Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Writer's Workshop-A Friend For Life And My 100th Post


I haven't participated in this much lately, but this really inspired me. This carnival, by Mama Katt, definitely can stretch your creative juices. Tonight, though, I'm only writing on one. You'll see why as you read.


1.) How did you meet your best friend?
(inspired by Kati from Country Girl, City Life)

SEE BELOW

2.) What are you feeling guilty about? or Memories of your childhood home.
(inspired by Josie from Sleep Is For The Weak)

3.) Tell why you are ecstatic "The one that got away" got away.
(inspired via twitter by Jay from Halftime Lessons)

4.) Have you found your bliss? What path did you take to get there? or are you still searching)
(inspired by Carma from Carma Sez)

5.) Create a conversation between one of these three couples:
(inspired by myself)



The fall of 1988 found me in a random North Texas College going to college as a freshman. I had picked this University for two simple reasons. One, I had a chance to walk on to their tennis team and two...well, my brother was going there.

I was not the most gifted socially and I felt that I need the security of having my brother there in case I got home sick or worse. So, in late August, I was trudging my way to the courts for the tryouts. I had a sense of dread as I felt I had gotten in over my head. You see, I wasn't that great in tennis. I was number three on my high school team...a small town high school team at that....and here I was playing against guys that went to region and state in 4A and above. Let's just say, I was a long shot to even be practicing the next day.

Well, as I was watching the action onfold on all the courts around me, I noticed that my earlier worries were ringing to be true. I was watching drills with the other players that I was competing against and I found they didn't miss a lot. One guy was an obviously rich asshole preppy with an red izod collared shirt. He had a fancy racket and was definitely standoffish. "He must be from the metroplex or Plano," I thought. Then I saw this guy hit a forehand into the net and say pretty loud, "HOOOORSSSSSSESHIT!" Okay, maybe I misread the cover on this book.

Roby Dearing was well off financially, but shy. He was not the asshole I pegged him to be. It turned out he was a farmer/rancher from north Texas. He was quiet, modest, and the best athlete I have ever known. In time, as our friendship grew, I knew that he was the strongest Christian I may ever really know.

From this first meeting, we developed a friendship that lasted through several years and weird moments. He was the one who took me to the Colonial Golf Tournament where I made Phil Mickelson wait to enter the tee box while I stood in the way oggling some girl. I was with him when his truck was broken into in Fort Worth. We were snowed in together as a freak snowstorm hit his house in 1990. All we had in the house was stale popcorn. Half starved, we decided to risk death to exposure to eat at the Green Frog Cafe in Jacksboro. We went to Ranger games, Cowboys training camp, and even a Mavericks game once. In Kansas City, where the NAIA national tennis tournament was held (oh yeah, I made the team), we paid a belly dancer to get Roby on stage and belly dance. It was the funniest five bucks I've ever spent.

We spent some sad times too. I was there when his grandfather died. I listened when he vented about his father's increasing signs of Alzheimers. He also helped me through the end of my first long term relationship. But, over the next decade, he would always be counted on for a game of golf, a pick up basketball game, or hitting the movies in Wichita Falls.

Then, in February 2000, Roby was diagnosed with Cancer.

He died in late June that year.

The day before his funeral, another friend, Grady, and I decided to spend the day playing golf and remebering Roby. We were to bring the balls that we hit the last putts in our round with to the funeral and lay them beside Roby. it was to be a tribute in our own way. As we stared at our friend in the casket, I guess my motor skills went sort of haywire and I dropped my ball inside the casket.

Grady looked at me with a "You didn't just do that, did you?" looks. We panicked for a moment. Here we were at the front of the church as the congregation was slowly filling up and I had dropped a golf ball that had fallen all the way to the bottom of the casket. We knew that when they moved him, it was going to roll back and forth. Fortunately, Grady solved the problem by reaching unobstrucively into the casket and finally found the wayward ball. The situation was saved.

As we said good bye, Grady and I knew, though, Roby was looking down on us laughing. He would be saying, "Man, that could've only happen to you, Lane."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fear Mongering? A Sneaky Rant

"No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. Participating in "If you agree, post this as your status for the rest of the day."

One of my friends on facebook had this on their profile.

Now, even though I haven't seen her in years, I have always known that she is a very level headed lady. So, when I read this, I didn't just dismiss this as stupidity. I decided to do a little research. It's illegal in the US for a hospital to turn away somebody away who can't pay and has no insurance if they aren't stable. Now, I realize that they still may not receive treatment if they are stable and that itself is a crime. But, is this a reason for socialized health care?

Some call it universal or national, but please don't give me a lesson in semantics, it will be socialized.

This is an idea that was given to the powers that be by the great 'success' of the same system in Canada and Europe. You know, they have a tax rate of over fifty percent in those nations to pay for the health care programs. It's an idea that isn't new. The government taking your money and using it for you. Like you're some kid who doesn't know any better.

Or, maybe, they plan not to raise your taxes? How much to our debt do you think this beauty would cause? Perhaps, they mean to raise your taxes a little at a time so you don't notice it as much? Five percent this year, another ten next year, and so forth.

I am not yet forty, but in my life I have learned a few things. Give the government control of something and they'll find a way to mess it up. Social Security, anyone? How about education? How about welfare? Are those some well run organizations or what?

In addition, how good are the doctors going to be in the future? I know people believe that the majority of doctors go into medicine to help people, but the stark fact of it is, a lot go into it to make money. You know, the best and the brightest want to get paid. The fact is this health care package is going to reduce their salaries. If they aren't going to get paid like they have in the past, do you think the majority of them will still go through the hell that is medical school? Do you really want the guy that scored a 'B' in sophomore level biology diagnosing you or do you want the guy that scored best in his class, no matter how big an A-hole he is? But, don't worry, you can still use him to sue the hospital for gross incompetence.

I mean, your next of kin can.

This idea of government providing health insurance is a very bad one in so many ways. It is also going to mess up the entire fabric of our medical community. If you think they are bad now, just wait until you spare them to death with mediocre service, practices, and procedures.

Look, I do not think a hospital should turn away anyone that is sick, even if they are stable. I also don't think that your life savings should be sucked away because of a protracted illness. But, my question is why should another twenty five percent of my income go to the government to give me practically the same care I have now? I know it's to prevent some one else from having to go through the loss of their income, but why is that my responsibility? Why should I have to pay for somebody else's health care?

I know that sounds harsh, but, the people I will be helping with half of my income would say the same about me. I know life happens and things will occur that suck. I know it's possible next year I will get cancer and all what I've worked for at that point will be gone. But, that's life. It has happened for centuries before us and it will happen for centuries after.

All you can do is trust in God.

Friday, August 28, 2009

First 5 Friday-They Say the Funniest Things

As we wade through the beginning of the school year, I decided to throw in some of the strangest things written or said by my former students. It's probably a post that should've been thrown in a while back, but hopefully you'll enjoy. For instance, this classic exchange which gained honorable mention.

Tennis Player: "Coach!! Coach!! I was winning!!!

Me: "Cool, what was the score?"

Tennis Player: "Three to three."

Me: (Stunned silence as I just stared.)




First 5 Strangest Things I Ever Heard A Student Say




5. "Ow...I hurt my knee". I know this doesn't sound weird...but please understand the young man was cradling his elbow at the time. From having him in class, I knew that he didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground, but I was surprised that he didn't know his elbow from his knee.




4. "I would go into town every weekend and get laid." This was a report on what the kids would do for fun if they lived in the 1800's. I was also told by his mom that seventh grade Ralph (not his real name in case the mom blogs) didn't have the slightest idea on what getting laid was. I made him do a report on the subject. I know it was more scientific, but hey, I wanted him to be informed.




3. "That's All-right...I got shotgun." This fine young man was going to alternative school for his extracurricular activities..and a few in school ones. He was told he was going to what basically educational prison in a police car. He wanted to get the seating chart correct for the squad car I guess.




