Thursday, November 30, 2006

Couldn't resist this on Rummy!

Recently one of my favorite newspaper columnist wrote some parting shots at Donald Rumsfeld, yep that same guy who was the Secretary of Defense. Please understand that before the Dubya was elected and Molly was going at him 24/7 I didn't like her one bit. I was a George W. Bush man and for the life of her she couldn't call my fellow Texan and next President of the USA just, "Dubya." But she did and continued to rag him every chance she got. She was saying he would be the worst president ever, he wasn't capable of leading this nation and would not even come close to the original President Bush. She even said that he was lacking in intelligence and couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. Well I got news for her, she was and is right. So, now after Dubya has worked so hard to lose my trust and admiration for him, plus really not even liking him, I really enjoy her stuff. The problem is that we are stuck with him for the balance of this term. What I wish he would do is take a hike to some deserted island, take Laura, take up drinking again, pull out a Speedo swim suit, practice up on his Bushisms and just forget about leading our great nation. Another member of his cabinet did decide to take the hike, our esteemed, according to him, Secretary of Defense, the Donald Rumsfeld. While I look at the cabinet President Lincoln put together after his was elected and how brilliant they were, I shudder at what we have now. The Dubya has just got to have people around him that are just like him. To prove it, read this Donaldism(he actually said this about the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns): "As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know." On his war in Iraq he had this gem: According to Newsweek, Air Force Secretary Jim Roche went to Runsfeld early on and said, "Don, you do realize that Iraq could be another Vietnam?" Replied Rummy: "Vietnam? You think you have to tell me about Vietnam? Of course it won't be Vietnam. We are going to go in, over-throw Saddam, get out. That's it." Greerman-WOW Rummy what happened? And these are the people leading our nation!!


Monday, November 27, 2006

That other Armstrong

Over the weekend I watched the progress of Shanna Armstrong in the Ultraman Triathlon, Kona, HI. This event was her sixth ultra-endurance race of 2006 and her victory, Sunday, was for the third time in the past four years. The Lubbock, Texas native finished the three-day, 320 mile triathlon(lst day-6.2 mile open water ocean swim, 90 mile bicycle ride, 2nd day-171.4 miles bicycle, 3rd day-52.4 mile run) in 28 hours, 13 minutes, and 11 seconds, picking up her fourth victory of the year in a long-distance athletic endeavor. In mid summer she won the RAAM(Race Across America)women's solo event. Her other events were long distance bicycle races. The win Sunday put her in the record books as the only woman to ever win the Ultra-Man(maybe it should be changed to Ultra-Woman) Triathlon three times. She is believed to be the only the second person, male/female, to win it three times.

We are all proud of Shanna and can remember over 8 years ago when she borrowed our Dave Scott Ironman bicycle to do her first triathlon in Midland, Texas. Funny thing is this was a sprint course(500 yard swim, 12 mile bike, 3.2 mile run) and she still claims she like to have never finished it, and felt like passing out when she crossed the finish. Man has she come a long way and continues to go, and go, and go!! Kind of like that bunny that just keeps going. We hope she takes some time now to rest up and see what unfolds in 2007. I can already bet on this one, since she would be the only person, male/female, to win Ultra-Man four times. Bet she is unpacking the bags getting ready for the next swim, bike, run workout.

Take a rest Shanna, she earned it and deserve it. We are proud of you, congrats from all of West Texas,


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Movie reviews, Black Friday, "Mission Accomplished," Miscellaneous

