Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2013

..and a happy new year!

Let me be among the first to wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2014!

This is always an odd time of the year, to me, anyway.  We're now beyond the hustle and bustle of Christmas, which is wonderful because of the occasions we have to see people that we care about and that we may not see as frequently as we'd like.  Most non-retail businesses are in kind of a holding pattern, as no one wants to get into anything major until the new year.  And with Christmas and New Year's occurring on Wednesday this year, most business things will actually wait until next Monday, January 6, which starts the first FULL week of the new year.

So, did you have a nice holiday?  See folks you wanted (or even needed) to see?  Were you able to find that 'special' gift for each of those on your holiday shopping list?   I'm fortunate that I can say "yes" to all of those questions, so I hope that you are, too.

Not such a happy new year to all of the NFL coaches who were fired…

The holiday spirit

Christmas is fast approaching (and it really is, even though retailers have been trying to accelerate the process for some time) and I was in kind of a holiday mood as I write this afternoon.  So ho, ho, ho, indeed!

No, actually, I want to mention some holiday acts of decency and kindness that I have been a party to over the years around the holidays.

First such instance was when I was a kid, probably eight or nine years old.  I liked accompanying my mother to the grocery, for some reason (and wound up working in a grocery store for almost six years through high school and college).  One such occasion we were making the rounds through the aisles of the long-gone A&P in Paris, Kentucky, my hometown, and I recall finding an envelope on the floor.  I showed my discovery to my mom, who looked inside the envelope and said that I should go to the office at the front of the store and turn it in.  I was pretty sure there was money inside, but had no concept of how much paper money was a l…

Twenty questions

Good morning to one and all....thanks once again for stopping by.

We're in full holiday prep mode at my house, and you may well be in that state yourself.  So as a slight diversion from that, here are twenty questions, some with actual answers, other rhetorical, that should tickle your brain a bit....

Does anyone know why Santa Claus is fat?  I don't think I've ever heard, not even in the old stop-motion animation "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" television special....

Who's with me in being sick of references to Black Friday, nearly two weeks AFTER Black Friday?

Are we in another one of those years when every contemporary recording artist releases a mediocre Christmas music album?

Why are people being so negative about NBC's live presentation of "The Sound of Music" last week?  I watched it with my wife and thought it was actually pretty good, given the performers could not go back and do scenes again, as they could have if it had been recorded.

Early December musings

Good morning all....here's hoping you had a nice Thanksgiving.  I know that my family and I did.

Lots of assorted stuff in the news....

Seems that certain kinds of stories come in bunches, and with the train derailment outside of New York City over the weekend I was reminded of this.  Third major derailment incident in recent memory, although one was in Europe.  But it was reported that the train was going about 80 as it approached a curve that required a much lower safe speed.  No way to know what was happening, neither you or I were there.  But a shame nonetheless, four people dead, many others injured.

I also took note of a story that actor Paul Walker, known for his role in the recurring "Fast and Furious" movie franchise, died in a car crash.  Lots of conflicting information on this, as well.  But an actor who's probably best known for playing a high-performance driver on screen dying in an auto accident is most ironic indeed.

Oh, and did you know that racism ha…

Thanks

Just a short post to express my thanks to everyone who visits this space.  I write this blog for fun, so I hope that it brings you a little fun, too.

But I do want to say that I'm very thankful for my wonderful family, for my many friends, for my health and for my prosperity.

Have a nice Thanksgiving!

Allow me to vent for a moment

Friends, on the start of this week of national Thanksgiving (yes, it's a week, I think, since the morning news shows led off today talking about "Thanksgiving week"), I have a few things I'd like to pose as rhetorical questions....

Starting with last night's NFL game between the Broncos and the Patriots....NBC persisted in calling it "Manning vs. Brady XII" or somesuch, identifying the quarterbacks for each team.  To be fair, New England's Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts and now of the Denver Broncos, have played against one another numerous times, but they have something like 48 teammates, so it's not a solo act on either side.  Plus, since they're both quarterbacks, they don't technically play AGAINST each other, but that's quibbling.

I'm already sick of Black Friday and it isn't even here yet.  My wife asked me over the weekend why they call it that, and I used to think that it was some sor…

Weather or not

Hope today's entry finds you well.

Here in the central Kentucky area we were very fortunate not to have been affected by the recent spate of severe weather that struck about a dozen states.  My mother-in-law's home county in western Kentucky saw some heavy winds but none close to where she lives, thankfully.  And while I don't know anyone in Illinois who was affected, here's hoping those who were can find some positives in their current circumstances.

Now it's cooler again, which I suppose is appropriate for mid-November, but after seeing high temperatures in the mid 60's recently, it's a bit of an adjustment.

And nightly I feel just awful for those in the Philippines whose home area was ravaged by the recent typhoon there, as I watch the latest news reports about relief and recovery efforts there.  The company for whom I work, along with many, many other American entities, have some business installations in the Manila area, and from all reports that area …

Already here

Good morning, one and all.

Woke up to a very pretty layer of snow on the lawn this morning, although there's not enough to cause road problems, even here in bad-weather-challenged central Kentucky.  It IS November, after all!

