New Shoes in the Rain

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


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!

Monday, November 25, 2013

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 sort of overdone ominous thing.  Turns out that it's significant of the day when many retailers move "into the black," or profitable performance, for the year.

But if you've noticed, whether on TV, in print or online, Black Friday "deals" and such can be had NOW and I'd bet some sale events after that particular day will be called "Black Friday" events nonetheless.  For my part, there's one item that I want to buy for a family member that is a Black Friday special, and it's a legitimately great deal under the item's regular price.  So imagine my relief when the retailer in question offered to let "select" customers buy it online now, rather than trekking to the store on THAT day.

And one more thing.  That "DAY" starts Thursday night as early as 5:00 PM at some retailers.  Yes, that means that retail clerks, who don't make enough money to begin with, are going to have to give up at least part of their Thanksgiving "holiday" to work.  Dig around online, as I know that I saw a list of the national retailers who are NOT going to open at any time on Thanksgiving Day.  They get first preference.

I also saw a headline online about Kim Kardashian having some sort of online auction and making a big thing of donating some percentage of the proceeds to Philippines typhoon relief.  Um, Kim, why aren't you donating ALL of the proceeds?

And if you've not donated to help those in that calamitous situation, you can even donate to the American Red Cross through Apple's iTunes, quick and painless.

The United States Senate's Democratic caucus went "nuclear" last week and voted to successfully change the filibuster rules that have tied up that body for five years.  About time.

Finally, this is the time of year when I start missing people whom I don't see enough or at all, due to distance and other constraints.  I'll bet that you have someone in your life who fits that description, too.  Make sure to get in touch soon, don't wait, you'll benefit from having done it!

That's enough for now!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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 wasn't heavily affected.

I'm not participating in Movember, where men don't shave to call attention to specific men's health issues.  But I've enjoyed watching the men of the Today Show let their beards grow.  Matt Lauer's looks the best, in my opinion.  I'm sure he and Al Roker are both a little wistful that their facial hair so heavily overpowers their lack of HEAD hair.  Our son usually is a participant in this or Septembeard, which I believe is a little bit similar.  This year his growth was during September.

Listening to Elton John's latest, entitled "The Diving Board," as I write this entry.  Probably among Elton's best in quite some time, and in the same vein as his joint effort with Leon Russell a couple of years ago.  Check it out if you're a fan.  Unless, that is, you don't like "sleepy music," as my granddaughter characterizes nearly anything that isn't very uptempo!

Giving in and going along with the holiday spirit, as my wife and I have already begun to discuss the holiday shopping lists, Christmas card lists (shorter each year, as I've written in the past) and charitable contributions.  The latter has changed a little with the typhoon, but we usually manage to give to a local rescue organization, knowing that the money we contribute stays in our home community.

I just booked a business trip to Philadelphia in early December.  Amazingly, airfares from the Louisville airport, some 70 miles away, were about $400 less expensive than those from my home airport in Lexington or the Cincinnati airport (which is actually in northern Kentucky).  Not sure what they're doing there that the other two airports are not, but my company requires the least expensive airfare, so it's a flight from Louisville again for this trip.

My wife and I will be traveling closer to the holidays, as we're going to be with our daughter and her family in Colorado for Christmas this year.  Always interesting to be in airports that close to a major holiday, and I'm sure that this year will be no exception.

Have to hand it to Kentucky's first-year football coaching staff.  The team is now 2-8 with two games to play, and the players are still playing hard and giving a great effort and the coaches routinely express frustration that this effort isn't paying off with wins.  It's a shame, but they apparently just aren't talented enough to be competitive in many of their games.

Not so for the men's basketball team from Kentucky, off to a pretty good start, despite losing to an older and more experienced Michigan State team last week.  A bunch of freshmen, again, but by the spring they will most likely become a substantial force in college basketball.

Stay out of trouble!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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 with these items, one a product for a tablet computer and the other a larger version of a phone holster I already own.  I recorded my observations, good and not so good, and supplied them to the Colonel's marketing department.  Since the holidays are coming, take an online stroll and visit to see some unique gift items for folks in your life or for yourself!

Speaking of the holidays, my wife and I just spent a little time over the weekend doing a little planning of our shopping for family and friends.  Gotta have a plan, you know.  And, in my case, having a budget is useful, too, although it's kinda hard to stick strictly to it when you're doing for people you love!  But we have some ideas now, and will be doing the shopping thing gradually over the next two or three weeks.

And I'm a little disappointed that the mass retailers can't wait to open their doors for sales and events, so desperate are they to make their sales goals.  Now the biggies are going to open Thansgiving evening at 6:00 or so.  Suppose it's understandable and inevitable, but it still bothers me a bit.

Thanksgiving is coming, too, lest we forget, and already we're seeing signs all over Lexington of hotels and select restaurants that are serving Thanksgiving dinner.  One of the better things we have seen is by an upscale steakhouse group with three locations.  Apparently they're having a "complimentary Thanksgiving dinner" for "those less fortunate" at their main location on Thanksgiving Day.  Wonderful way to give back to the community.

We actually went to volunteer at one of the larger functions of that type one year, and they were so overrun with volunteers that no one knew what we could do to help.  So since then we've contributed financially to a couple of causes that serve our location community, as our dollars are probably more helpful than our time.

Have a good day, and try not to break anything.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

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 injuries to the starters.  Didn't hold my interest at all.

Prechopped frozen onions and green peppers have become a nice go-to for starting a meal at our house.

I just found out that, at my current income level, I make more money than a large percentage of other Americans.  I don't know how that's good news for them OR me.

Did you see the story about the two planes full of skydivers that collided in midair?  Miraculous that no one was seriously injured....

I noticed that Colorado is now going to tax the marijuana that it legalized a while back.  Experts have said for decades that the way to control drugs is to legalize and tax them, removing the criminal element.  I'm not sure if that's so, but I suppose we'll find out something about this as things unfold in that state.

Multiple stores will give me a gift card if I trade in my existing iPad and buy a new one.  If they'll give me 90 cents on the dollar of what I paid, then MAYBE.

The NBA regular season just began.  Yawn.

Kentucky's college basketball team begins its season later this week.  All right!

The Cincinnati Reds made a "qualifying offer" to free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo of $14.1 million dollars.  He apparently has seven days to decide whether to accept.  I guarantee you it wouldn't take me nearly that long.