It is time to hit the movie review thing again, but I have decided to get a little more detailed and scientific with my reviews. I will first give you the local movie review rating scale offered by William Kerns, and then I will offer how my scale works. While I realize Kerns has been at it for a number of years and is paid some reasonably good bucks for what he does, I think he leaves some stuff out that needs to be exposed to the public before they go an buy a ticket. While I have been at it as many years as he has I am not on anyone's payroll, so I can say what I wish or better still how I see it. The "Kerns Scale" is done is typical star rating: *****, Superior, five Star and it can't go any higher, he says, "Not to be missed. Beautifully crafted and award worthy. **** Four star, Excellent, Always a good bet. Extremely enjoyable and worth seeing. *** Three star, Good, Above average fare. Entertaining, but not flawless. ** Two star, Fair, Only a few good moments in a primarily disappointing effort. * One star, Terrible, Lowest rating. Awful! See at your own risk, only the popcorn can save the day. While I don't have a problem with this approach I will give a couple of reviews and show you how mine disagrees with his and you can make your own choice. Examples: "The Prestige", he gave it a four star ****, I gave it a two star **. I agree it was a well done movie, with a great plot with great actors, so what went wrong? Well the way they did the flashbacks it was impossible to figure out which flashback you were in. The great acting and story was flushed with the confusion on how the story was presented. Possibly he is just smarter than me and can figure it all out, but I ask others who saw it and they agreed with me. NaNaNaooooh,Mr. Kerns! "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," Kerns rating One star *, Greer rating, One star *-, really bad one. Kern's says it looks like the actors were even bored with the script. I couldn't agree more, BAD BAD SANTA(not to be confused the Billy Bob's "Bad Santa" of last year). "Man of the Year," Kerns gave it a Two star **, I gave it a **** Four star. Look at the definition above and this movie fits the description, i.e. excellent, always a good bet, extremely enjoyable and worth seeing. This movie fits that description and with the current National political scene it is refreshing and is what we hope could happen, but doesn't. I was for Kinky but knew he really had no chance, even Grandma beat him. But the money machine and party wins, no matter what. "Stranger Than Fiction." Kerns Three and half, ***1/2, I gave it Four stars **** simply because of the uniqueness in the way the story was presented. It was slow taking off but once you got into it, it was very good. Anything Will Ferrell does will put any critic on guard, since his bad is beyond bad, but this offering is beyond good. Now that you see how the system goes for my rating system, here goes for some recent movies I have just seen: "Santa Clause 3," One star * only because it is about ole St. Nick. Terrible movie, especially if you compare it to 1 and 2. "Happy Feet," **** Four stars, while I usually don't go to animated films I decided to do the peepaw thing and take 5 of my grandchildren, my daughter/husband and wife,and it was well done and enjoyable. My money was well spent, final tab was $98.75 for tickets, fresh popcorn, cold drinks, etc. Of course I realize most people don't have that many grandkids, but think about it, there were 8 others spread around the world. So,if they had been here the tab would have been double the above, or maybe they would have given me a volume discount. NOT, they don't do stuff like that. The good news is that there was no cost after the movie and I was destined to eat canned chicken noodle soup, crackers and water after returning to the canyons. Back to the film, this was a real cute film and had a great story. The animation of today is so much better than Daffy Duck of the past! "Casino Royale," Five star *****, has all the ingredients you look for in a movie, except it will not win any awards. This type of movie just doesn't win awards, but still merits five stars. While I am of the belief that Sean Connery is "Bond, James Bond!!" it also is a fact that he is in his mid seventies and just can't jump out of planes, off of cliffs, and into the arms of real beautiful naked women any more. Of course he can do the naked women in a more subtle way, but Bond must do it his way or nothing. This new guy is athletic, has chiseled good looks and body to go with it, acts good, and obviously can take care of the the beautiful "Bond" women in a way that makes them come back for more. The story is typical Ian Flemming. You know the really evil bad guy who either wants to take over the world, or the worlds money, has good looks but also a scared left eye that bleeds real blood when he is stressed, and of course a very good looking wife(a very frustrated wife, that Bond must do his duty to). The good news here is that our new Bond does have some kind of realness to him in that he falls in love(we think), but also gets captured. The bad villain then renders some torture to him that even made me re-adjust my skivies while it was being applied to the Bond body parts. This was unique, imagine a chair with the entire bottom cut out with a totally tied up, naked Bond sitting on it. Your imagination will allow you to see what was hanging below, then the villain takes a huge rope with a knot in the end of it and viciously swings it to hit the vital hang down parts of the body. Yep folks, you are taken to new heights in oriental torture techniques. The movie description says, "intense sequences of violent action, a scene of torture(way understatement), sexual content(Bond always has sexual activity), and nudity. What more could you ask for? But remember, "no bad language!" Typical Bond movie in that he does survive the torture and returns to his action in the bedroom. With the vital body parts that were being tortured I just had to wonder what his performance level was going to be, but from what I gathered in the concluding scenes he was "fine." DISCLAIMER: Let me comment here, my grandkids were not with me at this movie and I don't recommend kids for this movie.

When I saw the term "Black Friday" I thought the worst, new war in the middle east, new war in Korea, new eathquake in Hawaii, more tornadoes in the Midwest, or maybe a new hurricane in New Orleans,Texas Tech's Coach Knight had hit another player, or the Texas Tech football team had lost another game, but lo and behold it referred to a shopping day. The Friday after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday." Guess somewhere down the line of life I have missed that term or just haven't paid attention. Why Black Friday? Here's the story: Historically retailer balance sheets move out of the red(profit loss) to the black(profit gains)as a result of the buying on the day after Thanksgiving. Again, all part of the psychological hype given to holidays to get us to spend, spend, etc. Here are the facts, over 137 million shoppers will hit the stores and spend an average of $302.81, or a total of $27.8 billion was spent in 2005. The final tab for 2006 has not been computed. Just think, in 10 years, using the above total sales, there will not be enough to pay for the deplorable war in Iraq. Whoops, forgot to mention I didn't do my part, since I did no shopping on Black Friday.

