seat. "Hey Dad!!!  Eddie Izzard's

coming to DPAC!"

"He is???"

"Yeah!  May 21st!!!"

"Hmmmm....Well don't we already have a Daddy/Daughter Date Night planned for May 21st?"

"Oh yeah...."  She sounded more than a bit disappointed...

I watched her in the rear view mirror.

I saw the moment that the light bulb illuminated.

"Are we goin' to see Eddie?!?!? We're goin' to see Eddie!!! We're goin' to see Eddie!!!"

She shrieked this while pounding my right shoulder with her fist.

And while I was motoring at 70 mph on the 540 Expressway...

Tonight was the night.  Dinner and a show with my beautiful and talented Jessica...

I love it when a plan comes together...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I must confess.......

True confession time.

I am not a man.

I don't see myself as one, anyway. I see myself as a guy.

Numerous friends have demanded that my "Man Card" be revoked, typically

when they find out that I can't really drive a stick, I have no idea how to even

start a motorcycle and I can only grow a wimpy beard.

I'm afraid of heights, sharks and flying monkeys....

If I were to attempt to use a power saw, my nickname would soon be "Lefty"...

Truth is, I was never issued a "Man Card"....

If I was, I would probably would have clothes pinned it to the spokes of my

bicycle to make it sound like a motorcycle.

 And I am quite content with that....

Monday, May 19, 2014

The confusin' "Cloud"....

I guess I've sipped the Kool Aid....

I now have an iPod, an iPad, an iPhone and a Macbook Pro.

I take a photo with my iPhone and it also appears on my iPad.

It's like some kinda magic trick.

I'm told that they "talk" to each other...They "share" things.

I was shocked to see that my iTunes library was on my iPhone,

and I didn't do anything to put it there....

"Oh, it's in the cloud..."

"What cloud?"

"The Apple cloud."

"Where is this cloud?"

"It's everywhere."

"Can I see it?"



"Trust me. It's everywhere."

"Soooooo....The cloud is like Santa?"


OK....My head is poundin'.

I'm a guy who can't find the gallon of milk in the fridge, and I'm suppose to

believe in a magical cloud that is everywhere, and apparently

can do everything.

I have this crazy image of all my songs just floatin' around somewhere.

Can I download my songs if it's a beautifully clear day? Not a cloud in the sky?

What if my iPhone thinks I'm nuts and tells my iPad?

Sometimes I think it's best to not pay any attention to the

Man Behind The Curtain, or Cloud, as the case may be....

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Here comes the judge......

The Bible says, "Judge not that ye be not judged..."

Unless you're a judge.

Which I am. Now.

Yesterday I attended a BBQ Judges training class, at the invitation of my

friend, Graham Wilson...

The Kansas City Barbecue Society's certified judges training class, to be precise.

Now, prior to the class, I had never met a BBQ'd chicken, pig or brisket

that I didn't like.

All that's history.

I learned about appearance, taste and texture.

I learned that adding garnish to your presentation is OK,

but using red tipped lettuce is a huge no-no...

And never let your sauce "pool"...

To prove to you just how serious these folks are,

at the end of class, we all stood, raised our right hands,

and took a pledge...

We said...

"I do solemnly swear to objectively and subjectively evaluate each Barbeque meat that is presented to my eyes, my nose, my hands and my palate. I accept my duty to be an Official KCBS Certified Judge, so that truth, justice, excellence in Barbeque and the American Way of Life may be strengthened and preserved forever..."

Soon, I'll be getting my official  certified BBQ judge's card in the mail...

I feel kinda like Barney Fife with his bullet.

So don't be surprised to see me with a single pork rib in my shirt pocket...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I wish you had been there.....

Marianne and I got a heads up that there would be a couple of special young men

at our table tonight at the Make A Wish Ball in downtown Raleigh...I got reintroduced

to Michael and Chris. I say "reintroduced" because I first met them about ten years ago

when they were patients at Duke Children's Hospital. Michael is now 18, and Chris is

almost 14...Both were born with some congenital challenges. Both are doing pretty well

now. And both have benefited from the great work of Make A Wish Eastern North Carolina.

We had lively conversation. Michael will be entering college soon with plans of studying

psychology, and Chris can't decide on becoming a chef or a singer. Of course, he might do


Tonight was a reminder of how fragile life is, and how strong the human spirit is.

If you're looking for someplace to give of your time and/or money, look no further

than this fine organization...

Where there is a wish, there is hope.

Now there's a coupla four letter words we need to hear more often......

