New Shoes in the Rain

Friday, May 24, 2013

With pen in hand (sort of)...

Greeetings, all.  Hope everyone will have the chance to enjoy a three-day weekend, as I am.  Or will in about two and a half hours.

Strange week for me next week.  I'm working two days, then starting a ten day vacation for which I am MORE than ready.  My wife and I are driving to Colorado to spend some time with family there.  We'll try to resist stopping to see the "world's largest prairie dog" or visit Colby, Kansas, an "oasis on the plains," as their signage beckons.  Or pay our respects in Russell, Kansas, hometown of former Senator Robert Dole.

No, we're looking forward to getting to and being in Colorado, one of the nicer places I've had the pleasure to visit regularly.  We'll mostly be in the Denver metro area, although there could be some day trips to other areas.  My wife and I have not spent any time discussing or planning, but since we'll have MANY hours in the car on the way there, I think it'll be pretty easy to think about this and decide.

We had a mini-garage sale last weekend.  No, we didn't sell any mini-garages, but we did sell a few things here at the family manse.  Nice to remove some unwanted stuff AND make a little money in the process.  We have thusly inspired our son and his wife, and they're having a real extravaganza tomorrow morning.  Come one, come all.

I think I've mentioned that I like my XM--sorry, it's now SiriusXM--Satellite Radio.  We have it in both cars and I listen online via my computer or iPad when I'm deskbound.  They had some sort of issue with the latest Flash player over the past week are were out of commission for several days.  If anyone from SiriusXM is reading this, I'll accept my prorated refund any time now.

And our local cable company is about to become TimeWarner, having been purchased some months ago.  We even got a "transition kit" in the mail, which means I'll have to change my e-mail address at some point and heaven knows what else.  And since I live in Kentucky, which awards a "franchise" to a single cable operator per geographic area, I'm sure a rate increase will be coming shortly.

Speaking of that, I apparently dialed a long-distance number in error from our home phone about six weeks ago, and hung up as soon as I realized that I had done so.  Now, we haven't used our home phone line for an outbound long distance call in MANY years, so imagine my surprise when our most recent phone bill arrived today.  Bear in mind that this is now the 24th of May, yet this call, which occurred on April 1 (April Fool!) and is just now being billed.  Anyway, the call lasted one minute (minimum billing duration) and was priced at 40 cents.  But in making that single call I incurred another $6.30 in additional charges.  I called AT&T to discuss, and was told that there was nothing they could do, naturally.

But there was something that I could do, so I asked them to cancel their involvement with my local phone service.  Not being able to dial a 1-plus long distance toll call will prevent a recurrence, but, my goodness, after seeing this, no wonder the local phone companies are diversifying into Internet connectivity and cable TV to try to defray all of the money they've lost.  My 80-some-year-old mother-in-law is about the only person I know who uses her home phone exclusively for local and long distance calling.

So I hope you have a great weekend.  Next time you hear from me I will be writing while breathing the crisp Rocky Mountain air!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Last in a series

Good morning, all.  Today's treatise is so named because I have completed what will be my last business-related trip for some time.

Turns out that my frequent travels, necessitated by a number of business circumstances, were a little excessive from a cost standpoint, so I've been asked to curtail my travels.  Also, I was due for a breather week, and the following week is a holiday week, plus we start a vacation later in that week.

So I won't stop being a road warrior, I'll just have company, as my wife and I are traveling by car to Colorado in late May.  We'll spend about a week with our daughter and her family there (a couple of family-related events coming up there) and then we're bringing our granddaughter back with us.  Should be a fun road trip, and we'll get the chance to do some sightseeing and such while we're there!

I imagine that President Obama and many of his key advisors with they were out seeing the sights instead of the headlines that have been common of late.  In my recollection this seems to happen to second-term administrations, but to have so much reported so closely together is a little unusual.  Here's hoping everything is sorted out to the relative satisfaction of all.