When the President of the United States, George W. Bush, declared "Mission Accomplished," referring to the war in Iraq, you just have to wonder what he was smoking or had he gone back to Old Crow. As I watch the slaughter that has gone on between the Shiites and Sunni's since the above statement, I stand all amazed of this terrible war. It may have been bad when Sadaam was in power, but at least there was no civil war and more importantly our citizens were not being killed and maimed. For the prez to be such a Christian and a man of the scriptures, it is amazing that he doesn't read the book of Genesis and see that the war between these people started back "then" and has never stopped. But, let's continue to have our soldiers killed, and crippled, spend billions of dollars, etc., and not accomplish one thing. Go figure!!

Trivia: Historically James Buchanan has always come in last on the Presidents of the United States rankings. With the performance of the current President I bet James is having a great laugh, he will finally move up one notch. The sad part is that Buchanan was the only president who never married(of course there was suspect he was gay, but never proven)so he has no living descendents to really gloat for him. Of course he is known for setting the stage for one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Presidents, Abraham Lincoln. I am currently reading, "Team of Rivals," by Doris Kearns Goodwin, on Lincoln and his rise to the presidency. This is a great book but very detailed and will take until the next century to complete it.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Health thoughts, Groceries again, Celebrity b......t!!

While reading the Lubbock AJ this morning I noticed some "news" that got me to thinking. There was one article about a quintuple transplant procedure in Baltimore, MD, that required 12 surgeons, 6 operating rooms and 5 donors to pull it off. Can you imagine the cost to do such a thing? It didn't mention that tidbit in the article. In addition to the cost of doing this the bad news is that it obviously required 5 dead people acting as donors. The good news is that 5 desperate strangers received new organs in what hospital officials described as the first-ever quintuple kidney transplant. From the greerman-are the costs of something like this worth it? Are the new recipients worth the cost and will they maintain a healthy lifestyle now since getting a new lease on life? From what I have seen in the general public is they will probably go back to the same old bad habits that got them in bad health. I see it everyday, people have a heart condition, go in get bypass corrective surgery, come out eat bad, drink bad, smoke a lot, no exercise, etc. Then they have trouble again, duh!!, and go back in to be repaired again. It should be a requirement that if the recipients don't agree to practice good health and then actually do it, in 12 months from the time of the transplant, the millionaire surgeons will go back in and take out the transplanted organ and give it to someone else. My contention is we should spend more time preventing bad health than spending time and money on putting band aide repairs on bad health. We should take charge of our own bodies and not let anyone "practice" on us. Afterall that is what doctors do, they have a "medical practice." To me that means they experiment till they get some form of fix, spread all kinds of sorry synthetic drugs on it, get you addicted and then you are their slave for the rest of your life. So, I commend the 5 deceased people who helped the 5 recipients stay alive, I just hope they take advantage of this new lease on life. As for as the surgeons go, they will continue to make their millions, have their big homes, have their sports cars and remain God like. But, I don't blame them since it is the stupid public who has made them Gods, and they have accepted this stature.

In the orbits today I noticed that James "Rooster" Lamar Cogburn and Elphia Imogene "Jean" Jeffcoat Cogburn, both of Lubbock passed away on the same day, November 19th. While the orbit was quite thorough, it didn't mention how they happened to go into the next phase of life together. They were married 42 years.

When I thought I had it made on the grocery shopping thing I was handed a new list this morning. Seems as though some of the items needed for Turkey day were not put on my list of yesterday. So, here I go again and I am sure another story will surface. I notice the list has some stuff on it that will be hard to find, i.e., french fried onion rings in a can, or marshmellows(large or small?). I am prepared for the challenge and I am determined to just ask, "where the hell are the french fried canned onion rings?" Buffman & Squeaky will be happy campers since the list calls for "dog food" and "dog biscuits." Buffman gave me the cold shoulder this morning during newspaper time and I think it was because we ran out of dog biscuits and he knows I am the grocery shopper. Squeaky just did her usual, high squeak(that is where she got her name)and ignored me to. But, I will gain their attention when they are invited to go to the airport to pick up Jessica. They will be jumping up and down, sticking their nose to the door ready to go. Buffman remembers Jessica since she helped train him on going to the bathroom outdoors instead of on the carpet. It will be a good reunion for those two. Squeaky will not feel left out since she has a way of gaining attention no matter what, actually she demands it!!

Celebrities amaze me, they spend all there time becoming famous, then when they are famous and are showed attention, they do everything they can to prevent their fans from seeing them or being close to them. The big story of the week was the marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and before that was the love story and romance of the two. Now they have decided to get married, and have by now, in Italy, but they don't want anyone to see them. The Italians are furious since they want to galk at them and TomKat(nicknames) refuse to be photographed. Now the other crowning blow to all is this one of the "guests" listed for the wedding was their 7 month old daughter, Suri. Guess I am old fashioned, but it use to be you got married and then had children. Now it seems just the opposite among the celebrities of the world and then to think, this child is a "guest" at the wedding of its' parents. Something is wrong with this scene!! The other big story is is the divorce of Britney Spears, well in my opinion who the hell cares?? But you know someone does or they wouldn't be the headlines of every cheap rag that is on the grocery store racks. When you stand in line to be checked out of the grocery store they put these rags just in the right place so you are tempted to buy one. This makes me want to create an association that helps people resist buying this trash. We have organizations for the prevention of every thing else why not this? It could be "Association to Prevent Buying Trash Magazines" or ATOPBTMAGS, I can see the T-shirt now.