2, "Bury the money under Moses." Okay, I'm cheating a bit. This one was a note written by a student of mine. The police gave this note to a friend of mine who was an English teacher who taught one of my students as well. Apparently, Tiffany (again, not real name), decided to do a little mischief during the Christmas Holidays. She and her she-gang stole the baby Jesus from a nativity display. The note said this: "We want $50 or you'll never see the baby again. Put the money under Moses." Yep, Moses...not Joseph.




1. "Didn't he circumcize the world?" Poor eighth grade Raquel thought she had answered a tricky review question. "What was Magellan famous for?" She threw out that gem and strangely enough, not many of the kids batted an eye. Well, except for my three 'brilliant ones' who all at once layed their heads down on the desk and enjoyed their own private laugh.

I hope you enjoyed this, I know I loved reliving it. Maybe this year, I'll have some new material to top these oldies.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Writer's Workshop-A Cat Caused Paranoia


I am honored to be a muse for the great Mama Katt's blog. In my few forays into the blogging world I have to say it's probably my biggest honor. Thanks, MK. For those that don't play the game, the rules are simple...she gives you five prompts. You pick one or five or one in between and right to your little heart's content.

1.) My animals are making me nuts.
(inspired by Jody from Take Me As I Am).

SEE BELOW

2.) List the 5 best things about the first day of school.
(inspired by Lane from Sneaky Daddy).


Um...just scroll below one story.


3.) Tell us about your crush.
(inspired by Lisa from Just Lisa, No Filler)

Such a fall season it was. I was a young lad whose teenage years had just begun and I had noticed a young girl. A very attractive young lady. As I watched, my head got weak and my stomach got weak. I longed to talk to her. I longed to go with her (you eighties ladies and gents know that term). Unfortunately, it was not to be.
Stephanie Powers was just a bit out of my league.

4.) How did you break it?
(inspired by Brandy from Not Your Average Soccer Mom)


It could've been many ways that I broke it,


I could've been mad and threw a fit.

I could've drank way to much bud lite,

or tied a string around it to fly it like a kite.

I could've acted silly or been really dumb,

I could've given it to a salesman or a bum.

But, I'm sure whatever I did to cause the crime,

The fault no doubt is totally mine.

5.) Show us a favorite summer craft.
(inspired by Kristin from The Way It Is)

I don't do crafts. I have no skills in this regard.

Now, the featured story. My Animal is driving me crazy.

This is P-Nut.

P-Nut the cat.

Cute isn't he? This bundle of cuteness, I believe, strives to piss me off as much as possible.

I'm getting ahead of myself. A little backstory to tell you how we were blessed with this eccentric feline. My wife's sister, Sneaky Sister-in-Law, owned P-Nut since he was a kitten. For years he lived in semi paradise in an apartment with SSIL and another cat...Butthead. To the rest of the Sneaky Household, he was an antisocial rodent that meowed. He hid when people came over and had loose bowel syndrome seemingly on command.

Disaster happened in P-Nut's life. SSIL found true love and was married. But, P-Nut's world was rocked as change continued to visit. The death of the ancient Butthead and the fact that the new little darling in their house, Sneaky Nephew, was allergic to cats. What to do..what to do?

In our household and really all over Texas, the rodent population doubled like something Moses would've done to Pharoah. Our field next door was teaming with mice. We found several in our garage and knew that we had to do something before they reached inside. In short, we needed a cat.

It was a match made in heaven for everyone...except for P-Nut. Now, he had to deal with change. Oh, and two mobile girls who love to pull his tail. But, both parties were satisfied with the arrangement. The weird thing is, soon P-Nut was happy.

He has been probably the best pet my girls could've had. No matter what they do to him he never fights back. He'll run and hide or go into the garage, but he never scratches. Plus, in a few hours time he is back in ready for more. (Case in point, he and eldest are cuddling on the girl's Dora couch watching Yo Gabba Gabba)

Unfortunately, his interaction with me is less than cute. I have stepped on two of his land mines that he has left on my path to the bathroom. (Once around 6AM) I think I saw him wink as he evaded my attempts at justice.

My foot also seems to be a fun, challenging target. Especially when my feet are under the covers of our bed. Especially in the dark. Nothing feels quite the same as waking up from your drowsyness with a fork stabbing your big toe. The last time it happened he caught me before I was asleep. He was catapulted pretty far as I used his furry butt as a soccer ball. GOAL!!!!

He likes to use our couch as a scratch pad...EXACTLY at 12:37AM almost every night. I even bought a scratch pad for him to use. He loves it...except at 12:37AM.

His final strategy for complete destruction of my sanity is to meow very loudly at 6:00Am on random days..usually Saturday. He will continue this until I get up. Then we play chase. I rarely win chase.

Again, he's lucky he's cute.



Thanks, Mama Katt for the prompts. Tune in tomorrow as First 5 Friday takes a kids say the weirdest things approach. It's well worth the read.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First 5 Friday (Saturday)

School starts next Monday for most of us in the Lone Star State. But, although there is dread, I would like to take the three of you that read this and my wife, back to a time when you were a little tyke.

First 5 Best Things About the First Day of School

5. The Clean Slate-You get to start fresh. If you were a dweeb, you can be Joe Cool. If you had troubles in school the year before, you have at least one teacher who has never met you. You can be the Fonz or even Ritchie Cunningham if you wish.

4. The smell of the grass-It is usually freshly cut. It does have a waning scent of Spring revisited, but it's there. You can smell it especially right before the first football game (see below) as the greatest spectator sport on earth begins.

3. Shopping-Mainly the ladies love this, but it is cool to be wearing fresh clothes that had just gotten detagged. It will take at least until October before I would ruin them.

2. Football-No need to clarify, is there?

1. A chance to see old friends-Because I lived in the country, I didn't see my school buds until...well...school. There is so much wrong with facebook, but the one thing I enjoy is catching up with people I haven't seen. In fact, I actually caught up with a girl I haven't seen in almost twenty years.

School is a time of dread and anxiety for your kids, no matter how tall or small. The teachers sometimes feel the same sense of foreboding as they try to guide the unknowing into the unknown. Please enjoy the ride, the bumps and the scrapes. Without these, your kid probably wouldn't be educated to the fullest.

Good luck this school year and God bless.

Next First 5 should be worth a look next week, so tune in next week for a "Kid's say the darnedest things" edition..

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Writer's Workshop-The Better Late Than Never Edition


Beginning school blues pushed me past my deadline, but what the heck...better late than never right? Thanks, Mama Katt for allowing us an outlet to play in.



1.) What will you be doing now that the kids are back in school?
(inspired by Michelle from Honest And Truly)

Total role reversal. In the Sneaky household, the Dad get's to go to school and the kids get to sleep in...hopefully.

2.) Things I have learned from my toddler.
(Inspired by Big Mama Cass from The World Through My Eyes).

The things I have learned from my toddlers that they told me, The pink kitties are the best kitties, 'cause they're so pretty. Never leave home without your b-b (Blanket) or your pet, Desert is always best first, no matter what you get.
While they like Hogan's Heroes, the beginning anyway, Phineas and Ferb is what they would watch any day. No matter what the pressures of my 'big boy life' entail, These two gals seem to never let me fail.

3.) What would you put in your favorite things giveaway?
(inspired by Jill from Scary Mommy who is having a favorite things giveaway right NOW! Check it out!!)

Movies-Rounders or Tombstone (I do love Scary Mommy's Can't Buy Me Love and Defending Your life) Books-Harry Potter Series. (If we could find book 7, a goblin got it)


4.) Hi, my name is ______ and I am a _______.
(inspired by Emmy from Emmy Mom One Day At A Time.)

Hi, my name is Lane and I am a facebookaholic. Please help. I need and Intervention. Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, Fashion Wars (don't worry it hasn't become that bad). I play Farkle, Yahtzee, scramble, poker (for absolutely nothing). What did I do before I found Facebook?


