Friday, January 23, 2015

The NFL does racing & other country stories

Ramblings Post #281
In the movie The Big Year, there is a moment when one of the protagonists meets the theoretical villain of the piece, only to find out that while he formidable, he's also honest. When asked about it he goes "Nobody wants to be known as the cheater back at the clubhouse." It's an interesting take on life, a true bit of character,  that makes him a little more human, even as he does less than nice things. If only life were like that.   

Is Tom Brady a country boy? Did he grow up on NASCAR? Because there is an old saying in the racing game, “that if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”  That 11 of the 12 balls were under-inflated isn't coincidence, it's a scheme. Anyone who plays a sport knows that any sport worth playing is worth winning, and a little cheating is expected.  But there is a limit to what is acceptable cheating, a nudge and wink here or there, and just poor sportsmanship. And I think Brady crossed the line.

I say Brady because Belichick strikes me as a brighter guy than that. I combine that fact with other pro quarterbacks saying it would have helped tremendously with his game, and that they've known it to have been done before, to form my opinion. I mean, Nike once sent Tiger Woods golf balls, and he sent them back indicating which ones were off weight by feel of the ball on the club alone. That Tom Brady, a man who has played quarterback man and boy for more than 20 years wouldn’t have realized that his primary tool felt “off” stretches the limits of believability. The guy who intercepted the ball and held it for less than 30 seconds could tell it was deflated.

Think about it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't like the Patriots since the spying on the other team thing from way back, so there maybe so ire here. I mean, I admire the Jaguars more at this point, at least I'm sure that they come by their victories honestly. It's a way of looking at the world I guess. I read the ESPN poll where pretty much half the country doesn't think it's a big deal, which says a lot. They're supposed to be the Patriots, the closest thing we have to a dynasty in football right now. That people are okay with the successful getting away with bending the rules is just... well, I'm at a loss for words. 

To me this begs the question: How many other times have they not played by the rules, and just not been caught?

Barkeep. A lime rickey. Yes, seriously. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

And Football Season is over

Ramblings Post #280
This where the pithy comment, the wise word, the something to be said before something to said is usually written. Whatever. 


It was a good season. Got off the 8-8 merry go round. Second round of the playoffs. Good play all around, defense stepped up.

But if you have the ball in your hands and take three steps, how is that not a catch?

Kudos to MY Cowboys. We'll be back next year. And next year we'll be even better. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Stuart Scott. Icon.

As a grown man, shedding tears is something that is frowned upon. You get a few passes, a few excuses, all of them linked to someone's passing. And yet this morning when I watched the tribute to Stuart Scott, a person who I only watched on television and never met, it was with more than a respectful understanding that life is unpredictable and the sadness that accompanies that. I shed a tear. To me, Stuart Scott was as much a part of ESPN as the logo and the music. I watched the NFL countdown crew say a few words, the words very emotional for a few people. I watched the games and the short kind words of each broadcast crew. And I thought I was good. But then as I listened to Rich Eisen of the NFL network imitate the man's style while going through the Bengals-Colts highlights, I couldn't help but smile, and shed another tear.

Stuart Scott didn't die. Stuart Scott lived.

Oh my brother, you were as cool as the other side of the pillow. And you shall be missed. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The NEW National Championship

Ramblings Post #279
Some things always work. Basic stuff, like gravity, something hot buring you if you touch it, everything you've never tasted before tasting like chicken and that the really attractive girl has a boyfriend. Never fails. And in the south, sports work a certain way as well. And then they didn't. So I'm confused.


I would be broke right now. Like, right now.

Because if you had told me that a third string quarterback in his second or third start would lead a team that would beat Alabama, even in a scrimmage, I would have bet everything I own against it. Everything. House, car, 401k, comic books, and I just realized I don't own much else. Wow. But I'm not alone if the guys in the barbershop are any indication. To someone steeped in the dominance of Bible Belt football the very idea of Alabama losing in this situation doesn't make any sense. It tilts the universe just a little bit.

An Oregon v. Ohio State championship invalidates the entire idea of the BCS. Under the old system, neither team would have even been considered. It would a been a game between what we all assumed was the best team in college football against what we assumed was the second best. This is why I've preferred the NFL over college, in that it's selection of champions is much more rigorous, it's scheduling much less biased in filling the stands with victories over creme-puff foes. What happened to the Cardinals in the Wild Card round was what was supposed to happen to Ohio State. A third stringer against starters is supposed to do poorly. Get beat down. Worn out. That's why he's third string.

This upsetting of the apple cart, coupled with the highest rating for the bowls ever, means that not only is the BCS dead, even the wistful nostalgia for it just got kicked in the teeth. One almost wonders if TCU's whipping of Ole Miss can start the conversation for an even larger playoff bracket. I realize this means the end of a lot of fan started opinion arguments nationwide, but I think the country will survive. Heck, this year, I might even watch the game.

Barkeep, I need to order a pilsner of the Sweetwater 420, twenty buffalo wings with fries, a roast beef dip, and I'll need to reserve the end stall in your lavatory. Not going anywhere for a while.   

Thursday, January 1, 2015

What I learned in 2014

It is my opinion that we should all start change on our own schedule, not the one imposed upon us by random chance or the roll of the dice. Some things we can't control, and there will be some hard moments. But those things we can control, those we need to take a firm grasp upon and bend to our will. When I went back to school at the age when some of my contemporaries were trying to figure out how to send their progeny for the first time, I started a process of change. It's hasn't been a bed of roses, but now on the far side the daylight looks brighter than the sunshine I left behind.

