The stories you don't want to hear are the ones you see coming just before they get to you.

Jerry Desmond is dead. You likely don't know of him, but he was a co-worker of mine for a short time in Arkansas. He left Little Rock a few months after I arrived. He was a funny man, who insisted others didn't take him, or themselves too seriously. He was a kind man on the back end of his career. Age and years of too many cigarettes had robbed him of his prime broadcasting days, but we managed to get an old TV tape of his, and he was an impressive sight. I wish I could say I knew him better, but a man in his 60s and a boy in his early 20s didn't have much more in common than our work phone number. But he could work.

Earlier this year it was the shocking news that the voice of Auburn, Jim Fyffe, had left us too early. I'd listened to him forever ... first as the announcer of the bad guys, and then (after I learned the error of my ways) as a fan and finally as something of a distant mentor and colleague. One of the many highlights and happy memories I have is an interview I did with Jim last fall, discussing what would ultimately become his final Iron Bowl. I still have many of the soundbites, and many of his most famous calls, and play them often. Auburn is doing a great thing by re-releasing a lot of Jim's memorabilia and donating proceeds to the American Diabetes Association. And I was surprised to find this shirt in stores earlier this week. Almost cried on the spot.

I guess God had a spot for a sportscaster and now, an all-purpose broadcaster. He got two good ones.

My former boss and one of the nicest men I've ever met, Rod Bramblett, gets the call as the new play-by-play man for Auburn. He'll do a fine job replacing one of the greats. He'll take the microphone in that role for the first time in just two days. Like all Auburn men, I'm happy for him through the sadness we still feel over our loss.

Bright and early this morning I made another appearance on WOOD in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A bit later I did what is, I think, my first interview on 970 WFLA in Tampa, Florida. One day I'll have to make a list of all these stations I've talked to. The list itself wouldn't mean anything towards my career, but it sounds cool to say, "Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Jersey, Iowa City, Nashville, Tampa, etc."

Oddly enough, my old station in Little Rock didn't call and ask for help on the 10 Commandments story. I guess they don't like me anymore. Just interesting all the way around.

Cut the grass last night. Woohoo! Part of it. After I fell asleep and then woke up the sun was going down. So I got about half the job done. Its already getting darker earlier. There was a nice breeze and leaves are starting to rain from the sky. I predict a nice autumn. I'd like it to be here now. Monday afternoon at 1:27 it was 101 degrees.

This afternoon I have to go shop for two birthday presents. Hopefully Brandy can go. She can help me peer into the mind of a 12-year-old and get a good present for Michelle. Ideas for Rick and Chelle? Email me before 1:30.

Tomorrow its work and then on a plane to Indiana. I'm there until Monday. When I get back in town Brandy and I are going to donate platelets.


The monument was moved at 9:05. Some rejoiced. Others cried, prayed and mourned. Mostly, I'm thinking about the guy screaming his lungs out, "Put it back!" A white middle-aged man in plaid and a black middle-aged man in camouflage joined in the noisemaking. That would have been a nice statement about cultural and racial quality in this part of the world. Would have been, had they not both looked like they were just a high powered rifle away from random gunfire.

Larry Darby, the Alabama director for American Athiests says its about time. He only wonders why it took so long. The law hasn't changed in the past two years, why finally now? He's calling it a court comedy and is a bit perturbed at outrageous costs to taxpayers all this time.

The Reverend Barry Lynn, with American's United for Separation of Church and State told me this morning that its a bright light day for the rule of law.

And Reverend Pat Mahoney, with the Christian Defesnse Coalition says supporters of the monument are only at the starting line of their fight. More rallies are planned.

Mahoney couldn't calm him down, I even saw a reporter trying to calm him down. Zealous, dangerous or a heart attack waiting to happen, I just hope someone keeps an eye on the man in plaid.

Another day, another dollar.

The 10 Commandments monument is at this moment being moved. Already this morning I've been on WIOD 610 AM in Miami and Denver powerhouse KOA 850 AM.

Gotta love those big news days.

Well since I haven't had the chance to write anything here in a few days, let's play catch-up.

Saturday I slept in a bit, did a little housework and then Brandy and I went to Georgia to see the Indigo Girls. Good show, if a bit short for my taste. But I could have stayed and listened for eight or nine hours.