5.) If these walls could talk...
(inspired by JennyMac from Let's Have A Cocktail)

Kitchen Walls: "Why does she let him cook? Stupid ass friggin' leaves a mess every time."

Living Room Walls: "Heck, she should make him vacuum instead of cook. His fat ass is sitting in front of the TV watching 'Top Chef', like he could make it.

Bedroom Walls: DELETED BY EDITOR


The youngest girl's room's walls: "I'd wish they do something about the f-ing cat. I swear I'm gonna tumble down if he scratches at that door one more time. Sack of crap in fur hides from the girls all day, but when they are trying to sleep NOW he wants attention."


The Eldest girl's room's walls: "Would you guys please make'em quit yanking the Dora stickers off. I like'em..they're cool."


Cheers, All!

Tomorrow, late afternoon, First Five Friday begins the ranking of educational moments, norms, and impossibilities.

Friday, August 14, 2009

First 5 Friday-It's CARNY Time

Jill and I took the girls to the local Carny and man...it never fails to disappoint. Well, I guess if your looking for cool rides, fair games, and a more 'scenic atmosphere' then..okay, it might disappoint. But, if you're looking for that, I say, change your attitude and look at all the Carny experience give.

FIRST 5 Coolest Things About Being at the Local Carnival.

5. Check out the folks! Man, we live in a rural town and the scene is nuts. Believe me every one is very nice, but our scene usually doesn't drift into rowdy element very often. Heck, I know people that go to the Carnival just to see who else will come.

4. The Sales Pitch-Don't play the games...seriously they're all rigged....everyone knows it. But, the pitch is awesome. "Hey, Dude...come over here and win a real prize." "Get a free four wheeler if you can cover up the Circle" (Impossible by the way) "Hey, get your girl something to be proud of." I know I should feel insulted about how stupid they must think I am...but I don't. It is some type of awesome skill to sell something that should be pretty much unsellable. It's a gift that even I can recognize.

3. The Rides-Not actually riding them, but watching them. Seriously, I'm not much of a rider, but especially when it comes down to the fact they put up and take those things down like a hundred times a year. That doesn't stop me from enjoying others as they soar in the air, screaming. You can watch old men turn into scared boys from the Carny folks.

2. The lights-Especially in the country areas of this world, lights don't come like that often. Maybe at Christmas, but when you see all those lights blinking it reminds you of an outside casino.

1. The kids-Yeah, you have that group dressed like hoochy mamas..but it is really cool to see the kids running around and having fun. From the kids my girl's age that look at wonder at the scene in front of them to the older teens walking around, holding hands with their dates, the Carnival is a break in the norm. With the people..the sounds...the sights...and the rides, the carnival coming to town is, for the small town guy and girl, one of the coolest weeks of the year .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Return of Writer's Workshop

The spiel is this...this carnival gives you several prompts to write on. You write and enjoy the memories, the moments, and the message that hopefully you have transported to others on this electronic medium. In layman's terms...dude, just write.










Thanks to Mama Katt for these prompts. My comments are in bold. I hope you enjoy!!





1.) Your trip to the ER...spill it.(inspired by Stephanie from This Blessed Life).`

Which time? I think in my home town they just renamed it the 'Lane Ward'. I was hurt in so many different and creative ways that I single handedly prepared our doctors of the time for any and everything. From having a frog induced injury to drinking plant food to eating a rare forty year old Brazillian nut to...sheesh...you can almost name it.


2.) "Why are American's obsessed with weight? Why are we always fighting or complaining about what is natural for our bodies?"(inspired by Jenn from Jenny Says What?)

I blame the Commies and rock n roll music.

3.) Describe one of your 'God Moments'.(inspired by Jordan from Wide Open Spaces)

This is one that I will describe later when I can write more to it and give it the attention I need to, but it is one that I have a great deal of feelings toward. January 1, 2000. My friend, Roby and I visited another friend, Grady, in San Antonio. As we hung out in a hotel downtown, the fireworks flashed and I noticed everyone watching them. I felt his presence in the presence of my friends and the beauty of the scene before me. I knew that for some reason this was a beginning and an end. That things wouldn't be the same again.

I was right.

Before the summer was done, one would be married and one would be gone. But, it was like God was telling me remember this moment and cherish it.

I do and I have.


4.) List ten things you would say to ten different people in your life...if you had the hutzpah.(inspired by Cassandra from Cassagram)


Sneaky Momma-Can we turn our garage into a casino?

Principal-Lesson Plans? What the hell are those?

Sonic-Did I order a hot apple pie? Did I? Tell ya what, when I want it I'll friggin' tell ya.

President Obama-So, you want to make sure that we unite the country, then the first thing you do is make abortion easier world wide....real smart.

Tom Brady-Did you sell your soul to the devil?

Tony Romo-If you did sell your soul, you should've checked with Tom first.

Phil Hellmuth-I can't believe that you don't get your ass kicked more.

Wade Phillips-Hey, if the Cowboy gig doesn't work out there is always voice overs as Hank Hill in a King of the Hill movie

Paulie Shore-How the hell did you star in a movie and I didn't?

Ed-The pills you're lookin' for are blue.

5.) Why is your kid in time out?(inspired by Sera from Laughing Through The Chaos)



Talking back...AGAIN.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Friend the Warrior

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.


They died July 27, 2007, near Kamu, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when their unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations.They were assigned to 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.


Killed were: Major Thomas G. Bostick Jr., 37, of Texas Staff Sergeant William R. Fritsche, 23, of Indiana.

This was the news I received two years ago. For many, a report like this makes you think, maybe whisper a prayer of thanks for the guys that serve our country. Maybe you might feel sad that they died so far from home. Who knows, maybe you might just shrug and go on with your day and forget their name in the next ten seconds. I know on occassion I have been guilty of each of these reactions. However, this time it was different.



Tommy was a friend of mine.





He came to my high school late in the junior high years and as high school came into being we became friends. We had similar interests...which is to say we loved sports. We played dunkball on the elementary goals, which were eight feet tall. His main passion was basketball. He came from New Mexico..cocky...but very personable. He reminded me of the Fonz when the Fonz was a freshman. He tried football his senior year...and started at wide receiver. After four years, we hit the usual crossroads all eighteen year olds hit. I chose education because I really didn't know what to do.



He chose the military.



As I sifted through life as a college student, he was going through basic training. As, I bitched about algebra and skipped classes because of late parties, he was parachuting into hostile areas of Greneda and Panama. As, I wondered, as Desert Storm became a reality, if I would be drafted, Tommy was involved spearheading many attacks in Iraq.



Tommy was an army ranger. He was an elite member of our armed forces. I was a man just trying to be in the work force. While I sweated out interview after interview, he was steadily moving up the ranks in the military and was a captain before the age of 35.



Now, I would be lying if I said I saw him that much over the nineteen years from graduation to that fateful night in July two years ago. But, in actuality, he was probably the closest friend from high school I had left. We would talk whenever he was in the hill country and sometimes even get together for a little conversation. The army had changed him from the kid he was, to the man he became. The ego was gone and replaced with a quiet cofidence that radiated from him. He was a husband...a dad...a brother....a soldier.


In the weeks following his death, I began to hear about the warrior, Thomas G. Bostick. How he would make jokes in the face of fire to keep his men calm. How the Iraqi people respected him because of his honesty and 'telling them the way it is' type of diplomacy. How one of his best friends in the service was a general in charge of European bases. How, during the last night of his life, he and Staff Sargeant Fritsche stayed behind in Kamu, Afghanistan facing overwhelming odds to protect the entire unit.


Possibly knowing full well they were going to forfeit their lives for the good of their men, Tommy and SSG Fritsche were the only two American casualties of the fight.


In the two years following his death, I find myself thinking more of Tommy than maybe I did when he was alive. I think of him the usual holidays...but I also think of him during Christmas...graduation...when I watch a middle school basketball game. In some of the kids I teach I see him more often.



I wish I could thank him again for fighting over there to keep the bad guys away from here.