Off to the airport and to buy some groceries,


Monday, November 20, 2006

Grocery shopping, again! Clearwater question, Presidents trivia

Wouldn't you know it, there is another holiday coming up in a few days and guess what? We need some groceries to get us through the celebration. Thanksgiving and Christmas have been labeled by some, as the one or two times a year people who don't like each other get together. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, and I guess depends on the families involved. Regardless of the motives to get together it is a fact that people use it as an excuse to eat, and eat. So, that involves going to the grocery store to buy and buy!! It was my thinking that going on Monday would miss the crowds that will be going on Tuesday and Wednesday, therefore making my shopping life a little bit easier. WRONG!! Everyone else thought the same thing plus it appeared to be the same crowd that was there for Halloween. What was encouraging was I had a short list and it was not complicated, but as I progressed to the last items on the list I got stumped. Of all things I could not find the canned cranberry sauce and turkey without cranberry sauce is like chips without salsa. Yea, I know about the real cranberries and not that sliced stuff in the can? Well, finding the can was presenting enough problems and I imagine the real thing would be more of a challenge or next to impossible to find, besides my list called for "canned cranberry" not the real thing. I had ask one of the employees where it was and he shrugged his shoulders and pointed, "just around the corner on the next aisle, just down a little bit." Following instructions to the T I went where he said to go and I'll be damn if the canned cranberry didn't become invisible, since I couldn't see it. Now I had to take drastic action since I couldn't go back to this guy again. He would think I was totally stupid and would probably ask, "who let you out of the looney bin to come and shop?" I did the next best thing, as a lady I had never seen before in my life started to pass my basket I reached out and grabbed her basket and said, "if you don't tell me where the can cranberry sauce is I will not let you pass me!" Well you can imagine the look on her face and wondering who this goof ball is. I even had my Ironman jacket on, hoping that would kind of snow her a little bit but to no avail she said, "hey buster I don't know where it is but I am sure it is in the store somewhere, and let go of my basket NOW!!" And all this time I thought West Texas people were so easy going and nice. Then I had to go back to the original guy and I said, "dude, someone painted the can cranberries invisible, HELP!!!" He then walked me right up them, pointed straight downward(they were on the bottom shelf) and said, "how many do you want?" At the same time the woman that I had taken hostage of her basket was standing on the other side of the aisle and she says, "there is the canned cranberry." I said, "thanks but where were you when I really needed you?" Bottom line is I got my canned cranberry, but I ask the simple question, "for thanksgiving shoppers couldn't they put some kind of bright lights up or something and not put them on the bottom shelves?" I am sure that this product only sells two times a year and it makes turkey eating great, so move it where we can see it or maybe move it closer to the turkeys. In grocery shopping I have found that people are really committed and seem to be in never never land most of the time, almost to the point of being kind of weird(re-read my above story again if you don't believe me). I had found the canned sweet potatoes without incident and I was feeling very good about myself, especially since the list called for two LARGE cans. What I didn't realize is that there are three size cans available, yep, small, medium, and large. So, I took my two LARGE cans placed them in the cart(near the rear, important fact to know as you read further)and moved on down to look for the walnuts and white bread(yea, I know it is not healthy but that is what the list called for). As I was picking up the walnuts I walked back to my cart and noticed the two cans of sweet potatoes were now SMALL, not LARGE as I had picked up. I then proceed to pick up the two small cans and look them over in amazement of how they shrunk. As I studied MY two cans a very nice elderly couple(I am sure they are older than me, since they had gray hair)looked at me like I had lost it. The gentlemen very meekly said, "this is our basket, can I do something for you?" Well, hell yes you can, "where are my two large cans of sweet potatoes?" Of course I didn't say that, I just looked at the rest of their cart and looked down the aisle and found my cart and this nonsense was over. I also commented, I didn't know that grocery shopping can make you kind of crazy!! Everyone around me agreed and I went to checkout. Yep, I found everything, yep, I want plastic, yep, I have had a good day, yep, I have done the Ironman Triathlon(remember I had my jacket on) and yep, I am ready for Thanksgiving, that time of year we are around the people we love but don't always like!!