The alternative lifestyle types were out in full force as you might expect. And there were some alternative to alternatives there. Your garden variety alternative lifestyle folks would have been taken aback. I would have liked to ask a few questions, just out of curiousity, but decided I shouldn't, because I'd sound like a jerk. I just want to know how a real life three's company works. I don't understand.

Sunday we ate at the wonderful R Thomas in Buckhead. After that, we couldn't think of anything fun to do, so we started making our way back home.

Monday I had to get busy working on my part of the tax referendum documentary. I'd finished three interviews last week, but had to cut up the audio, write a script and make sense of a very complex issue for a very short segment. Turns out its hard to boil down complicated insurance requirements that would effect tens of millions of dollars in savings for the state and putting it in a three minute report.

Tuesday I finished all of that (as of this writing, I just have to put some nat sound with the rest of it). I finally got home at about 4 p.m. I can't complain about this at all, I've been fortunate and not had to work near as much as some of my colleagues. But still, after 11 hours at the office, anyone is tired.

So I sat down on the sofa, reading some mail, finished that and just started staring across the room. I could not move. The next thing I know, the phone is ringing and its dark. Of course, the first thought is that I've overslept. But it was still Tuesday night and the caller was a telemarketer. So now its about 9 p.m. and I crawl into bed and sleep the rest of the way until morning. Nothing like a good solid 10 or 11 hours of sleep.

And that brings us up to now, Wednesday morning. I'm writing this and just waiting on the 10 Commandments monument to be removed from the rotunda of the state judicial building. We're expecting that to happen any minute now.

This weekend, I have tickets to go to Auburn. Eighth ranked Southern California is coming across the country to visit the sixth ranked Tigers. But, its Labor Day weekend. And its Rick's birthday and Michelle's birthday. And there's only so many birthdays you can make, but there's always football. So I am going to Indiana instead. I've made them promise me that I can at least watch the game on TV.

So today, its birthday present shopping time.


Never mind the first paragraph in the last post. The one thing I did not put in there (and I didn't put it in on purpose, because nothing was expected to come of it today) has changed the whole story late this afternoon.

Moore went before the Judicial Inquiry Commission this morning for a complaint filed against him by one of the plantiffs in the monument case, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And that commission has acted far more swiftly than anyone, even the SPLC lawyers, expected. Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended.

Judge Moore is still in defiance of a federal court order. The plantiffs in the 10 Commandments case are not pressing for contempt of court sanctions because the eight associate justices and the A.G. have vowed to have the monument moved from the public view. This will happen sometime within the next week or those sanctions will come to fruition.

Other news: An 11-year-old Northport girl is missing. She disappeared between her home and her bus stop Tuesday morning. Our own rural neighborhoods aren't safe anymore. This is getting ridiculous.

Melissa Wright surprisingly plead guilty Thursday. This 26-year-old mother of the year candidate earned national prominence last summer by putting her 18-month-old daughter in an oven set to broil. The child suffered third-degree burns on 70 percent of her body. Originally she said the child fell. Later she changed her story to say she was hearing voices. The prosecutor -- a really cool man, District Attorney Randall Houston -- was going to argue that she was just "mean as hell" and that she was jealous of the attention the child's father paid to his daughter. So they were having her change of venue hearing Thursday and she plead guilty to attempted murder in a suprising statement. The judge gave her 25 years. Fortunately, the child is doing well today, though is still facing years of surgery.

A guy I went to college with, Leonardo Carson, got arrested yesterday. First-degree burglary and second-degree kidnapping. Football players. If you want the morbid details, here's more.

Tomorrow we're going to see the Indigo Girls.

I'm trying to get tickets from work to see the Blue Man Group Monday night at the Oak Mountain Ampitheatre. I've written something about it here, so of course it won't happen.

Maybe that last sentence will cancel out the jinx and I'll get to go. Here's to hoping. That's going to be a great show and I'd like to see it.

And finally, if you have the craving for chocolate ice cream this weekend, allow me to recommend Ben & Jerry's Half Baked. Still tasting it. Vermont hippies, God bless 'em.



Well that was a zoo.

The sun came up and the deadline expired on the 10 Commandments monument at the state judicial building. The eight associate justices of the state Supreme Court -- who have an override ability on the chief justice in administrative matters -- decided they would screen the monument from view. In doing so, they were techinally keeping their vow of not having any fines incurred on the state. Since Chief Justice Roy Moore's monument could not be seen, it was technically not in view, so the federal order was being followed.