Maybe some day I will.












Friday, July 24, 2009

First 5 Friday-Signs of Summer Insanity

As I sit here struggling under the effects of my summer insanity, which is why I haven't posted often, I feel it is my duty to warn others of these effects. If you're a teacher, a kid, or on a long vacation, watch for these things. This is sort of a Public Service Announcement.

First 5 Signs the Summer is Getting to You.

5. Watching Religiously One Cartoon. Three years ago it was Spongebob...two years ago it was Jimmy Neutron...this year it is Phineas and Ferb. I set my timer for it....sad...very sad.

4. Cleaniliness is Next to Impossible. Mowing lawn? Sure once a month, whether it needs it or not. Shave? Sure, whenever I have to go out of the house, which is rarely. Some hate cabin fever, I revel in it.

3. Summer Goals Falling By the Wayside. Flowerbed got done...garage, still a hell hole...yard looks less like a Amazonian Jungle and more like an arid desert range.

2. Talking Back to the TV. No, Flex the Robot, I dont' want to clean my room...I don't give a crap how fun it is!! Come on, Moose E. Moose...itsn't it obvious the Elephant on the right has a hat. How stupid do you think I am, Zee, you mute parakeet? Pretty darn apparantly!!

1. Breaking Out Into Spontaneaous Song. "I just got paid...it's Friday Night!!" Happened less than a minute ago...sorry, Hon. 'There's a Hundred and four days of Summer Vacation.." I wish, but I really like that theme song. I'm also singing a lot of old Garth Brooks songs too...very badly. For some reason summer has become a bit of a musical for me. To my dear Sneaky Momma's greatest chagrin.

Don't worry, Folks, my days of carefree laziness are almost done and my Summer Insanity will fade into Scholarly Dementia in a few more weeks.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Writer's Workshop-Who I Want to Be and a Possible Noggin World Takeover

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. In my case it has given me a little bit of energy or maybe it's insanity during these wonderful "Hot J months." My wife's brain, I always say is like a supercomputer. Always on and always functioning at a high level. My brain power is run by a hamster on treadmill.

I call him Roy.

Anyway, Roy has been on vacation for awhile so the blogging has been hit or miss. Okay, it's been miss. But, with Mama Katt's wonderous carnival, maybe Roy can take off is sunglasses and get his ass on the treadmill and I can pound out something profound, phisophical, or at least pretty good. Here are the prompts.






1.) Tell us about a "dirt cheap" you've taken this summer.
(inspired by Anti-Supermom)


Three words...Mom and Dad's. Free board, free meals, and free child care.

2.) When I grow up I want to be like...
(inspired by Jenny Says What?)

When I was young, a child, I wanted to be like my Dad. I think mainly because he was the only male adult in my life.

When I was in elementary, I wanted to be like Roger Staubach. He was the greatest. He could bring any team back from any deficit. He was cool, he was collected, he was Captain America.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be Christian Slater. He was edgy and cool. He was my age, but making millions. He was a young Jack Nicholson and he was my idol.

When I was in college, I was disillusioned with the older crowd. The war in Iraq part one was in full swing and it looked like another Vietnam might be in the offing. All I wanted was to not to be forced there. I looked up to no one as I already knew it all...or at least all that I deemed that was important.

When I was a young man, the world changed. At 31, America was rocked by a major terrorist attack. I found that I could not deal with the way the celebrities, the politicos, or most of my crowd was dealing with it. Again, I had no one that I looked up too. I was intelligent enough to know I knew squat about what was important. I was going through the emotions...living life because I had nothing better to do.

Now, at the advanced age of too damn close to forty, I realized something. I was right the first time. My Dad is who I want to be when I grow up. He was and is a steady beacon. When things have been shakey, he's been solid. When my siser lost her husband, he became Dad. In his mid sixties he was raising kids again. He lived through WW II and the Cuban Missle crisis. He was there when Whitman was trying to kill folks in Austin in the sixties. He hid in a bush and tried to stay out of the way.

Maybe it has been his experiences that have made him this way. He's a hard worker, a solid friend, and the best dad that I can imagine. If I fill his shoes even half way I would consider my life well lived.


3.) Describe a difficult moment that you survived.
(inspired by Sarah M.)


A story for another time, folks. Any story I can come up with prevokes feelings that I think I'd rather save for a night that I'm not in a good mood. So, forgive me if I let this one go.

4.) List 5 things you like to do while camping...or 5 places you'd like to go.
(inspired by Kisatrtle)


Okay, first fives I gotta participate in. So, without adieu...or with adieu.

Camping things

5. Bundle up. Nights are cold in Texas believe it or not, they're in the 70's which makes it a thirty degree difference.

4. Fish. Preferrably without hooking myself or a friend..which has happened.

3. Drink beer...a lot of beer. Hey, fire, outdoors...that's drinkin' weather my friends.

2. Play cards. Hey, I like any spot to do that, why not on a trip.

1. Revel in nature...with the aforementioned beer of course.

5.) What are you paranoid about?
(inspired by Melissa)


That the producers of kid's shows are part of a conspiracy to enslave the younger generation's mind and take over the world. Mainly, these shows that I feel are mainly invovled are Wiggles and Yo Gabba Gabba.

The Wiggles infiltrate the older generation with a tune of such campy characteristics that we have it in head for days. Because this is filling a part of the finite space in our heads we lose focus. Has the economy slowly deterioriated since the Wiggles have been existence? Yes. Coincidence? I think not.

Yo Gabba Gabba is just creepy. It too has inherent messages too. Sure, you have the robot telling the kids how to brush their teeth, eat snacks, and the fun of picking up. But, it is only a matter of time before it tells kids 'Go to Dad...kick his special region...laugh and point.' Plus if you play it backwards...well, I haven't been able to figure that technology out, admittably, but I bet there's something about marijuana on it.

The addictive mind numbing quality of the shows make them dangerous as possible mind altering audio devices. I believe this takeover will take place around 2020.


Beware.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Return of First 5 Friday

Today is a big day.

It is my fifth wedding anniversary. So, as a triumphant return of First 5 Friday...or at least a return of some sort.... with a trip in the way back machine.

FIRST 5 Greatest Moments of June 26, 2004

5. Golf-Part of my day of fun was nine holes at the local course with my Dad, my bestfriend, and another pretty darn good friend. After something like two hours of sleep, we teed off at nine thirtyish.

The rains came at 9:45.

Did we stop....NO!! We slogged on until we reached number seven where we saw this phantom appear out of the midst. My brother had walked out on the course looking like an extra in a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western circa 1975. Brown cowboy hat, boots, blue jeans and a western shirt....all almost totally obscured (except the hat) by a black duster to protect him from the rain. As my dad begged out to go do his father of the groom duties, my bro played out the rest of the round for him...dressed like that. I still giggle even now.


4. The moment before the ceremony-My buddy, Grady, and I were sitting around shooting the breeze as the time seemed to slip away. At some point, he asked me what I had asked him four years before. "Are ya nervous?" Nope. I was stunned to see that this was pretty much the truth. I had a definite peace about this. I knew this marriage was meant to be. There's a pretty cool pic, (I can't find it or I'd post it) of me leaning against the table and Grady looking at his watch as if he was saying, "It's time!"

3. The Challenge of the Ring. We got the thing around two months before we got married. (Give or take a few weeks) She had it inscribed "Love you forever, and the date was inscribed." Sometime in between that moment and show time I had jammed my finger and neglected to try on the ring. So, as she lovingly place the ring on my finger, she had to put a little elbow grease into it to get it on my finger. Later the next day we got it resized. But, it was a moment Bob Saget would've loved to see.


2. The Reception. From the cake to the music to the friends and family to the BBQ to the...heck, EVERYTHING it was perfect. Absolutely stunning. Our families had worked hard to get a rustic setting turned into something out of a story book. I would not've changed one thing about it. Oh yeah, we also rode a limo to the reception and to a five star hotel that night. That block of time is something I will never forget.

