Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Glad that's over...

Well, folks, we had about ten inches of snow here in central Kentucky Friday, give or take, and most all of it is gone now.  Good riddance, I was sore for three days from shoveling!

I'm posting at an unusual time (for me, anyway) because a system I access for work purposes is not responding right now.  Done about everything else that does not require that system, so here we are.

Monday I was out of town for meetings and when I arrived in a very small town for one of those meetings, I spied a car wash.  Good, I thought, I'll wash all of this salt off.  At that moment the outside temperature was in the high 40s.  So I got the least expensive wash and congratulated myself on my good fortune.

Then I drove home.  The snow melt created lots of nice puddling on the road, puddles which were filled with road gunk and, of course, salt.  So no better.  I'll wait a while next time.

There are still pillars of shoveled, packed snow flanking the entrance to our driveway.  They're quite a bit shorter than they were Saturday, after I shoveled, but they're still a reminder of that large system.

I'm just grateful that we didn't experience what happened in the Washington, DC area.  Mind-boggling that a city that large and that receives bad weather on a semi-regular basis would struggle so with snow.  But struggle they do.  The federal government was shut down these last couple of days, and on the national news last night we saw footage of some deep snow still present in many areas.

Speaking of shutting down, I was amused by Donald Trump's decision to skip this week's debate, owing to his ongoing feud with one of the on-air hosts from Fox News.  Took his ball and went home, so to speak.  I still maintain that if/when Trump loses a primary, he will withdraw from the race.  If he's not on top or in front in anything, he moves on.  I don't foresee that this will be any different.

Since my last post I saw that former New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg has let it be known that he "may" consider an independent run for the White House.  Sounds as though it will depend on who is, or is not, the nominee from each party.

Locally, our mayor, an affable fellow named Jim Gray, has announced that he will challenge current Senator Rand Paul, who's busy unsuccessfully running for President himself at this writing.  This is interesting because Gray just won reelection as Mayor and is openly gay.  He acknowledges that this may present a challenge in some areas of Kentucky (outside the cities, as one would expect) but that he thinks voters will be more interested in his record of success than his sexual orientation.  We'll see if he's right.

The Denver Broncos are going back to the Super Bowl, apparently for one last rodeo with quarterback Peyton Manning.  Manning will most likely not be back with the Broncos and may not be playing football next season.  He's been a very good quarterback throughout his career, but his 39 years are showing.  Here's hoping he and the rest of the team turn in a good performance and end the season with a win.

Finally, in a show of uber-organization, I want my loyal readers to know that I am nearly ready to file my 2015 taxes.  Hey, if there's money coming, why wait?


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Soaring

Good early Tuesday morning from COLD central Kentucky!

It's a balmy 11 degrees as I write this (outside; thankfully, it's a little warmer inside our house!) and there's talk of snow for tomorrow and again at week's end.  Oh, boy.

I was very surprised and saddened to hear of the death of founding Eagle Glenn Frey yesterday.  He was still a relatively young man, 67 at his passing.  His group's music is a part of the soundtrack of my life, honestly, and while I really liked most all of the Eagles' work, I probably gravitated more to the songs where Frey handled the vocals than those performed by his cowriter and the group's drummer, Don Henley.  Won't name them all here, but I'd bet that if you're close to me in age that you can at least hum several of the songs sung by Glenn Frey.

I've always told my wife that when my favorite ballplayers, musicians and actors begin to pass away that I'll begin to feel my own mortality just a bit more, and that's starting to happen, as it must.

Complete change of subject--we watched some of the last Democratic and Republican Presidential debates recently.  No minds have been changed in our household, but it still astounds me that so many people feel that Donald Trump is well-suited to being President, and therefore the leader of the free world.

Just yesterday Trump apparently told an audience somewhere that when he's President, he's going to force Apple to "start building its damn computers and things in this country." And the crowd reacted positively.  The part that I find frightening is that no one among those cheering such a statement seems to realize that the President has no real authority over such things, at least none that I know of.  He also has implied that he'd charge Ford a 35% tariff on cars manufactured in Mexico.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton scored another debate win Sunday night, but all of the pundits seem to believe that the former Secretary of State has difficulty translating her performance on the debate stage into the "retail" politics necessary to win states like Iowa and New Hampshire.  Time will tell, I suppose, but this same pattern was present in 2008, when a relatively unknown Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama came into the Democratic race and, well, you know the rest.  Clinton went from "inevitable" to "unsuccessful."

Tough times for the Kentucky basketball team.  They lost a 12 point lead and the game at Auburn on Saturday.  Coach John Calipari has been telling anyone who'll listen that his current team, while talented, is NOT as loaded as last year's team, which went through the season virtually unchallenged until the NCAA tournament.  And we're seeing that now.  Some heralded freshmen have not met expectations, and a couple of the more experienced players that returned from last year's team have not fulfilled their potential either.  As Calipari states, it's only January, but time to improve is slipping away.

Finally, the Denver Broncos will host the hated New England Patriots on Sunday to decide which team will represent the AFC in the next Super Bowl.  The Broncos limped down the stretch, reinstalling veteran quarterback Peyton Manning in their season ending must-win game a couple of weeks ago.  Manning played well enough amid heavy winds and a rash of dropped passes on Sunday, but the Broncos' offense clicked when it had to and the defense held the Pittsburgh Steelers in check long enough to assure victory.

I find it a little funny when sports analysts start talking about "Brady vs. Manning," referring to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.  The quarterbacks are not on the field at the same time, of course, yet the media insists that it's another showdown between these two legendary players.  Should be fun to see what happens.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Passage

Happy second-week-of-the-new-year to all.  Busy day yesterday kept me from this space, but found some time this morning.