Justice Moore was out of town attending a funeral. When he heard of this morning's bright and early move, he thundered about the obstruction of the acknowledgement of God. He then ordered the screens down. As the plantiffs threatened filing for contempt of court the associate justices regrouped and instructed the building manager to remove the monument as soon as possible.

Attorney General Bill Pryor, the state's highest law enforcement officer, finally showed up in this controversy. And, as one opponent of the monument says, "At the 11th hour and 58th minute, Bill Pryor did something." That something was a carefully measured statement in support of the associate justices.

Then everyone went out for lunch.

And now that Justice Moore is seemingly out of moves we wait for whenever the monument is moved.


The kids are home! Matt and Michelle are now living with Mom and Rick. The custody procedure, started at the first of the year, ended just yesterday, out of court. All parties agree, and everyone is hopeful that the way the situation was resolved will help them restore a relationship with their mother, Sallie. But today, we're just feeling blessed that they are where they are at peace and happy.Shame I couldn't be there to see their big goofy smiles. They don't smile goofy normally, but I bet they are today. The kids are home!

And to kill that buzz, Michelle's guinea pig had to be put down.

I promise to never again bore you with tales from Ozzie and Harriet land. At least until I break that promise.

Remaking Methuselah. When cloning is a good thing.


Linda Gibbs was driving on the interstate. Words and gestures were exchanged with another driver. Her car was bumped to the shoulder. The 41-year-old recovered, pulling her Mustang back onto the road.

She was bumped again, this time going into the median, down into the culvert, snapping her neck in two. Her car crossed into oncoming traffic, colliding head-on with 29-year-old Kenneth McMullins. They were both killed.

The other driver, according to one eyewitness, stopped his vehicle on the shoulder, got out, smoked a cigarette, got back behind the wheel and drove away. Two people were dead.

This happened in February, just outside of Birmingham. Investigators called it road rage. The man, 42-year-old James Chaivers turned himself in after charges were filed. He plead guilty this morning to two counts of manslaughter. He could get between two and 20 years for each count of second-degree manslaughter. He could get four years, and be out in a fraction of that time on good behavior and because of severe prison overcrowding.

The families of the victims are in no way happy. They wanted something more severe. Murder charges. Family members of the victims are using a "bullet" metaphor today. Instead of using a gun and a bullet, he used an automobile they say. Chaivers drove to make his plea today. He drove away afterwards.

He killed. He admitted it. He drove.

Family members wanted a jury to hear the trial. That won't happen now because of the manslaughter plea. They wanted the case against Chaivers to be argued, they said, because their loved ones couldn't argue for leniency, or for anything else.

Now, there are a lot of compelling arguments here. Its that last one that I've been thinking about today.

"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." -- Matthew 18:21-22 NIV

So you forgive the guy, right. I mean, sure he destroyed your family. Sure, a little boy will never know his father, but its the Christian thing to do. Its not easy, but its what you're taught to do.

I don't really know these people. I don't know if the two families, ruined by randomness and agression, were each raised in the church. I don't know if they've returned to that in their grief or if they will turn to it now in their anger.

I admire people that have the courage and the conviction to offer that forgiveness. Were I ever placed in that position I'm positive I couldn't respond in kind. Honestly, the various verses and teachings on forgiveness would probably be the last thing on my mind.

So maybe they didn't have to forgive him February. Maybe they aren't supposed to forgive him today. Maybe that comes after his punishment.

Where does criminal punishment, Christian forgiveness and and the social responsibility of preventing this man from destroying other families coincide?


Given my penchant for rapidly tiring of a particular webpage's design, I've been trying to think of different things to use across the top of this page. Hasn't gotten too far yet. I have an idea in my head, but not sure how to pull it off yet, given the blog's formatics.

However, I took a break from that, and threw together a family webpage. Check it out. The links don't go anywhere yet, and they will eventually be mouseover, but you get the idea. An hour well spent if you ask me.

Now if my computer would just stop locking up on me!

According to the "Hold On" system, just six days until Brandy and I go to Duluth, Georgia to see the Indigo Girls.

Can't wait.

