New Shoes in the Rain

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday, Monday

Sitting in my office on this sunny Monday morning, thankful that only a handful of friends and acquaintances were caught up in Hurricane Irene's path.  That said, I hope the same for you.

Is it me, or was there a LOT of news coverage paid to this impending/occuring/passing disaster?  I suppose after Katrina, no one will ignore or take lightly a natural force like a hurricane again, but when the major networks have their weeknight anchors on duty on a Sunday afternoon and Matt Lauer is working on the Today set at 5:00 AM on a Saturday, you know it's a big deal.  Made bigger by its impact on New York, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia, to be sure.

The hurricane also had some effect on my Cincinnati Reds.  Their opponents this week (tonight through Thursday afternoon, when my son and I will be in attendance) are the Philadelphia Phillies, who postponed their Saturday and Sunday games due to the weather and spent the weekend hanging out in Cincinnati.  So while the Reds played a 14-inning affair on their way to a series sweep against Washington this weekend, the Phils were chilling and resting their bullpen.  Not that they'll need much bullpen help, with their insanely great starting pitching.

Change of subject....

Did you happen to notice the news last week that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is stepping aside, presumably due to health reasons?  I have a number of wonderful Apple product, am a complete convert to Mac (does anyone actually say "Macintosh" anymore?) computing (even for work, no mean feat in the security-laden environment in which I work) and am just waiting for them to get Apple TV right to take that plunge as well.  Jobs is not a techie but rather an ardent fan of great design with an uncanny ability, most of the time, to divine what people will want to buy.  And find that they cannot live without, strangely enough.  I've read that he's not the easiest guy in the world to work with or for, but he has always enjoyed a high level of loyalty among senior staff.

Oh, and did you know that he was the financial muscle behind Pixar, the animation studio?  Yep, his too.  Almost unfair to be that successful in two totally unrelated walks of life.

I had a strange weekend, as my wife went out of town to visit her mother in western Kentucky, leaving me to the momentary life of a bachelor Friday afternoon through yesterday.  Played golf Saturday morning, played well enough for thirteen holes but forgettably the rest of the way.  Watched a lot of baseball.  Ate some stuff I don't normally (and shouldn't really) eat.  Took care of a couple of honey-do projects (cross the carpet-cleaning off the list for now, thanks) and started planning a couple more.

But I definitely missed my wife, as we really enjoy our weekends.

This will be short work week for me, as I'm seizing the opportunity for a five-day weekend by taking time off Thursday and Friday.  Reds on Thursday with my son (AKA "The Boy," longtime holdover from when he was, well, a boy), then who knows on Friday?  It's the Boy's birthday, so something good will probably happen.  Weekend will probably see me commence to painting, so to speak, and I have a golf game Monday morning.

Anyway, like it or not, another week is underway, so try to make it a good one.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Work to do

In addition to the work that my employer pays me to do, it appears I have a few things pending here at the ranch.

For instance, my wife and I have been talking about painting our home's interior for some time, as the last go-round for the main level was about eight years ago.  Thankfully, our trim is in pretty good shape, and I am usually able to resist getting handprints on the ceilings, so they're OK, but that leaves the walls.  To be fair, I stripped the wallpaper from the kitchen walls within the last two years and painted what was newly exposed, and the upstairs bedrooms have been painted within the last eighteen months as well.  But the downstairs, where we do virtually all of our living, is looking, well, lived-in.  So we're about to start the painting process.

I'm in pretty good practice, as I helped our son repaint the main level of his house in anticipation of the arrival of his son in May.  So I should be able to get right into the swing of things.  And we even picked out a paint color we think we like, so we'll start with a gallon of that and paint things like hallways first, just to see how we like it.

This is present in my mind because we made a trip to Lowe's late yesterday afternoon and bought stuff like masking tape, drop cloths and wall patching compound.  But that will wait for at least a couple of weeks.

Also on the list is some edging for our backyard plant beds.  We redid the beds in the spring and early summer with much success, but didn't provide any kind of edging.  So the mulch we so conscientiously placed in each of the beds is slowly sliding into the yard, and we can't have that.  So it looks like I need to buy or rent an edging machine and address that.  Boy, can't you just feel the excitement over that one?

And finally and more pressing is our carpet.  We have a number of areas that are what I would call "recurring dull stains" that always look just a little darker than the rest of the carpet.  And it's not a path per se, it's patchy and spotty.  My theory is that I used a pre-treating solution when we first bought our current carpet cleaning machine and that I never was able to get it all the way out of the carpet.  So dirt and dust sticks to it, thus discoloring the carpet.

I can run the cleaner and it looks great for a couple of weeks but these places always seem to reappear.  Very frustrating and puzzling.  So if any of you astute readers have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Well, well, well, here we are again, friends.  Nice to see you......and to be seen, after a fashion.

Traveled to a conference in Destin, Florida earlier this week.  I'm always a bit taken aback by "tourist" towns like Destin, as it's not at all uncommon to see folks who own all or part of a vacation home there side-by-side with folks who scraped together a few bucks to take their kids to the beach for the weekend.  And their dwellings fit that description, too, as you'll see tower upon tower of high-rise, ocean view condos alongside run-down, no-name motels.  One thing's for sure....the ocean doesn't discriminate, you have to want it to find the means to be there.  But the food was good, as I am a great lover of all things seafood and pretty much insist on getting fresh seafood when I'm at or near the water.  And it didn't disappoint.