Was talking with my daughter last night and she mentioned that she has a couple of friends who went to Walt Disney World this week or last week.  Apparently all said that the weather was much more agreeable than during our week there recently, less hot and humid.  Also, my daughter indicated that according to her Disney Experience smartphone app (I had this while we were there but deleted it as we left Orlando), the wait times for various popular rides and attractions were a fraction of what we experienced!

Since our return from vacation I can add another worthwhile skill to my portfolio....product tester.  My friends at Colonel Littleton asked me to use and evaluate a couple of their new products, and offer my opinions of them.  So I spent a couple of weeks …

Today's list

I have a bunch of random and unconnected items to bring up, so here's a list from my brain purge...

Blockbuster announced that it's closing its remaining 300 or so stores by early 2014.  I worked for a videotape rental store in the early 80s.  Honestly, if you had told me then that people could rent a movie by clicking a couple of buttons on their TV remote, or, better yet, visit a vending machine to pick up a movie to watch tonight, I would have thought you insane!

Hard to imagine a professional football player being bullied, but that is exactly the scenario that's playing out in Miami right now.

Rand Paul apparently wasn't graded hard enough when he wrote term papers in school, if he's this willing to use other people's words without proper attribution.

Someone else whose work I read mentioned this, but the NFL really is all about the quarterbacks.  In Monday night's game between Chicago and Green Bay, both teams were forced to use their backup QBs due to…

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Friends, what goes around comes around.  Or everything old is new again.  Or the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here in Lexington, KY, a city of about a quarter-million folks, things change, but not at a breakneck pace.  But recently, a LOT is changing, and I suppose we'll have to see how much of it is for the better.

For instance, it was announced not long ago that the local Sears department store, which has existed in the Fayette Mall (original name, right?) since it was built in the early 70's, will close at year's end.  Now, I don't know about you, but Sears has been a retail presence in my life for as long as I can recall.  Growing up in Paris, a town about twenty miles from Lexington, I recall having a Sears catalog store that also sold appliances, tires and some lawn equipment.  Bought clothes from them via their catalog for some time, until I found better alternatives.  My parents always bought Kenmore appliances from Sears, and my wife's …

Believe it

Just about back to normal after our wonderful week at Walt Disney World.  At some point I'll stop rubbing it in....

This morning I have a hodgepodge of this and that, so bear with me....if you don't like one item, hopefully you will like the next one a little more.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED that McDonald's has elected to stop serving Heinz ketchup, since a former Burger King executive is now running Heinz.  I mean, really, if they're worried about corporate espionage, there are scores of hourly workers who have worked for one and then went to the other.  Seriously, though, this is one more thing against Mickey D's fries....first, they changed the formula of oil they're fried in (used to be a mix of vegetable oil and BEEF FAT), now they're going to let us slather them with an inferior brand of ketchup (or catsup, even).

Speaking of Burger King, I'm surprised they haven't changed the name of this establishment....have you walked into one of these place…

Magical

Greetings, friends.....my wife and I are just back from a week at Walt Disney World in Florida.  We spent the week with our kids and their families, ten of us in all.
In the interests of full disclosure, let me say that we took our kids there about 25 years ago for three days and didn't stay in a Disney resort property.  Also, I was there for a corporate event two years ago, and spent about two hours in the EPCOT park, but it was very controlled and was part of a group activity.
And I won't make this post the blog equivalent of showing you slides of our vacation, either.  So with all of that out of the way, here are some quick impressions:
1.  Staying in a Disney resort is the way to go.  Your considerable investment to do so includes transportation anywhere on the property, among other perks. To be fair, the buses and monorails and boats are often crowded and may many stops, but it sure beats loading, driving and parking your car or a rental.
2.  You don't even need a car to …

Vacating

Greetings from vacation paradise!
Well, not quite yet, but I am off work this morning.  How did you engineer this, you may ask, since you just started a new job recently?   Simply put, it was a commitment from my new employer that I would be able to take this time period when I accepted my new position.  
Now that we have that out of the way....
As is so often the case before a vacation, I just returned from a business trip yesterday afternoon.  Almost didn't return when planned, either.  This trip was out of the ordinary, not for its purpose (a customer meeting) but the travel itself.
My new company requires travelers to use the "lowest available fare" to travel, and, in my case, I also have to consider not only my local airport, but also those in Louisville and Cincinnati.  So this trip required me to get myself to Louisville in time for a 6:00 AM flight to Newark, NJ, then wait two hours for an Amtrak train to Philadelphia.  Then a cab to the meeting location at a confere…

That's that

That's it.   End of the line.  Kaput.  And so on.
The Cincinnati Reds met their season's end last night in much the same way that the past dozen or so games had gone....listlessly.  Whatever happened to these guys apparently is pretty long-lasting, as they finished the 2013 season on a six game losing streak.
Wait until next year.  But that phrase went out with the Brooklyn Dodgers (affectionately called "Dem Bums" by the locals way back when).
OK, enough of that.  I could go on, but that won't accomplish anything.
So, I read today an interesting article about how BlackBerry reached the low point where the company now exists.  It was a fascinating read that detailed a lot of indecision and conflict among their leadership, once the Apple iPhone entered the cellphone market.  I dare say that they aren't the only maker of cellphones whose fate was altered considerably by that invention.
I'm finding it hard to believe that the folks in Washington simply allowed th…

Potpourri

It's Friday, my friends, and I'm as happy about that as you probably are!  Lots going on for me personally and elsewhere, so let's get right into some stuff, shall we?