1. Jill walking down the aisle. If you can picture this, it was late in the day in an old country church. The place was filled to capacity. Her sister, best friend, cousin, and my sister were standing up with her as bridesmaids. On my side, My brother, my best friend, and another close friend was standing up with me. The doors were shut. When they opened I had the greatest view of my wife to be, in white with the afternoon sun as her backdrop as she walked with her dad down the aisle. It was an image that I carry with me all the time, still.

I hoped you enjoyed this walk down the aisle of my memory and to my beloved wife...

Happy Anniversary!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

First 5 Friday-Put Me in Coach

There are two things the summer is known for other than beaches and heat. It is the time where the movies start bringing in their blockbuster hits and it is a time that baseball starts heating up. Maybe it's because my beloved Rangers are in first place in their division for the first time in over a decade, but the Sneaky household is all about baseball right now.

So, I decided to talk about probably the best sports genre movies...baseball.


The great thing about this genre is that there are literally five or six movies that didn't make the list that are pretty dang good. So, without further adieu...

First 5 Baseball Movies

Okay, this is one category where I have to mention an honorable mention.

Honorable Mention: I remember watching Major League in the theatres when it came out. The scene at the end of the movie where Ricky Vaughn comes out to Wild Thing was truly electric in that theatre. It was like all of us were at the game and at least half the audience was singing 'Wild Thing' with the movie. One of my greatest movie experiences of all time.

But, while this movie was pure genius and would be good enough to make any list, the ones ranked above it are spectacular.

5. Field of Dreams. 'If you build it, he will come.' The foundation of perhaps one of the greatest sports fantasies of any movie. A ghostly voice finally convinces Ray to build a park for the great Shoeless Joe Jackson. In a way, it is a pennance for the distance he had with his own father who passed away before things could be fixed. Their is pain and absolution along with the baseball theme. Probably would be ranked higher if there was actually more baseball in the movie.







4. For the Love of the Game. As far as fiction stories go, an aging pitcher about five years past his prime, pitching in his last game at the formidible Yankee stadium. He is not only in the moment while on the mound pitching his finest game, he also has his entire life flash before his eyes as the game is going. Just an amazing movie.







3. Bull Durham. To finish out the Kevin Costner triology of baseball flicks is this gem about a minor league legend Crash Davis who has finally bounced his way to the Durham Bulls to help Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' Laloosh. The ever annoying but in this movie, tolerable, Susan Sarandon narrates the action of this movie. It is humorous and the action is pretty realistic. Plus, the lines of this movie are so repeatable. For instance, Annie Savoy the Susan Sarandon character has this gem, "The world is made for those who aren't cursed with self awareness."







2. The Natural. Gosh the music at the end is awesome. It's the music the Rangers play when one of their guys go yard. But, this movie is way more than the music, it is the ideal. A guy with amazing talent as a kid is grieviously injured and is out of the sport for years. He then turns up as a thirty something year old rookie. During this time, he and his bat, 'Wonderboy' terrorizes the pitching. There is definitely a surreal feel to this movie as it does border on fantasy. A great story.







1. 61*. You know a movie would have to be good if it was about the Yankees and it's number one on my list. This movie is the haunting story of the 1961 season. This was the hunt to break Babe Ruth's record by a fairly unassuming player by the name of Roger Maris.


It focuses mostly on what Roger had to go through from the press and the fans during this ordeal of a season. If you like baseball at all, you simply have to watch this movie. The scenes are amazing. Barry Pepper is identical to Roger Maris and Thomas Jane looks a whole lot like Micky Mantle. The visuals, the music, the acting, heck, the whole picture is a work of art. It was a labor of love by Billy Crystal and it works.







Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Writer's Workshop-My Obituary...Among Other Things




It's Thursday!! You know what time it is!! Mama Katt's carnival, 'Writer's Workshop'. It's a time to get the old juices flowing and get creative.


The Prompts are in bold and my stuff is in normal:


1.) If you could cut back on something in your life that takes up your time what would it be? And what would you prefer to spend that time doing?(inspired by Lady Isra)

This is a subject that I really don't have much of an answer too. The things that take up the most time in my life in order are job, kids, and stuff on the computer (be it blogging, facebook, or poker.) I guess if I had to pick one thing I would cut back on that takes time out of my life it would be yardwork. I average about an hour every other week of yard work. (Yep, our yard looks gooooooood.) I would like to make that about an hour each year. I mean it is so pointless, I mow the lawn and then it grows. It's like a never ending cycle. I mean it's like making your bed, except everyone sees when you don't mow your lawn. So, I would cut back on that and divide that hour every fourteen days into the kids and internet 'work'


2.) Share a recent adventure you had with a friend.(inspired by Amy)

Well, it was a wondrous afternoon....one that was written about by my dear wife, Sneaky Momma. But, the date was May 16th of this year. Our destination was the Ballpark in Arlington for a much needed mini vacation. We dropped the kids off at my mother and father in law's house and then headed up for the game.
As we drove to the game, we listened to it on the radio. It was there where we heard the familiar tone of Eric Nadel, the Ranger's main play by play man as John Lackey was thrown out of the game for throwing at Ian Kinsler. My dear wife, a hockey fanatic, really dug that part of the game. So, we arrived at the game somewhere around the end of the first inning. From our parking lot you could see the Red River a whole lot easier than the Ballpark. But, we hiked instead of taking the easy way out on a bus and finally made it to our seats around the bottom of the third inning.
We sat up in the cheap seats and watched a very well played game in, to me, the most beautiful park in the the majors. Well, about the fifth inning we decided that it was going to get no warmer. It was about fifty windchill and we were wearing shorts and shortsleeve shirts. Funny, we both spend most of our waking moments on line and we didn't even bother to check out the weather. So, finally giving up, we decided to go get the least expensive long sleeve shirts they sell in the place. I found one that had Ian Kinsler's number 5 on the back and held it up. 'Who's Kinsler?" My dear wife asked. Did I mention she's more of a hockey fan? So, as I explained that he is the second baseman and a pretty damn good player, she was cool with the shirt. We finished the game and as everyone was jumping to 'If the House is a Rockin' my wife pointed at the poor Ranger with the pink back pack. It's his job to get snacks to the other pitchers since he is the one with the least seniority.
After the Rangers held off the Angels, we were set to go to the second part of the date. A concert by the great Robert Earl Keen. Some of his fine work is on my playlist if you've never heard of REK. He played all of the stuff we love and even some new stuff that didn't suck. We ate after the game at one of 'our' joints, Papacitos. Stuffed, slightly drunk (at least in my case), we headed home to a childless house and had the ability to jack up the volume of the TV and live like we were first married one more time. Well, with the exception of we were both dead tired by Midnight.

3.) Describe a memorable gift. Why was it important to you?(Inspired by Kit Kat)

My dear lovely wife, Sneaky Momma gave me a thousand chip poker set as a wedding gift. It was very cool, but the part of it that was the coolest was that she was accepting me as is. She knows that I have to play in life or I'm no good. Whether it be cards, bang a tennis ball around, shoot hoops, or something. In short, she married a guy that still has the heart of a kid in a lot of ways. That gift showed that she understood this. Now understandably this is something I don't use a great deal. When I play poker 'live', it's either at a casino or somebody else supplies the chips, but it is without a doubt one of my most prized possessions.

4.) If you could change career paths now and be anything you wanted to be...what would you be and why?(inspired by Lauren)

I would like to be a greeter at Wal-Mart, but they said I'm too young. Imagine being able to change the mood people are in with a bright shiny smile and a 'How are ya today?'. Yeah, that sounds like me. None of you are buying this are you?

In reality there really isn't a job that would fit me better than the one I have now. It has taken me literally a decade to satisfy myself with this fact. I am a teacher and a tennis coach at the middle school level. The tennis gives me a slight way to give my competitive side something to do and I am naturally lazy. So, the two months a year that are non structured truly is something taylor made for me.