Friday, May 16, 2014


It was the late 1990's or 2000 when we took our morning show to New York City

 for a couple days. The main reason was to have roles as "extras" on the set of

CBS' soap opera, "GUIDING LIGHT"... Our local CBS affiliate tv station, WRAL

pulled the necessary strings and we were good to go.

My on air partners at the time, Schatzie and Angela, and I arrived at the

appointed time. The only "star" that was there at the time was actor Robert Newman,

a great guy whom I had met several times when he would come to Durham for the

annual Duke Children's Classic. We were briefed on our scene... It was set in a diner,

and we three would be in the background eating at our table while the principal

characters played out their scene in a booth.  A "waitress" brought us cold coffee

and cold toast and we pretended as though we were eating, complete with

ad-libbed conversation along the lines of..."Can you believe we're on the set of

"GUIDING LIGHT" and we're pretending to eat cold toast and drink cold coffee?"

But suddenly, things changed. The director wanted me in the MAIN SCENE.

My BIG BREAK!!!  "This is it!!!", I thought. My mind jumped to accepting an Emmy.

I was to be stage right and out of the shot initially. When the director yelled "Action!"

I would simply walk behind the character who was standing at the booth.

I took my place.

The director said, "Ready? ACTION!!!"

And.... I forgot how to walk.

Yes. You. Read. That. Correctly.

Now, a normal human being will swing their arms counter to their legs when they


Not I.

I swung my arms in sync with my legs. Right arm and leg forward. Same with the left.

Try it. It ain't easy.

I eventually got it right.

Still waitin' for that Emmy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just as I'm dozin' off at the pool.....

"Marco!!!"...  "Polo!!!"

Never fails.

"Marco!!!"...  "Polo!!!"

Anytime I wanna relax at the pool...

"Marco!!!...  "Polo!!!"

Kids just havin' fun. A cool little "hide and seek" game.

"Marco!!!"...  "Polo!!!"

I'm not opposed to kids havin' fun.

"Marco!!!"...  "Polo!!!"

Do they even know who he was???

"Marco!!!"...  "Polo!!!"

Maybe someone more contemporary.

"Miley!!!"...  "Cyrus!!!"

SHE they would know, though I'm not sure they should....

"Joe!!!"...  "Biden!!!"

Nah.....How about actually tryin' to solve a mystery?

"Jimmy!!!"...  "Hoffa!!!"


"Amelia!!!"...  "Earhart!!!"

Hmmmmmm......I sense a new reality TV show in the making...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Teach a girl to fish....

It was almost a year ago today...Marianne and I took our grandson Mason to Bass Lake 

for a little fishing...The nibbles were very few and far between....Mason became more 

interested in chasing lizards....and Marianne was drawn to a nest with baby birds nearby...

A young brother and sister walked up and watched me for a bit...She said that she had 

never caught a fish before, and doubted that she even could....I invited her to try. 

I showed her how to put the worm on the to focus on the bobber...

Success came in the form of a prime candidate for smallest fish ever snagged.

"Aliyah" may never give that day's moment a second thought...

But I sure have...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Honor Thy Father"....

Tonight's season finale of CBS' "N.C.I.S." demonstrates why it remains the #1

scripted show on television. It's all about the story...

Brilliant writing. Generous portions of humor. Characters you care about....

Someone described it as not so much about what happened at the crime scene,

but rather what happened on the way to the crime scene...

I had tried to get into the "C.S.I." trio, but I found that I couldn't even remember the

characters' names.  I never cared.

Tonight's tribute to the late actor Ralph Waite was a classic episode.

I felt like we had lost a friend.

What writing. What acting. What a story.

I cared...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Semper Fi.....

"GET OFF MY BUS!!! MOVE!!!..."

And so it began. My three day stint aboard U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot

Parris Island. I remember thinkin' "She ain't playin'." The female drill instructor was

wearin' her "war" face, and for all I knew, it was her "only" face.We lumbered off the bus

 and double timed it over to the yellow footprints - images on the blacktop that, when

properly stood upon by our motley crew, would somewhat resemble a "formation".

Several other D.I.'s joined in the fun, encouraging us at the top of their lungs.

To our right was a brick building with silver doors. Known as the "Silver Hatch", new

recruits would pass through them only once. Above the Silver Hatch were the words,

"Where The Transformation Begins".

We were ordered to form up in two lines. One male and one female. The first person

in each line was to have their toes touching the base of the bottom step leading up

to the Silver Hatch. We broke ranks and bolted to the steps. I was first in line.

