New Shoes in the Rain

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's gonna be Super

Friends, I write this morning knowing that the latest ice age has not, in fact, descended on our home planet.  Or even my home area.  It was 50 degrees yesterday in central Kentucky, after days and days below freezing.  But that was just a tease, as it's once again very cold today and stands to be the same for the next couple of days.

Thank God the gas company has us on the "budget" plan!

So here's the deal--the Denver Broncos, our family's favorite NFL team (daughter and family live in the Denver area, son was born not far from there, love Peyton Manning and three former University of Kentucky standout players are members of the team), will be taking on the Seattle Seahawks in the Ice, I mean, Super Bowl next Sunday night in New Jersey.  First time that game will have been played outdoors in a northern city.  About time, if you ask me, football is all about bad field conditions and seeing EVERYONE's breath and fans acting like idiots by taking their shirts off in zero degrees, and so on.

Having a little trouble locking in a menu for our at-home tailgating festivities.  After all, Denver's a great town, but it's not really known for any specific type of cuisine (and I don't count "Rocky Mountain oysters" as "cuisine," either).  For the AFC Championship we and our son's crew indulged in as much orange food as we could think of, and may do so again.  Love some ideas if you have any.

We didn't watch the Grammy Awards last night, as I really didn't want to keep saying "Who?" every time a nominee or winner was announced.  I swear, I have really become my father over these last few years, as I am so disconnected from current music, it's not even funny.  I remember being an avid reader of Rolling Stone magazine for YEARS, and now couldn't tell you who anyone in those pages is, unless they do a story about Bruce Springsteen or someone else more mature who's still producing new recordings.

But I saw the digested version online and on the Today Show this morning, and have these comments to offer:

Taylor Swift needs to learn and use a better poker face.  She apparently expected to win one major award and expressed outright shock that she didn't.  Bad form.

Daft Punk is apparently a pair of French performers who never show their faces.  What gives?  Scarring?  Intense ugliness?   Or are they actually someone else and they're assuming some sort of "alter egos" like Batman/Bruce Wayne?

I'm not big on combining geezers and current performers.  For instance, I believe I saw that Blake Shelton, who's big in country music and on "The Voice," performed with Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.  Talk about being out of your element.  If they think they're teaching fans of current music anything by showing the old guard, they're not.

Enough ranting about that.

Kentucky's basketball team won by 25 on Saturday.  I honestly can't tell if they're getting better or not, as the other teams in the Southeastern Conference don't appear to be all that good.  Guess we'll see come tournament time.

The Cincinnati Reds winter caravan rolled into Lexington over the weekend, and my son and I decided not to go this year.  Sick kids, sick son, bad weather and a lack of excitement about who came to represent the team contributed.  I'll be happier seeing the team on the field come April or so.

The cable company gave us two free on-demand movies to use sometime before February.  My wife and I reviewed what was available, and honestly could not find anything we wanted to watch that we didn't already have.  Culture is apparently dead, or at least hiding from us.

Signing off, at least for now.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Greetings, friends, from frigid, showy central Kentucky.  It's 20 degrees here, well below our usual average temp.  And show is normally a paralyzing element here, but, miraculously, the roads are in decent shape just now.  Of course, that can change, as soon as they glaze over.  Which they will.

Congrats to the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks for winning their respective conference championships and qualifying for the Super Bowl in the New Jersey Meadowlands in two weeks.  I'm  betting that this might be Peyton Manning's last game, particularly if he and the Broncos win.  I have rooting interest here, as my daughter and her family live in the Denver area, our son was born in that area, too.  So I'll be pulling for the Denver team.

Speaking of those football games, are you as unimpressed with the whole "sideline reporter" concept as I am?  Honestly, what value do those people bring to the average football broadcast?  I just don't understand the value of having someone "reporting" from the sidelines if they really have nothing useful to add to what the booth announcers are already saying.  Add to that the fact that many of them are women (and men, too) who are not journalists or true reporters, and you get less than useful information.  Enough, already.

I'm in the waiting area of a car dealership, where I'm having my wife's car worked on.  Interesting environment.  There's an elderly man who's friendly but in that way that he won't be quiet.  Talks to everyone who's in proximity.  And he just mentioned he's going into the hospital tomorrow to have some stents placed in his coronary arteries.  Doesn't seem too worried!

Just saw that food prices have risen 3.9% in the past three months.  This is news?

I guess Chris Christie is in a bit of a pickle about now.  Multiple potential scandals brewing simultaneously, and the guy is getting sworn in TODAY for his second term as Governor of New Jersey.  I don't think I'd want to trade places with him.

I was trying to think and I don't believe I've seen any of the movies that are nominated for the Oscar for best picture.  This is not unusual.  Saw the latest installment of "The Hobbit" and liked it quite a lot, and it's nominated for several awards, but none of the big ones.  Always interesting to me that there's a separate portion of the motion picture industry devoted to making films that the critics (and Oscar voters) like, and the majority is devoted to producing popular entertainment that people will go to see.  Hate to say it, but I don't find all that much in either category to like.