5.) Kim's email: In the St. Louis News-Dispatch paper, they had an article of a man who wrote his own obituary before his death, and gave it to his sister to post when he died. He summed life up in 45 words:(Click here to read his words).I know it's a morbid subject, but what about a prompt about what would one's obit say, with a word limit. You could stipulate that everyone died at 100, so we'd all be predicting what our future would be like.So there you have it. Sum up life in 45 words. :) Happy happy.

Lane passed away some day at the age of 100. Lane did not find fortune nor did he find fame, so for some, his life would be considered mediocre. However, he lived the life he wanted to live...a life based on family.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fun With Jenners-The Inspiration for the Pharoahs and Tragedy In the Suburbs



Fun with Jenners is something I truly enjoy and get into. Check out her tale of woe at her site.

Louie Louie, The Untold Tale (Author's note: Don't drink and write)

Richard Berry in 1955 was at a crossroad in his career. After splitting up with the Flair's over artistic differences, Berry freelanced writing for others, even starting a new group called the 'Pharoahs' but nothing really hit home with America. He knew that he was drastically in need of something big to get his name out there, but what?

His agent had quit soliciting gigs and time seemed to be against him. He was in a funk, personally, professionally, and spiritually. He needed something divine to occur. Frankly, he needed a minor miracle to revive his career. So, he did what all do when miracles are needed.

He went to the bar.

Yep, Richard decided to hit a dive in Chicago, since he was a black man in the US a lot of the nicer bars wouldn't let him in the front door. He had accepted this fate reluctantly, but this was not a night to fight for civil rights. His mind was on music, plain and simple.

As he walked in, he noticed few patrons were loitering around on the stools. Three to be exact. He gave a thought to stepping outside and heading up the street for a little more crowded atmosphere, but he disregarded that thought at once. Solitude and alcohol seemed like a pretty good idea. He passed by to the end of the bar and waited patiently for the mustached white man to notice him. Eventually, he came by and took Richard's order. The bartender got a bottle of bourbon so cheap that Richard had never heard of it. But, he held it back as Richard dug into his pocket for some change. Four bits was put on the bar, and Mr. Mustache gave him a the bottle of bourbon, a glass, and walked down the bar to clean a spot. Richard poured a shot, downed it, then shook. "Damn, that's awful," he thought as he was already mechanically pouring another shot.

Before drinking another glass of rotgut, he decided to take in his surroundings. At the other end of the bar, a sad sack black man was drinking slowly, but with purpose. He had abandoned the shot glass and was downing the beverage from the actual bottle. Two guys set beside each other in the middle. One was shakily downing a beer as his companion looked to be passed out on the bar. Richard could see the drool coming out of the man's mouth as he snored away. Richard turned his attention to his glass as he downed another shot. God, he needed a miracle. But, he just couldn't expect a hit song to just come down in his lap from the heavens, could he?

"Hey, John!" One of the pair was getting the bartender's attention. "What's the time?"

The bartender looked at his watch and said, "A quarter after 1:00." Richard noticed the non sleepy member of the two some went pale. "Shit, I said I'd be home at 11. Dammit, we gotta go!!"

He turned to his sleeping buddy and started shaking him.

"Louie!! Louie!! We gotta go!! Come on!!!"

Louie, sort of snorted and sleepily replied, "Say what?"

"Damn it, I said, Louie!!! Louie!!! We have gotta go!!!"

"We do?" asked Louie.

"Yeah yeah yeah" said his partner exasperately. So, the two slowly walked out with a bunch of weaving out into the night. Richard grinned wolfishly. It seemed a song had dropped into his lap. He left the bottle on the bar and followed Louie and his buddy out into the darkness. While they went to parts unknown, Richard took another path...into history.

---------------------

Goodnight Moon (Authors Note: More than a little depressing)



(Video of the song is here)

Another night ended with Blake Reynolds reading to his three year old boy, Jake. This was something the youngest Reynolds dearly looked forward to. During the day, Blake was at work pretty much all day. Jake would sit with his mom watching Veggie Tales or maybe Loony Toons and wait for the time his Dad's key would hit the door. He would run and throw his arms around his Dad and the abbreviated night together would be full of fun and laughter. Then, his Dad would read 'Goodnight Moon' or something of the like to him as he fell asleep.

Blake was finishing it up, "Goodnight kittens, goodnight mittens. Goodnight.."

"Cars."

Blake looked at him and said, "Son, it doesn't say anything about cars."

"It need to say cars. We say goodnight to cats, why not cars?"

Blake laughed and said, "You're right. Anything else, Jake?"

Jake laughed and settled in as Blake continued and finished off the rest of the book. He gave his boy a headbutt and a kiss. The lights went out and Jake drifted off to dream again. Blake walked out of the room and found his wife sitting in a lounge chair. She looked at him quizzically, and Blake nodded.

"Yep, he's down."

"Awesome." She looked down and frowned. She had told herself that she wouldn't cry, but tears mutinously were threatening as she said, "Blake, does it have to be tomorrow?"

Blake knew that this was coming. His dear wife, Katie, was not one to let something big like this go without an arguement. "Honey," he began. But he was interrupted as Katie sputtered.

"You feel great, you look great, maybe it's gone...maybe we should try another round of chemo..."

Blake sighed, as she went on. His decision had been made. Months ago, he had found out that he had cancer in the marrow of his bones. He was labeled terminal. Three doctors had seen him and the best he had was seven months. Occasionally, he felt he had hope that everything would be fine. But, as the pressure in his back mounted he knew that his time was coming to a close. Soon, he would be laying in a bed praying for death. His son would only know of him as this wrecked body.

"Honey, maybe we should go to bed, now." His tone was matter of a fact, but there was something in it that made Katie stop. The tears flowed as he held her tightly.

The next morning he awoke. He quietly slipped out of bed as he layed the note he had written yesterday on her pillow. He stepped back. Blake realized of everything he would miss, she would be number one. She always had been number one ever since they had met in college. He used to joke that she ruined him for other women anyway, so they might as well get married. Katie was his soul mate.

He quietly showered and got dressed. Getting dressed and undressed was getting harder and harder, he thought wryly. Blake winced as he put the towel down, "God, this hurts" He stole another glance at his wife then quietly shut the door. He then looked in at Jake. Tears actually came to his eyes as all of the things rushed to him that he wouldn't be there for. Jake's wedding, grandkids, hell, even teaching him to ride a bike and shoot a gun. He shut his eyes as he closed Jake's door.

Blake went out into the street and got into his car. He knew that Katie would call and try to dissuade him again, so his phone was 'left' at home. Blake tried to get home and family out his mind. He would make sure they were taken care of now. $200,000 wasn't a lot of a legacy to leave, but it would be better than him wasting away and taking all of their life savings away.

No sir, he would not allow them to go through that hell. He would end it before it ended him. His mind was made up.

It would be his call.

But, how? Killing yourself and making it look like an accident is tough to do when you have stage four cancer. But, Blake had felt like he had given himself a decent chance for success. Even if they didn't get the money, he reasoned, they wouldn't be in debt and he would be in charge of this most important part of life. A busy street and 'accidental bump' into oncoming traffic and his time would end. Blake checked his wallet, yep, the money to pay one of the bums in the area by his work was there. Blake sighed and put his car into gear as he drove to meet eternity.

-------

Jake awoke to something he had heard to almost dailey for most of his life. He stumbled into the kitchen in his PJ's and a book in his hand to see his mother crying again. However, with her was two police officers. He thought men in uniform was very neat. He came to his mom and smiled at the men in uniforms. He looked up at his mom. His smile faded and he became worried. Every day before his mom usually stopped crying when he came in. But, this time she kept going. This confused, Jake. "Mommy, do you want to read me a book? That will make you feel better." She cried softer as she looked at the cover of the book.

Goodnight Moon.