The scary part about this blog site is that I have had nearly 40,000 hits over the past 12 months, while I didn't think I had but a few loyal readers. Well after my Clearwater 70.3 race report I got a call from a very important kind of guy. This guy is a diplomat for the United States of America and he actually reads my site. He even calls my cell phone and says,"just read your report on the Clearwater thing about your unfortunate accident you had before the swim start and I feel you left something out." He continued, "just out of curiosity, how did you get all that mess cleaned up?" Well this kind of took me by surprise and now I am wondering, what kind of people read this stuff and take the time to call? Confession time, I helped raise 4 babies(all grown and real gone now) and I was not like some men I know of, I changed diapers quite frequently. It really doesn't take a lot of skill but it does take some patience and ability to overcome that ungodly odor! Notwithstanding the fact that in those days we had to wash them, fold them, and pin them without sticking the little baby. So, it took a real man to do it right. I am very proud to say I did it, so I was experienced in cleaning up poop. I even remember our first born, a handsome, strapping boy with beautiful blonde hair who use to lay some magical eggs for me to take care of. On top of the regular going in the britches he also had to drink soy bean juice instead of milk, because of an allergy, so he was even more prone to leave me with some real cleanup work to do. The good news is that I took care of the cleaning with what I had to work with in a porta john, any more detail than that is not necessary. Oopps!!! I forgot to mention, that call from the USA Embassy in Germany was from my son, who is serving as a Diplomat for the United States of America. He says that he hates soy beans for some reason!! Keep up the good work cleaning up the messes of the Bushman and Rummey, we are proud of your service in the military and for the US of A.

Presidents trivia answers: 1. Abraham Lincoln, 2. John Adams, 3. James Buchanan, 4. Thomas Jefferson, 5. Ulysses S. Grant

Movie revue: "A Good Year", Russell Crowe, ****, probably a five star to some, but left some vital information out of the story that most people would want to know. But, story very good, acting very good, supporting acting very good, scenery very good. Well worth a full admission. Some Californians might disagree!!


Friday, November 17, 2006

Clearwater, FL 70.3, Movie revue, Presidents stuff, Grocery shopping

We returned Monday(13th) from the very first Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, FL. Wow, for the first time ever event, this was quite a show. When the trademarked term 70.3 replaced the Half Ironman term there were many naysayers who thought it would never catch on. But, the opposite is the case and it did catch on. There is something about our American mentality and people who do triathlons, that they don't like to be called "half" of something. Yep, I am "half ironman", no, sorry this doesn't fit in our society. You have got to be a whole man/woman or nothing. So, why not be a whole 70.3 competitor of the sport. This distance represents half of the ironman distance and makes you a complete person. Get it!! At any rate I was eager to hear Mike Riley say, "you are a 70.3 when I crossed the finish line!!" Of course by the time I finished they were debating on whether or not to charge me another entry fee for next years race. But, wait a minute I have a story for my slow, late, disgusting finish. The early morning trek to the transition area on race morning was innocent enough and everything seemed fine, then right before the swim start I felt that last minute urge to visit the porta potty; however, I was standing on the edge of the water, trapped in my wetsuit, waiting for the gun to go off. While I knew I had a major problem, there was nothing I could do about it but go with the gun and hope for the best. Well the best I could do was relieve myself, in my wetsuit(disgusting) in the first 100 yards of the swim, then hope that I could squinch the rest of the way. But, I still had over 2000 yards of ocean swimming to go so I knew I was in for a challenge. Then as I made the turnaround and was half done, my potty problem became history, now I developed a breathing problem. Kind of like asthma and another first for me. Now I had mess in my britches, was in an ocean swim, had lady swimmers all around me, and I couldn't breath. Not a healthy combination at all. So, I took a rest on one of the buoys/surf boards(legal to do if you don't advance your position, which I didn't since I couldn't advance anything at this point). The lifeguard ask if I was okay and I was able to say, "hell no I'm not okay or I would be swimming!" He was fine with my answer since he realized my frustration. This was my 292nd triathlon and I didn't want it to end with my wetsuit full of poop and not being able to breath(could that possibly have any correlation?)I took about 7 minutes to get my breath and while I was holding on to the surf board Marti came swimming by and actually ran into the board. How in the hell something like that can happen only God knows. Here we were with 1300 hundred other athletes, me hanging on for dear life and she runs into my board(real swimmers have a tendency to just swim and be damn everything else, just their way!). She looks up and says, "what is wrong, or you okay?" Same reply "hell no I'm not okay, but keep swimming and do your race, I will get there(I didn't take the time to go into all the poop details)." She took my advice and kept swimming. After gathering my breath and feeling like I could continue I set out to swim on in. Everything was fine for about 300 yards, then it hit again. Now there were women all around me, resembling barracudas, snarling, biting, scratching, hitting, yelling get out of our way. So, I literally fought my way over to another buoy/surf board and ask to rest again until I could breath. The guy said no problem take as long as you like and you only have 500 yards to go(seemed like 500 miles to me). I took another 5 or 7 minutes then struggled in. It amazes me when you come into the finish of the swim and everyone says, "looking good!" Looking good hell, I just pooped in my britches, have breathing problems in an ocean swim, was kicked and abused by 500 women and I'm looking good? Don't thank so, but I did say, "thank you!" Now to transition to the 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run and the day would be over. So, for the next six and half hours that is what I did. After the swim it seemed like I was on vacation and the day went smooth from there. Since I was so far behind the other athletes, there were only 5 bicycles left in the transition area when I started the bike, I had the course to myself. I rode as hard as I could, enjoyed the few people who were back there with me and then had lots of fun on the run, getting to know the volunteers and enjoyed the pretzels. The good news is I finished number 292nd on the same day I started and I did the very first 70.3 World Championship. I commend the staff of WTC and their volunteers for a great event and wish to thank Ben Fertic, President of WTC, for being at the finish line and shaking my hand. Even though I have proclaimed over the years that I am not a triathlete but simply an athlete doing triathlons, I am always treated just like all the triathletes in the sport. That is why I love this sport, there is no prejudice against you for age or ability. Got to love it!!