I watched most of the Golden Globes with my wife Sunday night, and my primary comment (other than to say that Ricky Gervais is pretty funny while being fearless and unconcerned with reaction to his jokes, which is a rare gift in show business today) is to ask "who's watching some of the shows that were recognized with awards?"  I watch a fair amount of TV, and while I don't have every pay channel and streaming service, I have enough awareness of current culture to know about some of these shows.  But I had honestly never heard of "Mr. Robot," "Mozart in the Jungle," "Wolf Hall" or "Show Me a Hero."  Who's watching these shows, aside from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?

I did not see Sylvester Stallone's acceptance speech live, but was touched that he's finally getting some recognition for his work as boxer Rocky Balboa.  I remember so well the story of how the original "Rocky" was made on a shoestring, and that Stallone would not sell the screenplay unless he was also cast in the title role.  That movie went on to win the Best Picture Oscar and it made Stallone's career.

Denzel Washington's acceptance of the Cecil B. deMille lifetime achievement award (I believe that's the correct award name) was charming for its ineptitude.  An actor who always seems so prepared for every role forgetting his speech and then his glasses was fun and cute, as was his insistence at having all family members present on stage with him.

And some of the presenters were almost as much fun as the award winners, which is normal.  The producers of this show must try to be very stringent about how quickly a winner is shooed from the stage upon acceptance, as numerous winners (Taraji P. Henson and Ridley Scott come to mind) essentially ignored the command to "wrap it up," and rightfully so.

I didn't win a Globe again this year, but since I wasn't nominated, I wasn't expecting to.  But with all of these unknown shows winning some of the TV awards, who knows?

I was sorry to hear of the passing of singer/actor/cultural icon David Bowie.  He was 69 and apparently had been battling cancer for more than the past year.  The irony is that he just put out his final recording and there apparently is at least one song that serves more or less as his epitaph.  How often do our stars have the opportunity to say goodbye to their fans and admirers by doing what we know them to be good at?  I can think of two, one more recent, the other some years ago:  singer/songwriter Warren Zevon, best known for "Werewolves of London," died a few years ago from lung cancer (ironically, he had quit smoking years before and his former habit and his fatal disease were a coincidence) but not before he recorded a final album, weak voice and all.  And John Wayne, the Duke and one of my all-time favorite actors, made "The Shootist," a turn of the century Western about a terminally ill gunfighter who prefers to leave this world the only way he knows.

Back to Bowie---I would not characterize myself as a fan, though I did own one of his albums back in the 80s.  Still, some of his music is pretty memorable.  All day yesterday I found myself subconciously hearing "Under Pressure," the anthem he recorded with Queen.  That's a great song, despite what Vanilla Ice did with the rhythm track!

Finally, after a couple of fits and starts, and a spate of early winter warmth, it looks like Kentucky has finally entered winter.  A dusting of snow greeted us yesterday morning, and we're due for an inch or more today.  Fun while it lasted.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Back to the usual

Well, friends, the holidays are over.  We put away our Christmas decorations over the weekend, and now everyone in the family is back to work and school.  Sigh.....

But it's a new year, and with it comes some new circumstances.  For instance, here in central Kentucky, we've experienced a lengthy period of unseasonably warm weather.  Last week the temperature dipped to what one would expect for late December, finally, and this morning I awoke to see some snow flurries out our living room window.  Not a lot of snow, of course, but snow nonetheless.  I recall going out for lunch Christmas Eve and trying to decide whether to wear pants or shorts, if that tells you anything.

At least it's not raining.  Our area had more than enough rain during November and December, thank you very much.  We didn't experience any flooding in our area, but I know of areas that did.

So, today we round the corner, turn over a new leaf, start a new chapter, whatever you like.  When New Year's Day falls right before a weekend, as it did this year, it's kind of strange to kick off any new initiatives until the following Monday, and that's today.  I have already outlined my intentions to some degree so won't take up space recapping them here.

The Denver Broncos appeared to have done the same yesterday.  With about five minutes left in the third quarter of their regular season finale against the San Diego Chargers (who may well be playing in Los Angeles next season), their leadership decided that aging Peyton Manning was, after all, the right quarterback to lead the team.  The Chargers were stubbornly ahead in this game and the Broncos had a lot riding on the outcome.  Manning entered the game and engineered four scoring drives (not all with passes, mind you, but the offense clearly played better when he joined the action) and secured a win for the Broncos.  This means that they will have an off week during the first week of the playoffs, but more importantly they will play their next two rounds of the playoffs at home.  Huge advantage, of course, especially with the altitude-related issues that visiting opponent regularly face.

The Kentucky basketball team displayed some altitude of their own Saturday night, dismantling a game group from Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi to the uninitiated) by a score that really did not reflect how one-sided this game is.  The Kentucky group just emerged from an annual event called "Camp Cal," in which head coach John Calipari takes full advantage of the lifted restrictions on practice time between semesters.  The team was apparently practicing as often as three times per day during the past week or more, and it really showed.  Hope they can keep it up.

The presidential campaign continues to get nastier, but I won't go into that here.  But it promises to get worse, unfortunately.

Oh, and my wife and I saw the new "Star Wars" movie with our son and his kids and a visiting nephew.  Good stuff, lots of fun, and very entertaining.  We also bought and watched "The Martian," wherein astronaut/scientist Matt Damon is accidentally stranded on Mars.  That was also quite entertaining!

Well, since I'm back to work this morning, I suppose I should get BACK TO WORK.

Have a good week.




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