I stood at my version of attention. One of the D.I.'s stood on the first step in front

of me and bellowed, "GET BEHIND HIM!!!"  I stood ramrod straight and still.

"GET BEHIND HIM NOW!!!"  I thought, "Why won't these idiots get behind me?"

I glanced to my rear and saw that I was alone. The realization hit me. "He's

screamin' at ME!!!!!" I backpeddled to the rear of the correct line. "Great. I

haven't been here 10 minutes and I'm already "That Guy"...

This journey had been set in motion by an offhand comment I made on the air one

morning. I was sharin' how our nephew David, who was goin' through boot camp at

the time, had told his parents that he thought he was doin' well because he had had his

foot locker thrown at him only once...A Raleigh based Marine captain heard me

and nominated me to attend an "Educator's Workshop", a three day visit to Parris Island.

It's usually reserved for teachers, principals, guidance counselors and members of the media.

I jumped at the chance. My coworkers thought I was crazy because:  A) I took the three

days as vacation time. B) They figured that the Marines would kill me. C) They ALWAYS

thought I was crazy anyway...

We toured where recruits receive their buzz cuts, where they make that first 7 second

phone call home and their squad bays....By the way, I have never been in such a crazy

clean place. Nephew David later told me that he cleaned the same window every morning

after breakfast.....for 13 weeks.

We toured the obstacle course and, my favorite, the rifle range. Our supervising

instructor had me dialed in and hitting the target with semi-regularity out to 500 yards.

I was pretty excited, because I usually can't see 500 yards...

On a more personal level, I was informed that I would be able to meet and have lunch

with a recruit from the Raleigh area. Zack Schmidt had graduated from Broughton High and had

enlisted with hopes of getting into aviation. He was happy for the break in his training,

but wary of his D.I.'s warning: "You're gonna pay for this when you get back..."

I don't remember much about our lunch conversation, but this I vividly remember...

I asked him if he wanted to talk to his parents right then, and I pulled out my phone.

He looked to his left and right...looked right back at me and said, "I'd better not."

So I did the next best thing. After we parted, I called his Mom. I told her that I had just

had lunch with her boy. That he looked well and fit. And that he wanted her to know

that he was trying his best to break the handguard on his M-16. If, when performing

the Manual Of Arms, he could manage to break it, his D.I. would allow him to call

home on her birthday.

Sometimes life let's you know when you get it right.

It was one of those times.

Semper Fi...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day......

My Mom would wake my brothers and me up in the mornings by singing...

"Oh how I hate to get up in the morrrrrrrrning! Oh how I'd much rather stay in bed!!!!..."

I vividly remember her teaching me to tie my shoes.

To "sound out" my words when I was learning to spell.

Showin' me the correct way to write a check so that a bad guy couldn't drain my account.

Her explanation of "the birds and the bees" still leaves me baffled.  It had somethin'

to do with a "Doodly Doo" and a "Woodly Woo".

The memory is still crystal clear to me of the time I was playing with some friends in

front of my house, and they wanted me to come to their house and play...My Mom stepped

out onto the porch and yelled, "Billy can't leave the yard!!!  He's had a laxative!!!"...

She had no problem exacting discipline. It was never, "Just wait til your father gets home."

It was "AND wait til your father gets home."

She loved our Dad, her sons and everyone...

Dementia took her long before she physically left us.

I know where she is.

I hope they have Wi-Fi in heaven.

I hope she reads this.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

I love you.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

We laughed til we cried......


This headline caught my eye about a week ago...

Researchers have discovered that hearty laughter improves short term memory,

lowers blood pressure and stress hormone levels, and that 10-15 minutes of

hearty laughter can burn up to 40 calories...

With that in mind, we saw our favorite comedian, Brian Regan, at the DPAC this


His opening act, Tom Ryan, was really good and performed for 30 minutes.

Brian did an hour and then another 10 as an encore...We appreciate Brian so much,

and have been goin' to see him for 20+ years.  We works clean and is so relatable with his

observational style. Check him out on YouTube or Netflix. I hope you'll like him.

If not, find somethin' or someone you find to be hysterical, and watch them A LOT.

Laughter mixed with tears because you're laughin' so hard feels so GOOD.

Plus, from my perspective, tonight my blood pressure dropped 17 points, I burned off

a bunch of those fries I had with dinner, and I remembered where I parked my car...

Thanks Tom.

Thanks Brian...

They filled my prescription for punchlines tonight...

Friday, May 9, 2014

One man's crap is another man's crap...

Just got notice today that our "Community Yard Sale" is comin' up.

Remind me to be out of the country.