Movie revue: "Stranger Than Fiction"*****While our local critic gave it a ***1/2 rating I have to disagree and have marked it up to five. The reason being is that it has such an original and innovative way of delivering the message of the story. Since Will Ferrell is the lead actor you have a tendency to expect some of his typically bad stuff, but this guy is really a good actor. Dustin Hoffman does a great job in a support role. Warning, be real patient in the beginning of the film since it has a tendency to drag a little, plus you expect Ferrell to take it to never never land. But, then the story really starts to pick up and develop. Of course there is some boy/girl stuff that adds to the film, but is done is good taste. Nothing offensive here at all and fits real well with the story. Great ending also!!

American Presidents trivia: What some presidents said about themselves, guess who the president is. They will be revealed on the next post, let's see how well you know the presidents. On my last quiz posted on AOL comparing the two Bush(league) presidents I actually scored a 100. But, the answers were evident since it had to do with performance comparisons of the two while in office, need I say more. Which president said this about himself? 1. What homely president was accused of being two-faced and replied, "If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one"?, 2. What chubby man admitted, "There are few people in the world with whom I can converse." 3. What one term president predicted(incorrectly) that "history will vindicate my memory." 4. What quiet man claimed that "Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight." 5. What military man said, "The truth is, I am more a farmer than a soldier. I never went into the army without regret and never retired without pleasure."

While I thought I was getting this grocery shopping think down to a science I got stumped by a product called, "soft scrub with bleach." After going up aisle after aisle I finally had to ask, "where is the soft scrub with bleach?" Well now I am not feeling too bad since this full time employee couldn't find it either. Of course he did finally locate it and I was out of there. Things like this amaze me since they just don't seem to be in the correct place. For example, the olives are a mystery to me. I found these Llano Estacado jalapeno stuffed olives, by accident, on my last trip and have enjoyed them very much. So, I go back to the olive section to get some more but find that they are really not in the olive section. This kind of ticked me off so I just didn't ask and left without them. But, when I got home I noticed I only have two left wich will require me to inquire, "where the hell are the Llano Estacado olives?" Afterall Kinky said, why vote for me is not the question or answer, the answer is "why the hell not?" So I guess I can ask in the same manner. Of course he lost the election but made a strong show and will sell lots of books.

Off to do a legal mediation and do some swimming!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Texas Tech football, Secrets of being 90 years old, Movies to forget