If you don't follow baseball, you don't know that my Cincinnati Reds are rolling right now, on a six-game winning streak.  Good pitching will do that, as long as the offense produces enough runs to win, and it is right now.  Keep it up, boys!

Contemplating committing a garage sale tomorrow, or, as a friend of mine often says, opening "Smitty's Bargain Barn" for a time.  I have a golf game scheduled around noon, but there's a neighborhood-wide garage sale tomorrow, and I often like to join in to take advantage of so many potential buyers in the area.  So the Barn may be open for a few hours in the morning.  Will report back on our success, as I'm always supremely confident that these things will go well!

Remember my mention of my Colonel Littleton Saddlebag Briefcase a while back?  I've been happily using it for almost five months now, and on my most recent trip, received three compliments from MEN for the first time.  One was a guy who I literally bumped into in the restroom at the towel dispenser.  He walked over to me in the gate area and asked me a number of questions, which I gladly answered.  Another was the pilot of one of the planes I was aboard, and the other was a total stranger in a gate area.  Strangely, I have yet to see anyone else carrying a bag they obtained from the Colonel!

Summer movies are coming out in pretty good succession now.  Saw "Iron Man 3," liked it, and will see "Star Trek Into Darkness" this weekend, most likely.  Still very eager to see "Man of Steel."

Enough for now.  Don't break anything this weekend.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Just found the perfect job

Friends, I've had an epiphany.

Recently there's been some news about baseball commissioner Bud Selig and how he's going to step down from this position when his current term expires.  And for you non-baseball fans, the baseball commissioner is appointed by the team owners via a committee.  Selig formerly owned the Milwaukee Brewers, so it's not all that surprising that he was chosen in the first place (originally as interim) and has held the position for so many years.

Anyway, some of the articles I've read lately on this subject were speculating on who should replace the Commissioner.  I saw the names of baseball folks like Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa bandied about, and also noted that Sandy Alderson, who was the general manager for a team, then worked in the commissioner's office for a time, and is again the GM for another team, was mentioned prominently.  Sportscaster and baseball purist Bob Costas was also mentioned.  And one of the more surprising names I saw was that of former President George W. Bush, who was the managing partner of the Texas Rangers for several years before entering politics.

But I think I have the perfect candidate to

That's right, I would like to nominate myself to be the next Commissioner of Major League Baseball.  So I respectfully present these qualifications:

I have successful business management experience, giving me the advantage in dealing with labor relations issues that so often come up in MLB.

I have the maturity to make decisions thoughtfully, but the youth to move as quickly as situations allow.

I have fully embraced modern technology, as evidenced by this blog and my other presences online.

I LOVE baseball and would do anything within my power to ensure that it remains the national pastime (sorry, NFL, you're an industry, albeit a very popular one).

I have a great sense of fair play and would deal appropriately with rogue owners like Jeffrey Loria, who has bait-and-switched the baseball fans of south Florida repeatedly by building and selling off successful teams.

So there are some of my credentials.  When the powers that be are ready to start the process, I am, too.  Just like Bud Selig, I'd like to continue living in my home area, but I'll gladly go to New York and spend time in the MLB offices there as frequently as necessary.  Yes, I'd do that for the grand old game.

And I could bore you with a long list of what I would do once I became the Commish, but here's a quick rundown:

No more designated hitter anywhere in baseball.  The pitcher bats.  Period.

MLB TV would no longer black out any games or teams that don't qualify as "out of market."  If that policy weren't in existence, I might have cut off cable by now.

Shorten the calendar of the season slightly by making every team play at least three Sunday doubleheaders.  That way the Fall Classic (also known as the World Series) would be played before Fall is over.

Institute revenue sharing among all teams.  While that may seem a little unfair to the big market teams who can command $200 million or more per season for its TV and radio rights, it would level the playing field for the teams in such places as Cincinnati and Minnesota, where TV rights aren't so outrageously expensive.

That's a good start, I think.  So I hope you support my candidacy for the best job I could ever have!