Experience has taught me that the idea of havin' a yard sale is always better

than actually having the yard sale.

First, you have to decide WHAT you want to sell. And if you're married,


Hey, maybe I wanna keep my copy of  "Top Gun", and besides, maybe VHS tapes will make a comeback.

If your wife doesn't wanna sell it, it doesn't get sold.

If YOU don't wanna sell it, don't blink.

This is called "compromise".

And the most common price for anything is 10 cents. That's too much for some folks.

"I'll give ya 9 cents."

At that point I've got no choice but to mess with 'em...

"I won't take a penny over 8 cents!!!"

They ponder this. "Uh....well, er.....Never mind."

We once had an Elvis impersonator show up and ask if I had any of the King's stuff.

"No sir. Sorry I can't help you."

"Well, thank yew. Thank yew veeerrrrrry much..."  (Note: Not all Elvis impersonators are guys)

We once had a packet of glitter stolen. I know it was stolen because the packet was sliced open

and the contents were gone. WHO STEALS GLITTER?!?!?.....(Hmmmmm. Now that I

think of it, I seem to recall Cher was in concert that weekend...)

And then there's that odd feelin' you get when people look at your crap like it's....crap.

"Hey, you can't call my crap crap, only I can call my crap crap!!!"

When my parents moved in an effort to downsize in their retirement, they decided to have

a yard sale.  Put an ad in the paper that clearly stated that it would start at 7am.  Folks started

showing up at 5:30...There wasn't a price marked on anything. Above the furor I can

still hear my mother's wail..."Calm down everyone! No reasonable offer will be forgiven!!!..."

I think Mom said exactly what she meant...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Those who know, do....

Those who understand, teach..."  So said Aristotle, a Greek guy who had a lot of cool stuff to say.

I thought of this quote earlier when I learned that the Wake County "Teacher Of The Year"

Awards Banquet was being held tonight in downtown Raleigh.

I thought back to the teachers that had a lasting impression on me.

Coach Mickey Byrd flashed in my mind. He was my first gym teacher at Ferguson High School

in Newport News, Va. We heard a rumor that he was a former Marine drill instructor.

To us 8th graders he was a giant. I still laugh when I replay the memory of the day some of the guys got

the bright idea that it would be fun to throw Coach Byrd into the showers. They assaulted the coach's office,

and in seconds, out they flew, one by one, as if launched from a catapult.  Good times.

He loved leg lifts, burpees...and us.

Gilbert Crippen was my geography teacher. I enjoyed him so much that I took his class TWICE.

Standard geography and then economic geography. I credit him with my love of travel and learning

about faraway places...I still am in touch with him from time to time.

And there are many others. Boswell, Butler, Hudgins, Chesson, Dodson, Crum, Ritchie and more...

I was taught "old school" style, and I'm glad for it.

Some of the "tactics" that my teachers used would probably lead to a lawsuit today.

I wish I knew then how much I would appreciate them now.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Everything's easy if you know how......

"Get a Mac.", they said. "It'll be easy.", they said.

I've had my iPhone for a coupla years now. It's kinda cool.

Takes good photos. Makes and takes calls.

I like the Google Maps thingy when it talks to me and tells me that I'm lost.

I am NOT on speaking terms with "Siri" however. "Siri"-ously. Never.

Even have an iPad.

So since my PC clone desktop has been on life support for about a year now, I decided

to jump into the deep end of the Apple pool.

Got a MacPro laptop.

Had my first "One To One" session at the Apple store today.

John was most helpful.

Showed me a lot of whizbang features, including the one, two and three fingered swipes or "gestures".

He warned me that some of the "gestures" could get me in trouble.

"Yeah. I saw a few gestures on the Beltline this morning..."  He smiled.

He showed me how to change my Apple ID....Piece. Of. Cake.

We parted ways.

I got home to find that my iPad will no longer let me update my apps.

Now I'm thinkin' of a gesture.....

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I got to vote today.....

I know the little sticker says, "I voted"....but I prefer to think of it as, "I got to vote today"...

While it is a "right", I also think of it as a hard won "privilege"...

After the voting booth, some errands needed to be run.

I usually drive the shopping cart when Marianne and I go to the store, and today was no different at Tractor

Supply. I was loadin' up bags of birdseed when I noticed a seasoned citizen wrestling with a 50 pounder.

"Sir, I can help you with that."

"Ya know, when you get to be 91, you kinda slow down a bit."

"Well sir, let me know when you'll be 91, 'cause you don't look a day over 75."

He kinda chuckled at my attempt at charm, and I added, "Did you serve during World War II?"