For the most part I am not a devoted fan of football, even though I have a love for the game. Generally the difference between loving the game and being a fan is totally different, in my opinion. The purveyor and lover of the sport is one that generally knows something about the game and understands the x's and o's. While on the other hand the fan has probably never played the game, has no real clue what it means to develop the play calling series, or what the lead blocker is, or why T.O. is such a bad influence on any "team." They just see his theatrics and think it is good football, NOT!! Now I know this doesn't seem to make any sense at this point but I believe as you read along you will get the point. It came as a surprise to me that I agreed to attend the Texas Tech-Baylor football game last Saturday, since I had a long bike ride planned and it was a beautiful day in West Texas. But, alas, my long time friend of 40 years called with one extra ticket and invited me to fill that empty seat, along with 50,000 others. It should be pointed out that this friend is not just an "ordinary" friend, he knows football and played the game. My calculations revealed that between us we had played the game a total of 24 years counting from grade school on to college and some Army football. So, here we are sitting side by side expounding on all our knowledge and watching Coach Leach whip up on the Baylor Bears. As we watched and commented to each other on the game and how it was being played I decided that Coach Leach didn't have a chance with these two know it alls. We determined that Leach was without a doubt the best average 8 wins per year $1.5 million coach in college football. In 2009 he will be making $2 million, so then he will be the most overpaid, average 8 wins per season coach in college football. Back to my story, ole Higgins(Hig to his friends), and I sat there patiently watching the Raiders get beat by an average team and then all of a sudden wake up and enjoy their talent and move ahead. Hig and I watch the game by not watching the ball, but by watching the plays develop from the middle of the action. By watching the ball, as most fans do,you miss the blocking patterns, the reactions of the linebackers keying off of the lineman, the holes opening up for the running back, the defensive backs keying off of the receivers, the receivers running their patterns, and then the quarterback either handing off to the running back or throwing the pass down field, or across the middle on the down and in slant or down and out(Tech runs this pass pattern probably as good as anyone I have ever seen, it is their thing for getting key short gain yardage. Since the days of the 3 downs and a cloud of dust days are over(meaning the main focus is on running the football to gain yardage and touchdowns)and the wide open "West Coast"(could be called West Texas now)passing game is the thing, Hig pointed out that Tech had only run the ball one time in the first quarter of play and had thrown nine straight passes. Since it did result in a touchdown all was well. The other thing we noted about this passing game stuff is that the games last much longer, of course this was a televised game so they also take longer for the fans in the stands. You might as well forget the late afternoon bicycle ride you had planned because this dude of a ball game is going to take all of the afternoon up. As it appeared that Tech would win, with a 52-21 lead with a little over 8 minutes to go, Hig suggested we go stand in the end zone and watch the game from there. His purpose for suggesting this was twofold, we could get a jump on the crowd at the exits, but also we could watch from the end zone and see the plays develop from a perspective that is not possible from the side line angle. I must add that the running football team is much more fun to watch from the end zone than the passing team. In the running game the lineman are fun to watch as they come off the line to block the defensive giants, then the running back takes the ball and works his way through the hole created by these lineman. In the case of a counter or trap play you see the guards pull to the right or left and put the crunching block on the defensive tackle or middle guard while the lead blocking back takes out the linebackers. A good running back will then put his moves on the defensive back and make the score. That is of course the best case scenario and is fun to watch from the end zone. In the case of the passing team it is just the sight of seeing the lineman go to their stand up, stooped over pass block position with the wide out receivers doing their thing and the quarterback lobbing the ball over to them, ho hum, yawn, etc. Darrell Royal, one of the great college coaches one said there are three things that can happen to the forward pass and two of them are bad. I know he has got to be shaking his head with what is going on now in college football. Bottom line here is that Hig and I had a great day of analyzing, theorizing, and offering opinions that absolutely no one else in the stadium gave a damn about. But, who cares we paid for our tickets(actually Hig did)and we can offer what ever opinions we want. Tech went on to win by 55-21, while scoring a field goal in the last 2 minutes. One thing about Leach is that he never lets up, if he can win by 100 points, call a time out with 2 seconds left so he can score again he will. I don't have a problem with that actually since that is what it is all about, winning and winning big. While Tech's record is now 6-4 they are considered bowl eligible with two games to play. They will play Oklahoma Sooners this weekend and will lose and then Oklahoma State Cowboys the concluding week of the season and may win, so that will give them a 7-5 season and they will be invited to the Insignificant Bowl or Toilet Bowl or if they are real lucky they will get to play in that beautiful city of Shreveport, LA in the Independence Bowl. Hey dude, get on down to the ticket counter right now, they may sell out.

During my college days I enrolled in ROTC(Reserve Officers Training Corps) and when I did this I really didn't know what I was getting into. But, as I progressed over the 4 year program I figured out I would graduate from college and ROTC as a commissioned officer in the US Army. This meant I would not get drafted(the old days, remember when you could get drafted and be a private in the Army making $77.00 per month)and would serve as an officer and a gentleman, by act of Congress. Since I was an athlete it seemed to be a double edge sword to me, be macho in football/track, be macho in the military. There were very few double teamers and it gave me the chance to be with people other than athletes, or military people. It is what I defined as cross culturing(a term I still use, i.e. triathloning, bowling, golf, Hog riding, writing, selling, business ownership, etc.). Well during these ROTC days at UT-Arlington I had a professor of military science that I will never forget. He was a great teacher and became one of my heroes. He took particular interest in me and even encouraged me to pursue the US Army Pentathlon team with the ultimate goal of making the Olympic team. I was flattered that he would think this highly of my athletic ability but I just never convinced myself I could do all those events on such a high level of expertise. The funny thing is now after all these years I have determined that if I had the same mind set back then(42 years ago) I have today I may have taken him up on the challenge. Oh woe is me, moving out of comfort zones takes time and maturity. Botton line is that I got my degree, received my commission and went on to serve 24.5 years total service with a nice retirement as a Lt. Colonel. So, Colonel George McDowell was a great teacher and mentor to me and I truly thank him. Recently he was interviewed in the UT-Arlington Newspaper and was ask, "what is the secret of getting to be 90 years old?" His reply: 1. Stay mentally challenged every day with tangible results. 2. After age 70, associate with only younger people. 3. Discard that rocking chair idea of retirement and stay active-walk-exercise. 4. Get seven hours sleep minimum each night. 5. Take a 45-minute nap every afternoon. 6. After that nap, have a good bourbon Old Fashioned before dinner. 7. On leaving the doctor's office if he does not shout "whatever you are doing keep doing it," get a new doctor and second opinion. Follow these rules and your chances will be greatly enhanced. From the Greerman, how lucky I am to have had such great teachers and influences on my life. RE-READ THE ABOVE SEVEN POINTS, THEY ARE GREAT!!!!