Gotta go, the service advisor is coming and he is NOT smiling.....

Monday, January 13, 2014

Not a new year anymore

Well, we're almost at the mid-point of the month of January 2014, so I suppose that it's no longer the "new" year.  I have said that to a few people with whom I hadn't previously communicated, but I guess I should stop now.

The new year generally means the NFL playoffs, to determine who plays in the Super Bowl (which, incidentally, will be played outdoors in the New York area this year).  Four teams are left, and our rooting interest is with the Denver Broncos, as we have family in the Denver area (they're season ticket holders) and I just like Peyton Manning.  The Broncos have to get past the dreaded New England Patriots to reach the big game, so here's hoping that they can do just that next Sunday.  The other teams left are the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers (who represented the NFC last year, losing to Baltimore).  Since Seattle will be the host team, I like their chances.  I have not been in their stadium for a game, but it's apparently the loudest place where pro football is played.

Each year I dig through my archives and watch the Ken Burns miniseries "Baseball," which is a detailed history of the grand old game.  My son gifted me with the DVDs of this masterpiece a couple of Christmases ago, so I now have high-quality versions of the entire set, as previously I had VHS tapes from television broadcasts (and isn't it funny how we all used to watch taped stuff from TV and never think twice about the picture or sound quality?).  My previous job used to present some challenges with this annual ritual, as I generally watch these films while on my treadmill, so couldn't do that away from home.  Now that I don't travel extensively, it's much easier to have a routine for fitness and the entertainment opportunities it provides.  So I'm looking forward to that, as I just started it today.

Looks like Chris Christie still has some 'splainin' to do, as Ricky used to say to Lucy.  I doubt we'll ever know the true motivation of what the pundits are now calling Bridgegate, but his future political aspirations are definitely in the balance.  Don't you imagine that most every Republican who ever THOUGHT about running for President is now thinking about actually doing it?

Watched most of the Golden Globes with my wife last night.  There's a key ingredient to that ceremony that the Oscars are lacking--alcohol.  It's at a hotel ballroom, instead of a big theater, so everyone who wants to drink most definitely can.  We missed some of the early awards being presented, but I believe one or more winners noted their drinking throughout the program.  And how about Emma Thompson, elegant and talented British actress and screenwriter, stepping onto the stage to present an award carrying her painfully high heels and a martini!  I think most every female friend I have concurs that high heels are quite literally a double-edged sword!

It's Monday, and I actually have some work to do, so make it a good week.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The frozen tundra of central Kentucky

Boy, is it cold this morning!  One degree as I write this.  Overnight last night it had to have been a few degrees below zero, and that's not even counting the wind chill.  Wish me luck, as I have a few errands to complete around lunchtime today, and it will most likely still be pretty frigid!

Congratulations to the Florida State Seminoles for winning the final BCS championship of college football last night.  I didn't watch their game with Auburn, because I really had no rooting interest in either team.  And it totally escaped me that a former Kentucky assistant is on Florida State's staff, so he went from a pretty poor football team to the national championship in one year.  Ironic, since Kentucky's current head coach came TO Kentucky from Florida State!

We're exploring the possibility of getting our ductwork cleaned.  We tried this a few years ago, using the company that normally cleans our carpet, as they had branched out into that line of work.  Did it help?  Beats me, I suppose the house seemed a little cleaner, but we could dust three days a week and still have dust on the furniture in the downstairs part of our home.  And this is AFTER having the furnace and blower unit replaced a couple of years ago.  So we're hoping that this will help us get our dust under control once and for all.

Did you hear about film director Michael Bay's tantrum yesterday?  Apparently a television manufacturer had hired him to co-present their new models at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but because the teleprompter didn't work properly, he simply could not go on.  Based on my experience in radio many years ago, Mr. Bay wouldn't have lasted five minutes in small-town radio, back in those days, when something went wrong on a regular basis.  Sometime I'll assemble an entry about my days in broadcasting, which are just as amusing as much of what you'd see on "WKRP in Cincinnati."

Over the holidays I passed the five-month mark in my current job.  After ten years with my last employer, I have to say that I still feel very much like a new guy.  I suppose that will subside over time, but for now, it still feels relatively unfamiliar.

My favorite commercials right now (yes, I generally have a couple of favorites, and it isn't even the Super Bowl yet) are those for the Honda Odyssey (in which the onboard vacuum cleaner is spotlighted in a clever way) and for an online shoe seller called  Very funny commercials for them.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, I'm usually deep into planning cuisine for the big game this time, but I'm just not feeling any inspiration.  The zenith of this was when I attempted to make gumbo and fell well short of a good version of this dish (although I know what I did wrong and will eventually try again).  We've had 'sausages of the world,' overstuffed sandwiches, baked chicken wings, chili, and lots more.  Even tried to make a brisket once, and while what I prepared was fairly tasty, it wasn't what I'm used to when one describes brisket.  So I have some thinking to do.

That's about it for now.  I now have to look for something else to burn to keep the house warm.