"Yes I did. In the Pacific. On Luzon and Mindanao, in the Philippines."


"No, I was a surgical assistant. Sometimes my memory isn't too good."

"Well, I would imagine that there are some things you don't want to remember."

He paused. "That's right", he said. "And that's why."

He went on to tell me that he went to Hiroshima just a few weeks after our A-Bomb fell on it.

A member of our "Greatest Generation".

I shook his hand. "Thank you for your service, sir."

"Thank you."

He was soon out of my sight. But he is not out of my mind.


Monday, May 5, 2014


We haven't seen Jack for four years....

Jack Bauer returns to network television in less than two hours from the time of this writing.

He goes full tilt until the mission is accomplished.

For eight seasons (days) he got shot, beaten, electrocuted, stabbed in the back (literally

and figuratively) and really annoyed.

The clock kept tickin'...

He NEVER ate, slept or went to the bathroom.

Perhaps this is the model we should demand of our politicians.

Lock them in their chambers.

Bring them nothing to eat or drink.

And change the locks on the Executive Washrooms.

They get nothing until real progress is made for the benefit of our nation.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Thief of the mind......

My oldest brother no longer knows my name. He knows that he knows me, but my name has escaped

through some cracked window in his mind... Our Mom used to say that she had twins eight years apart.

I followed him into the radio business and he was my role model and mentor for the bulk of my career.

He now lives in a locked down assisted living facility where he can get the care he needs. Marianne and

I went to visit him today with his wife and daughter. He's in good spirits and tries to join in the conversation.

He engages in confabulation, which is talking just to talk. A lot of what he says makes no sense.

There is a tendency to try to quiz someone with dementia. To try to light a spark of recognition or

recollection... Don't. It only adds to their stress and anxiety. Let their memories come when they can.

And they will. Savor these moments.

Some people think that caring for a loved one with dementia is like caring for a child. It isn't.

Typically, with a child, you'll see progession....An increase in their skills and vocabulary. With a

dementia patient, you'll see regression...a decrease in EVERYTHING.

It is exceedingly cruel.

It is relentless.

It is a very slow goodbye.

So what do you do?

Just. Love. Them.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Connecting the dots....

Marianne and I attended a benefit event this evening for the Emily Krzyzewski Center in Durham.

The Center provides support for kids that need it. Coach K referenced it as "the soil where they can plant

their roots..."  He talked about going home to Chicago and visiting the house where he grew up, the

playground where his imagination allowed him to see success and to connect the dots that have led him to

where he is today...

We all can do the same. None of us got to where we are without the "soil" into which we've grown our

"roots"...Our parents and siblings, teachers, friends, foes and more have formed us into who we are.

I love to connect the dots of my life. To reflect on those people and events that have shaped me.

I've done well. I couldn't have gotten here without a lot of help. And here's the really cool thing.

There's gonna be more dots.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pooped puppies......

Marianne and I saw an intriguing stat today. The stat reveals that 8 out of 10 pet owners allow their "fur-

kids" onto/into the bed with them...

We are a house divided.

I routinely get up first in the morning. I let our girls, Sophie and Foxy Roxy, out to do their "chores", upon

completion of which they bolt past me and jet upstairs to take my place on and in the bed. Marianne loves

that they do this. Me, not so much.

I, once every 3 or 4 years, will doze off for a nap on the bed and one or both dogs may join me. For a while.

And....they are NEVER welcome "under the covers" with me.  Dogs have been known to attack small,

rodent like things, so why press my luck?  It's dark under there and I'm not really sure how good their

vision is anyway. Marianne is quite comfortable with them under the covers, but she has less at stake.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Where "Shhhhhhhhh..." happens

I reintroduced myself  to an old friend today....

I had to "reintroduce" myself because they had forgotten me.

Yep. I went to the library.

I LOVE books and what they contain.

I LOVE the smell and the silent serenity of that sanctuary.

There were summers in my youth when I think I went to the library just about every day.

I remember being astonished when I learned that a book could be better than the movie.

A great quote I saw not long ago from Frank Serafini..."There is no such thing as a child who hates to read,

there are only children who haven't found the right book..."

I believe that...

I hadn't visited the library in so long that my card was no longer valid.

The patient librarian issued me a new one and I borrowed two books for two weeks...

I also picked up a coupla magazines from the "FREE" bin.

So my friend, I'll be back to see you soon and often.

As another quote I recall says, "One who does not read is no better off than one who cannot read..."

Of course, that would also apply to exercising or eating right, but I'll save those topics for another time...

I've got a book to crack....