"Daddy and I put cars in the book."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

First 5 Friday-All Quiet On the Set

Comedy is tough enough to do with the ability to speak. Precise timing is needed to convey a message that will get us laughing so hard that we break wind without knowing it. (Or is that just me?) Imagine the difficulty in conveying a message totally without words. Now imagine the actor is two dimensional.

Pretty impressive accomplishment, right?

First 5 Mute Cartoon Characters

5. Wilie E. Coyote, Loony Toons. A furry example of Murphy's Law. What can go wrong will go wrong especially when your trying to get you some 'fast food'. I imagine with the money he spent at ACME it could've put a huge dent in the deficit. His character is somewhat a paradox. As a kid, I was torn. I didn't want him to eat the roadrunner, but I did feel sorry for him. Not so sorry that I stopped laughing when he held up the sign saying "YIKES!!" before falling a country mile. (Anyone else wonder where he kept all of those signs?)








4. Maggie Simpson, The Simpsons. The eternal toddler. Watching my kids grow up, I tend to identify more with Maggie. The challenge of walking without falling on her face and trying to get anyone at all to understand her really hits home in my house. Not necessarily with my kids, but with me. Seriously though, this is Super Toddler. Who shot Mr. Burns? Maggie. Who in another episode saved Homer? Maggie. Who, of the three Simpson kids, one that has a chance to be normal if the writers let her age? Maggie.





3. Pink Panther, The Pink Panther. Coolness, suave, debonair, ....Pink. He made Pink cool and his moves were probably copied by many others wanting to be a 'cool cat.' He was an opportunist and sometimes a little over his head. However, he was always lucky.




2. Perry the Platypus, Phineas and Ferb. A new character t
hat I truly adore. He is a mild mannered platypus who, when the need arises, turns into a secret agent. Secret Agent P, for short. He has a quiet competence and total loyalty to his front family, the prodigies Phineas and Ferb. Plus, his little growl cracks me up...check it out if you've never heard it.








1. Snoopy, Peanuts. Poor Charlie Brown. Even in a show where he is supposedly the star, the dog steals the lime light. Whether he's winning a christmas yard show, playing tennis, or defeating the Red Baron in his Sopwith Camel, Snoopy is the show. All the rest of the show is filler until Snoopy does his thing. Canine coolness, Snoopy...or Joe Cool...is the dog everyone would love to have. Watch as Snoopy saves the day over France during WWI.




Well, I hoped you enjoyed the silent but funny toons and I am wishing your last weekend of May turns into a good one.

A Humble Thank You For the Wishes and Writer's Workshop

FIRST OF ALL, Thank you everyone for my birthday wishes....you brought a tear to an old man's eye.


I gotta tell you, I love this time of the week. Where I get show my mad writing skills (such as they are) and think creative thoughts. Oh yeah, and I get to list stuff this week too!! Awesome!! Hit Mama Katt's blog to play along.


1.) What is your life's anthem? You know...that song that is ALWAYS in your head. The one you'd go to sing first if someone told you to sing a song right NOW. What is it and what does it mean to you?
(inspired by Tattooed Minivan Mom)

First song that comes to mind is "The Ballad of the Alamo" by Marty Robbins. Not sure it is my life's anthem, but I find myself singing it quite often. (I guess because I'm a history teacher.)

2.) We love telemarketers don't we!?! Describe a memorable experience you had with one.
(inspired by Literal Dan

My favorite story is a friend of mine. He has once just layed down the phone without hanging up and about an hour later hung it up. I wonder how long the guy talked before he realized no one was listening.

3.) How much does focusing on weight affect your daily life?
(inspired by Musings Of A Blond Mom)

It is a huge part of my day. I mean, it takes skill to rationalize not working out. But, I do love to do curls...with a Shiner in my hand. But, after that , my workout time tends to interfere with my laying around time too much. I only run if I'm being chased by someone bigger or in pursuit of a ball of some sort. Running just to run, just seems pointless. Plus, if I were to do a pushup, I would get the Nacho Cheese Dorito stain that covers my fingers on the floor.

4.) Describe in what ways you expect too much from your significant other. Do they deserve an apology?
(inspired by Carty Party Of Three)

Apparently not, she exceeds mine every day. I'm sure I owe her an apology, but it's not for expecting more than she can deliver.

5.) List ten things that make you HAPPY.
(inspired by our irritation at our own complaining from last weeks "Sick Of" posts.)

10. Driving in a light rain...it's very relaxing.

9. Having a beer at a Rangers/Astros game. Nothing is better than a cold drink with the beauty of the ballpark.

8. Watching a good movie at the theatre with large coke and popcorn so buttered that you actually can feel your life shortening by a couple of minutes with every bite.

7. Making lists like me...like tomorrow's First 5 List will be GREAT MUTE cartoon characters.

6. A Robert Earl Keen concert...the man, the myth, the legend...there is no better (for my money anyway)

5. When a child gets what I'm trying to teach. It is the main perk of my job...it sure as hell ain't the pay.

4. Winning a large poker tournament.

3. Time with Friends. It is very unusual that I get this privilege, but I do enjoy catching up.

2. My girls laughter when they're acting "silly" Two girls running around screaming with joy is such a wonderful noise. Maybe someday I'll write a sonnet about it, but for now I'll enjoy this moment that flees so quickly into adolescence.

1. Sharing a laugh with Jill. Fortunately this moment happens a lot. I was fortunate to marry a girl with a great sense of humor and she 'gets' me. (I mean what other girl would stay up until midnight watching a Phineas and Ferb marathon.)

6.) Ok I was going to end it with five, but Laina just got out of bed as I was finishing this post and I SWEAR she is sleep walking. It's creepy. I keep asking her what she is doing and she's staring at me...but not directly at me...kind of just a centimeter to the left of my head. I KNEW she was a sleep walker. I just knew it. SO! Share a sleep walking story of your own!!
(inspired by my scary four year old)

I did have a 'fight' with invisible people in college in my room. My buddy said later that it seemed like I was in 'a fight to the death.' Of course, he stayed in his bed with his covers over his head hoping whoever was beating me up wouldn't look for him. Brave of him wasn't it? By the way, I won the fight against 'Those who do not exist'. By the way, you need to read Sneaky Momma's fight against sleep walking.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lane!!!


While Lane is busy making a difference in the lives of young adolescents, the girls and I (Jill, his wife) decided to sneak onto his blog to wish him a Happy Birthday. :)

"Daddy, put candles on your cake and take them off. He plays games with me, with the blue ones and the red ones and the green ones, too. He reads me books about the animals. I like it when Daddy gives me hugs. I love you, Daddy!" Love, Addsy

"Cake! Pringles! Wanna watch da puppy dog! Pnut cat! Wiggles clock! Cake! Cats! Wub You!" Love, Itty Bitty

"Happy Birthday, Hon. Thank you for all you do to make my day, every day. You are such an amazing person. I am so blessed that I get to share the rest of my life with you. I hope you have a wonderful day today. I love you!" Love, Jill

It would be awesome if you would leave him a birthday message, too. The more, the merrier!

Friday, May 22, 2009

First 5 Friday-The Best Things About the Final Day

Those were the days. The end of May, the beginning of summer. The last day of school opened forth ten weeks of possibilities. It is where all were optimists. This week I will take a closer look at the freedom that is the last day of school.

First 5 Greatest Things About the Last Day of School

5. No Homework. This is the one day out of the year that it was guaranteed that homework was not going to be assigned. Some hardasses would actually have homework the first day of school...but the last day....NO WAY!!

4. Nicer Teachers. Oh yes, you still have some that are trying to wade through the waves of indifference, but most are in a very good mood. It took until the time I was a teacher before I realized it was because they REALLY loved summer...even more than we did. As they smiled and shook our hands as we were leaving, I know they were secretly thinking of beaches far away from books and ignorant children....that didn't have their last name.

3. Movies. Actual movies. You know, movies that actually spent time in a theatre, not on the history channel or given by a book company. Movies that are to entertain rather than enlighten....but, mainly to force quiet in the classroom as the teachers try to deal with the hangover caused by the faculty party the night before.