Movies to forget: "Facing the Giants"*(only because the popcorn was great and there was a football story to it). This is a low budget movie put out by a Southern Baptist Church in Georgia. It's so polyanna it makes Disney look like low life scum from the drug infested neighborhoods of New York City. What a bummer of polyanna bulls**t!! "The Prestige"** Two stars only because of the actors(Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale),and the story was good, but the way it was presented graded against it. A series of flashbacks were used that made it so complicated you couldn't figure out what flashback you were in or why they were even needed. At the end I looked at Marti and ask, "am I just totally stupid here, since I never really got the major points?" She commented that she didn't get it either. But, what can I say, she hangs out with me and it is probably rubbing off on her. So, you can go see great acting, a great story line, even good motives and action of the story line, but for the life of me there are some major things missing. Go try it during the matinee or $2 movie house.

Today is election day, so let's go vote for the candidate of our choice. My man Kinky will be running as an Independent for Governor. The last time an Independent ran for Governor of Texas was 130 years ago. The candidate was Sam Houston and he had to be drug out from under a bridge, while drunk, to accept the nomination. That wouldn't work today. Let's go vote!!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

USAT questions? Bowling results!

Inquiring minds want to know: Hey greerman you were just elected to the National Board of Directors for USA Triathlon, congratulations are in order!! BUT!!!How will you handle this since you have been such a critic and USAT basher for the past two years. My first response is a simple one, thanks for voting for me or if you didn't vote for me thanks for voting, or if the person was not in my region, then thanks for voting and voting for their candidate. If they didn't vote, 12% of the annual membership did vote according to USAT, then I say, "shame on you!" To have a voice you must vote, if not in this election then at least the next election. Now to answer the question. In my previous posts which may seem to be bashing I must say my intent was not to bash, but to point out areas of interest that I felt should not be going on or where USAT had lost its' vision in the mission statement of USAT. When I saw obvious flaws that were going on I just took the liberty to express my opinion, as an annual member, through my blog site. I took great care and put lots of thought before I wrote my opinion, and tried to stay away from knee jerk emotionalism. To illustrate this, I spent over 7 hours writing MY opinions on the 16 dispensations that Ironman had ask for relative to the 2005 race. As we all know 15 were accepted by USAT with one exception, which became the deal breaker and later the split of the two organizations. My plea was simple, cut to the chase and grant the final dispensation and get on with it. It wasn't like Ironman wanted to sacrifice 16 year old virgins at the finish line for the Kona Gods or anything, they just wanted to issue penalties a little differently than in the past. But, not to get away from my point. I put thought into what I wrote and did it for the simple reason that someone might be reading it and would in turn have the facts the way I saw them. For anyone interested in these issues they could just add fasttwitchmind as another source for doing their due diligence on the subject. In the case where I did go a little whacko on my opinion of the job the new executive director was doing, I did issue a private apology to him. In this e-mail I did state to him that I was not questioning his manhood or integrity but I felt he could have handled some of the public relations in a much better way. The apology was accepted and we have moved forward. So, bottom line here is that I was offering constructive criticism to the national governing body of the sport that I am a member of with the intent to help the problem, not cause more problems. It will be my goal and intent to do the same when I take my board seat January 1, 2007. It will also be my intent to run for president of the board for 2007. It will also be my practice that I will not discuss USAT board business on fasttwitchmind, and will direct all USAT business through the normal channels afforded to the elected board members. As I stated in my platform, I will represent the members of the SouthMidwest Region in a honest and dedicated manner and will encourage them to give me feedback at all times. That is not to say I can't receive feedback from other annual members, which I can and will, as to how the Federation can best serve them.

Now on to other stuff, i.e. bowling: Last night was the Twilight Mixed Bowling league night. For Team "Spare Me" they should have spared me, team captain, the miserary of bowling. It was like a bad hair day for me, except it was bad bowling night. As I said to myself, "the idea greerman is to knock down as many pins as possible with either one ball or the second mulligan ball." I never caught on and the pins just stayed standing like little soldiers. Not even another cold beer would persuade these little troopers to fall. So, our team ended up with 1 win out of 4 or said another way, 3 losses out of 4. I would have been better off for the team to just sit back drink the cold ones, let them use my average and we would have won 2 out of 4. But, alas, no wrist slashing from this ole boy, afterall it is just bowling. Now on to the rest of the day and week and get ready for the 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, FL.