Last year I begged you to go do something, so let me tell you what I did. I went out and
passed the Georgia bar. I started a book. (Okay, another book... seriously, I'm gonna finish one of these I swear. ) Went to a restaurant I read about. Upgraded some gear. Turned on the step counter on my phone. Saw someone I care a lot about that hadn't seen in a few years and had a good meal. I did a few things. Some small, some large. But it's not enough. Or rather, just doing a few things and stopping isn't enough. Small victories count to, and add up. It's about the accomplishment. Getting in the habit.

This year, like last, I ask you do something. Even if it feels unrelated to your ultimate goal. This is the
getting ready, the getting your mind right part of the success equation. Getting used to doing things. So do something. Read a book by a new author. Read a classic book. Cook something you've never tried. Take an spin class. Take a dance class. Go to a community meeting. Visit a museum. Eat only veggies for a week. Start saving for your dream trip. Start a workout program. Try a new style. Mix it up. Because far too often we get stuck in our comfort zone, not realizing that there is an even more comfortable spot just over the horizon. Don't just have a life, go live your life.

Remember what I said last year "It won't be easy. Change never is. And what you choose might not even be worth it. But it will be something, and if you start with something, then getting your thing just becomes a matter of redirecting your focus."

What did I learn in 2014?

All of reality is interpretation, just because it's your interpretation doesn't make it the definitive truth.

A job is great, but a job is not just a job.

I am in a desperate tortured love affair with sugar, and we need to break up.

Just because it's what I want doesn't mean that it's the best possible option.

Natural light can change your attitude about the world.

It need not be perfect, just take the shot and see what happens.

Conversations with myself need to be longer or shorter. The current length is unacceptable.

Comfort food doesn't take away the problem. Except bacon. This does not apply to bacon.

Try not to be just a supporting character in the story of your own life. 

Hanging on by the skin of your teeth is still hanging on.

Wisdom comes from experience, not age. Try to listen to people who've been where you are.

The things I treasure in life - love and affection - can't be earned.

Nothing motivates like ending up doing something you've got no business doing.

Family is family. Always respect that.

Use the stuff you were saving for a special occasion. Make the occasion, don't wait for it.

Life would be so much simpler if we all knew each others definition of love.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekend Recap

Ramblings Post #278
In respecting our elders, we listen to their stories and learn about a past that we have not been privy to, but whose existence shaped our lives. No, I'm not talking about real relevant history - civil rights marches and life in the long long ago, I'm talking about them "back in the day" stories where things got a little out of control and if the fence had been two inches higher you might not be here. And I recently realized I'm now telling those stories. 

Although I was figuring I would be home all weekend, people kept hitting me up screaming I need to roll out. So I put on my good shoes - the knit fabric ones with the slippery bottoms - and my going out uniform, the black mock turtleneck and suit jacket - and headed out. Thus, these occurred...

#1 - I went to a Christmas party, which now that I say it out loud is kinda sad. This shouldn't qualify as an announcement. I used to go to lots of Christmas parties, but I've been out of circulation for a minute and so my invite list is shorter than it used to be. Still, I saw some folks I haven't seen a minute and touched a few hands I needed to touch. I've begun my social life recovery may be a better way to put it.

#2 - The Cowboys win, and finally, it's not a win or go home situation at the end of the season. It's been a long hard road, many years of frustration, teeth gnashing and howls of disappointment. But even now, I can't really rest easy, because to get the monkey off our back the 'Boys need to win at least one playoff game. As it is, we can still win a bye for the first round, which is like an automatic playoff win. Whatever, I'm just glad we finally won. And yes, I said we. 

#3 - House parties have gotten smaller since last time I looked. Okay, admittedly, the house parties I used to attend had a few hundred folks, and most of the people didn't have children so the hang out was on maximum, so my opinion might be a little biased. But the house party I attended was in a one bedroom condo, half the size of the living room of my brother's house. Like tiny. Nice though, but tiny. Less than twenty people, five of whom were my group.

#4 - Changing a tire in the rain at three a.m. is just as bad an experience as you might imagine it is. And it wasn't even my tire. I got up out of my bed, drove a few miles and under the lights in a gas station parking lot (at least it wasn't on the side of the road) did a friend a favor because that's what friends do. In theory. I'm fairly certain if I asked for ruling I'd get granted an exception, but whatever.

#5 - Damn Steam sale. I wasn't even going to buy anything, until I clicked through and saw one of the games I've wanted for forever on sale for NINETY percent off! I don't even think the computer I have can play it. Who cares, it was NINETY percent off! I don't have a lot of mad money, but I'll just eat a candy bar for lunch one day next week, that's how cheap it was. Now, if I could just get Steam to sell cars and houses in Atlanta.

Next year, when the cotton is high, the living is easy and I've found a job that let's me use my new degree, I'll complete my transition back to the real world. But until then, I got chickens to pluck. Oh them chickens. I like to think that it won't be long now. I may have force myself to go a few steps further before things get better, but I've come this far so let's just roll the dice.

Barkeep, a tall ice water and lemon. But pour it low, I got a reputation.