Starting with baseball (naturally), as my Cincinnati Reds cannot win their division (the St. Louis Cardinals have eliminated the Reds mathematically) but they can at least host the single-game wild-card playoff they'll most certainly have with the Pittsburgh Pirates by winning two of three games this weekend from those same Pirates.  The games are in Cincinnati, so my son and I are trekking north to lend our support tomorrow.

While we're in town we plan to visit the world-famous, legendary Montgomery Inn.  Haven't heard of this?  Then I'd guess you aren't from the midwest.  This place is so well known that Bob Hope actually did their radio and television commercials years ago.  The ribs are baked, not smoked, but slathered with a unique sauce that contributes heavily to many other items o…

New and not

Greetings, one and all.  I have the usual mixture of comments and observations.  Nothing to rant about, but, hey, it's early.
If you have an iPhone or an iPad, as I do, you can now download the NEW iOS 7 from Apple.  It's been pretty well publicized, so if you hadn't heard, you're probably smarter than the rest of us!  Anyway, the idea behind this was to give your Apple devices a totally new look and feel.  I downloaded the software for both devices last night, and, even though I had only a couple of hours to play with it, I have to say that Apple appears to have pulled off something that I didn't know would be possible.....improving their existing user interface.  New backgrounds, ring tones, etc., but the old standbys are all still available, too, in case you're really attached to the former "default" Marimba ring tone (I hear that one ALL THE TIME).  I'll let you be the judge if you have a device that can and will accept this update, but I think…

Remember

I know that most of what I write here is pretty light-hearted, and it should be, given what this blog is.  But I want to begin with a somber note of recollection of the events of this day in 2001.  I don't think I'll ever forget, and you probably won't, either.  A writer whom I like and read regularly (he writes for a newspaper in another city) cited the Bruce Springsteen song "Nothing Man" as a fitting summation of today and what it means.  That song's lyrics say it better than I can.
I was fortunate in that I knew no one who was lost, met someone who was at Ground Zero that morning but escaped unharmed but forever changed.  But we all lost quite a bit that day.  And in our family, today's date has a different meaning, as I think I've mentioned here before.  Our daughter and son-in-law were married on this date in 1999, so it's definitely a day of mixed emotions for all of us.
------------------------------------------------------------------------…

It's what's happening now

Got a little of this and that today, friends....
I'm a little bleary-eyed today, as I attempted to watch my Cincinnati Reds play the St. Louis Cardinals last night, but the game ran to 16 innings and I had to give it up after 14.  Reds lost 5-4 after winning the first two over the hated Cardinals.  One more try tonight, and the home crowd in Cincy will be fueled by $1 hot dogs.  It's been a frustrating season this year, as there have been numerous injuries and other issues, and while Reds management will have you believe that their best baseball is ahead, time is running out for that to happen!  As it stands now, the Reds will qualify for the one-game wild-card playoff, so I suppose that's better than the alternative of no postseason play.
In case you missed it, Keith Olbermann has returned to television, hosting a late night sports commentary and interview program on ESPN2.  It's been kind of a mess finding that show each night (I DVR it) because of ESPN's coverage …

It bugs me

When my wife and I purchased our current house, we traded a somewhat rural environment for a more urban one.  That is to say, our old house was in a development about five miles from Lexington, and we now live within the city of Lexington itself.We wanted to live in the city, as that put us both closer to our jobs and a lot of other things we needed or wanted to have nearby, like shopping, dining, etc.  We also bought a newer house, which we felt would give us some advantages in the way of maintenance upkeep costs.  And we were also glad to be connected to a central sanitary sewer system, instead of the septic tank and field drain bed setup we had at our previous home.But one thing we did NOT count on was insects.  Bugs.  And I don’t mean your garden variety flies or mosquitoes or even bees and wasps.  No, I’m talking about all kinds of critters that we had never seen in our years in the country, near a farm.  These creatures must surely originate in the sewer system and use our drain…

Latest and greatest

Friends, I kind of went back to the future today.  Concluding my third week in my new position, which is office-based, but since last Friday our office was like a ghost town, with virtually everyone deciding to work from home, I gained permission to do the same.

And it's just a little strange to be back here at home, in my home based office that I occupied for ten years.  New job yet so familiar.  Lucky that it's not entirely foreign to me, I suppose!

Enough of that.  Lots going on in the world that warrants comment.

My heart truly goes out to the people of Egypt.  Whichever side of the dispute you come down on, and I frankly can't quite decide who's right and who's wrong, you have to feel for a nation that by all outward appearances is tearing itself to shreds.  Death, extensive injuries, complete chaos and not much in the way of order is no way for anyone to live.

I also have been astounded, as I always am, at the heroism of the brave men and women who put themse…