2. Shortened Day. The greatest day of the year is also the shortest day as most schools closed at 1:30ish. You gotta love the fact that pretty much right after you eat lunch you're out. It's just the perfect end to any year.

1. Lack of Structure. Wanna go outside? No problem....want to wander the halls? Sure, knock yourself out. Want to throw water balloons or shoot water pistols at people your age and younger? Fine. Teachers just want to survive the day without anyone hurt, no fights, and everyone happily...and this is the important part....LEAVING. But, with this, the single greatest moment of any school year is the release bell. It rings and the screams and celebrations echo from the halls of learning so loud that it is heard downtown.

It's good to be a kid.

Hope you enjoyed a First 5 look at the final day of school, hope you and yours survive it and thrive after it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writer's Workshop-Things I'm Sick Of



It is time for my favorite blog part of the week....the Writer's Workshop....head on out to Mama Katt's site and try your hand, or hands if you don't have to hunt and peck, at the inspiring prompts below:


1.) Share a love letter.

I don't know...I guess I love the letter J the most. It looks the coolest and it is the first name of my lady. Of course, S is pretty cool too.

2.) Memorial Day Weekend plans?? Do share!

Hmm....Phineas and Ferb marathon, popcorn, and beer (it's birthday week so that means SHINER BLONDE). Fun for the whole family.

3.) List ten things you are currently sick of.

(inspired by Jenny)

See Below.

4.) Put an outfit together using pictures you found online and show us what you'd LIKE to be wearing today.

(inspired by Lace)

I don't 'do' fashion.

5.) What have you been too busy to pay attention to?

(inspired by Chris)

Hogan's Heroes reruns. I really miss 'em during the school year, but no fear summer is almost here. "I know nothing!!"

-----------------------------

Ten things that I'm sick of..

10. The NBA. How is it that a player NEVER fouls in that league? Every time a whistle blows there is the look like, "Your kidding right? I didn't even touch him." I am sick of Mark Cuban and pretty much every one of the Denver Nuggets (with the exception of Billups). Thuggery is so 1990, Denver. I'm going to throw the Lakers in too...I'm just sick of them for the normal reasons. I'm kind of glad my Spurs and Mavs are out...now I can't quit holding back my spew at these ten year olds in adult bodies playing basketball.

9. The Bachelor/Bachelorrette. Sorry, Mama Katt and all of you Bachelor and Bachelorrette fans. I think this thing has played out its string as far as it can. The idea of these folks finding true love while the 'object of their affection' is making out and worse with others right under there nose is ridiculous.

8. Brett Favre. Next time you retire....just go play golf and leave the NFL alone. They should have a 'boxer's rule' in the NFL. When you retire the second time your done. "Go play in Canada but leave us the f alone." By the way, on a relate note, I wish TO would go play with him for like the Toronto Stampeders and get off of my television screen.

7. Middle Schoolers. Sorry, it's so close to the end of the year and they are truly pissing me off with their faux coolness. If you here of a teacher blowing blood vessel down in Texas, don't worry. It was me.

6. The New York Yankees. General Principle.

5. The TAKS test. Our standardized test which lets us know how good a job we did this year. It's where the state of Texas says 'Hey, you guys need to teach everyone differently, but we're going to test 'em all the same way.' Moronic.

4. Players that choose to waste their talent. Adam Jones. Why? What do you mean you gotta keep it real, Adam? If that's the case, go work at Denny's. That's what real people do when they have to piece together plan B because plan A didn't work. They don't make it rain. They make me a hot apple pie. They don't fight bodyguards, they fight boredom in a dead end job where they hope they can maneuver into their dream job. When told that they will receive more than a million dollars to play a sport if they keep their nose clean, guess what real people do? They keep their friggin' nose clean. You're too stupid, man. Simply too stupid. But, don't worry, you have a host of others that were too stupid too, like Rae Carruth, Art Schleister, Pete Rose, etc.

3.The Ultra Right Wing and The Ultra Left Wing. I have an opinion, Folks, and I ain't afraid to use it. Rush Limbaugh, it is perfectly okay to hope that our country rights itself regardless of the party in power. You can give the Democrats some credit and still be on the other side. Sheesh, right now he is truly rooting for the Depression of 2009 that way he can say, "See, I told you so." What a tool.
Hey, I used to be a ditto head at one point, but when his message is division just for division's sake, it doesn't sound right.

Just like nameless left wing fanatic. I am unenlightened, bigoted, and barbaric if I think abortion is wrong, guns and cars don't kill people...people kill people, and you can do some things in this society that should cost you your life. Instead of giving us valid arguments to their beliefs they use the tired old saying, "I didn't expect you to understand anyway."

2. Sagging jeans. Guys, it ain't cool. It NEVER was cool. Did Fonzie's pants sag? No. Did James Dean's? Frank Sinatra? Sammy Davis, Jr.'s? Denzel Washington's? Nope. I mean seriously, do you think that your underwear showing means your hip? Nope, all it shows is your hip...you know the part of your hip the doctor gives a shot in on occasion. Don't tell me it's all about the hip hop culture. I like country music too, but I don't drink to excess, cheat, and go to 'honky tonks'. You're allowed to like the music without dressing like a clown. By the way, while your at it, your car has an AC, so roll up your damn windows. I am sick of your tunes drowning out my ESPN radio and Ranger games.

1. Wear and tear on my old body. I got hurt a couple of weeks ago getting out of bed. I tweaked my back and was listed as Day to Day for a couple of weeks. Sure there was some perks, I didn't have to mow the lawn and Sneaky Momma let me sit around for a couple of days. But, as a football player who never missed a game in six years due to injury (but did miss some time due to incompetence) this is a hard pill to swallow.

Tune in tomorrow when we head back to yesteryear and I rate the First 5 greatest things about the last day of school.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

First 5 Friday-Jill Speaks

Sneaky Momma is the love of my life. She is kind, funny, beautiful, and smart. I hang on every word she says (unless there is a close game or a rerun of Scrubs on) and I don't think I could ever imagine a better mother for my kids. However, one of the best things is the 'Jillisms' over the years.

She has said some things over the years that have been hilarious and head scratching all at the same time. So, in honor of my beloved...

First 5 Friday Jillisms.


5. "Um, you know...yeah." The first year of our blessed relationship would start with that as she would decided that what she was thinking wasn't important.

4. "Good Cow" At first I just thought this was an elementary way (she used to teach that age) to say "Holy Shit!" But, she was truly the first one I ever heard say it. As I grew to know her I found that it was a saying her grandmother used to say.

3. "I was thinking..." I am lazy by nature. Of all of the seven deadly sins, the one that hits me the most is sloth. So, as I am sitting in my comfy recliner and I hear those three words, I know that whatever comes next is going to cause me to work. My hon is a great idea lady. She can find every way there is to skin a cat. As her mind works like a finally tuned sports car, my mind is run by hamster on a wheel.....I call him Roy. He also is inclined to laziness. By the way, she has tried to trick me by changing her beginning to "Let me throw this out at you.."

2. "I'm just kidding....not really." Our conversations were splattered with this gem. She would say it with a smile and I never was for sure if she was kidding or not. So, I just grinned quizzacly usually. I found out as I began to know her better...nope, she really wasn't kidding.

1 Wow, that is a beautiful field of Indian Paint brushes." This beauty was only said once as it is definitely a situational comment. We had spent a long hard three days in the Hill Country where I had been hooked in the finger while catching a bass and my lovely city girl had spent more time away from easy driving distance of Target than she ever had before. We were tired and slightly bummed as she, always trying to find the silver lining was commenting on the beauty of the land.

As I looked over in the direction of the Indian Paint brushes I noticed something about them. "Honey," I said, "that's not flowers...that's a field of dirt."

We laughed the rest of the trip.

She has always fit my ideal woman. I have always asked God for a person who I could spend my life laughing with...and boy, did he deliver. I hoped you enjoyed this personal First 5.