I'm so relieved that Rick Perry has officially entered the Republican presidential campaign, as now the fur is really flying among the "leaders."  The greatest mistake that these Republicans could make is to spend so much time and effort tearing each other down to win their nomination that they forget that they have to run against an incumbent opposition-party President.  Somewhat similar to the Democratic race in 2004 that John Kerry ultimately won, so that he could then run against George W. Bush.

I keep reading that the University of Miami's football team is in real trouble with the NCAA for recruiting and other violations.  My only question in response is "what took them so long?"  I played in a golf event at my conference and one of my teammates had a cousin, I think, who played football at a perennial powerhouse some years ago.  He told me that the cousin began receiving a weekly envelope of cash right after arriving on campus there, and the envelopes continued during his entire stay there.  And he was advised by teammates not to ever ask what the money was for or where it came from.  And here we thought Kentucky football was bad; we apparently just don't cheat as well as other schools.  And get caught when we do.

In my travels I'm finding that one of my very favorite iPad applications is the USA Today app.  Quick but reasonably informative news items and feature pieces entertain and enlighten the reader without taking too much time or taking one's concentration.  My wife often comments that I must read that a lot when I'm traveling, as I almost always have a handful of tidbits to share.  I remember when that paper was first founded it was derided as "McNews."  Show me a better daily paper in a city smaller than a million people.

Another blog that I have read and enjoyed for some time featured some reader comments recently and the writer committed to "doing better" in response to some criticism.  Honestly, it's a BLOG, it's not scripture.  Sorta like people complaining that they don't like a certain restaurant---if you don't like it, just stop going there!

OK, that feels better.  But I really do welcome comments from anyone who wants to take time to write.  They just may not result in any change I would make to this little online corner.

And that's a wrap.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Off the road again

Finally....a whole week where overnight travel won't be necessary.  I'm plenty busy when I'm in my office, but it's a little less hectic and the chaos is a bit more under control.  Good thing, too, since I will now have to plan on working another five or ten years, what with S&P downgrading the U.S. government's credit rating and what that will do to my (and millions of others') 401K plans....

That said, I should mention briefly why I'm so happy not to be traveling.....last week I spent three pretty full days on the road, going from Lexington to Louisville to Birmingham, AL to Knoxville, TN and back again.  All by trusty Honda Pilot, which is most comfortable for long-distance travels.  Didn't see much bad weather, except excessive heat in the areas south of our home base.  Lots of road construction, owing to the warm weather and the ease of paving in the heat.

Long trip, but a productive one, so I'm back in the saddle here at the ranch, so to speak.  And already planning five more trips over the next sixty days.

Could not help but smile when I read caddy Steve Williams' comments about how he was dismissed by his former boss, Tiger Woods, and how his new pro, Adam Scott, won with Williams on the bag.  Stevie said it was his best week ever.  Take that, Mr. Woods!

The Cincinnati (Sh)Reds limped back home last night, having won only two games out of six against the two worst teams in their division last week.  Injuries have hit this team hard, but they weren't playing terribly inspired baseball before all of these guys got hurt.  Hoping the fresh troops they've brought in will make a difference, but I'm kind of resigned to the fact that it will be nearly impossible to duplicate the magic of the 2010 season.

Kentucky's football team is well into preparations for its season opener but they'll start the season without me working in the radio booth for the first time since 1998.  After fourteen years, I decided last season that it would be my last as a spotter for my very good friend, Tom Leach, the Voice of the Wildcats.  Tom and I grew up together and remain close friends, but it just became so much more difficult to manage the football schedule and my extensive business travel schedule that I felt that stepping aside was the right move.  Plus it gives me more opportunities to spend time with family on the weekends, which I definitely appreciate!

Hope your Monday is going well enough.  Have a good week.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Suck it up

Not really, but more in the "can you believe it?" sense.

Just ran across a feature item on a news site that indicated that Spanx, the folks who make slimming garments (these were called "girdles" and such when I was a kid) are now rolling out a line of shape wear that ladies can wear to the gym.

Take a minute to digest that.

Now, the main reason we exercise, in any form, is to look and feel good.  So this Spanx line makes you look good WHEN YOU GO TO DO SOMETHING THAT'S DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU LOOK AND FEEL GOOD?

So why exercise?

Then there were associated articles about the percentage of women who wear makeup when they visit the gym.  It's a lot higher than I would have expected.

This is all an interesting coincidence, as my wife and I took a good walk last night to a local frozen yogurt store, reasoning that we would walk better and further if given the proper incentive.  As luck would have it, we pass by a large workout facility on our way to and from this place, and a few of the folks who've just concluded their workout came to the yogurt place for a frozen treat.  And we both noticed that the men who emerged from this gym were largely dressed, well, to work out.  But the women, for the most part, were well coordinated, with tops, shorts and socks, if not shoes, that match or at least go together.

Harkens back to the dawn of the aerobics era, when I used to play racquetball with a friend on a weekly basis, and we'd see what we both considered the "meat market" at our gym, as there were two large aerobics classes that met on our racquetball night, so you'd see all of the color coordinated leotards, tights, leg warmers and Reebok aerobic shoes, as well as hair and makeup done just right.

To work out.

Spanx also makes a line of items for men.  In addition to the brief, which presumably sucks in a man's gut (and good luck with that), they also apparently make an undershirt that compresses a man's chest and abdominal area.


Now, don't get me wrong.  Bravo to Spanx for identifying these markets and bringing products out that meet certain needs, and for being capitalist enough to make things that people want to buy.

But I think it says something about people that there is demand for any of this.