So I go to the shed this morning, intent on finally cutting the grass -- everytime I am home to do it, its raining -- and the lawnmower won't start. I get mad. Then the thunder rolls in. So I sit inside for the monsoon. That's what it was, no other way to describe.

After the grass dries a bit, I get determined and decide I'll try jumping the riding lawnmower off the car. The battery in that thing is less than six months old, so of course its gone bad. So I get the car around the back, man-handle the lawnmower so the jumper cables will reach, hook everything up ... and there's this slightly terrifying moment.

OK, imagine, the lawn mower battery is under the seat. And its one of those deals where you have to be sitting to operate it. So just before I slide into the seat, it dawns on me, "What if I sit down, the cables slip off the connectors and I electrocute my butt?"

Fortunately, the crisis was averted. The lawn mower started. The grass got cut. My neighbors are probably happier. I know I am. My butt can stay unelectrocuted for another day!

And I really wish I had a digital camera. Broke the old one a few months back and haven't been able to afford a new one or find one I liked yet. I would litter this page with pictures if I had a digital camera. Think I may go out tomorrow afternoon though and use the old fashioned, print cameras.


I've been listening to Nanci Griffith this evening as I tweak the formatics around here a little bit. I've been listening to a lot of Nanci Griffith lately. There's something so easy and pure and invigorating and melancholy and challenging all at once about her music.

Nanci is out of my disc player now though, and I am going nostalgic. I've got something like 400 CDs, this could take awhile. (I considered gathering all my discs together and actually counting them, but 400 sounds fine, thanks.)

Anyway, I heartily encourage all of you to go back and put that disc in that you identified with a few years ago. Right now I am listening to an album that sold like a bazillion copies by a band I've seen almost half a dozen times. I listen to this album as frequently (or more so) than the rest of my old stuff, but I'm sitting here thinking about where I was in this CD ... and its pretty powerful.

The first time I listened to it, I was a senior in high school. 1994. I was at my girlfriend's place. She was in class at University and I was raiding her music. I'd heard two singles, but I listened to the rest and was blown away.

Somehow I never bought it. My roommate in college had a tape of it, so he pretty much gave it to me. I didn't convert to CDs until the end of my freshman year (1995 -- I was a late bloomer) and he was all about the discs by then. And when I finally went to CDs, I still didn't buy it. It comes up in the disc books pretty quick though. I traded with a friend for it. He got a Montgomery-based band that had one local hit. I got Counting Crows, August and Everything After.

This thing was with me through the trauma that was college. And the fun parts too. But the Crows, they tend to get played more during the trauma. The band has grown. I've grown. We've all grown. "We're always changing" Adam sings.

Yeah. Yeah.

That post I just wrote? Re-read the next to last paragraph. Great minds think alike.

"There's been no communication." -- Seemingly everyone in New York today.

You think? The power is off. How does one normally communicate? TV and radio broadcasts, phones and word of mouth. How many of those work without power? By the way, its officially the nation's largest ever power outage, affecting people outside of New York.

People have been pretty understanding thus far it seems, but after a few more hours, this will start to wear thin. We are also pushing a record of patience and endurance for the instant gratification generation. And that's troubling.

If this goes on more than a day or so, you've got widespread and largescale water and sanitation issues. If it goes on about a week, you descend into the dark ages.

Its a different situation entirely, but imagine having this problem to the extent and duration that the Iraqis have had to endure?

Man, we've got it good.

A monumental showdown.

"The entire judicial system of the State of Alabama is established in the Alabama constitution invoking the favor and guidance of almighty God ... They have no power, no authority no jurisdiction to tell the State of Alabama that we cannot acknowledge God as the source of our law." -- Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, announcing his decision to defy a federal court order to remove the 10 Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

The Governor is lining up behind Moore. Attorney General Mark Pryor -- who is waiting on a Senate confirmation vote for a seat on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- is going to end up on the opposite side.

Judicial ethics complaints were filed yesterday by the plantiffs in this case. The governor, along with the state comptroller and treasurer, the administrative director of courts, the court clerk and eight associate judges have been drug in this matter. Justice Gorman Houston, Senior Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, is already moving against Moore.

Stephen, my political science expert, and I had a little talk about this and agree Moore might have something of a chance, in another direction, but he's totally going about this the wrong way. He's citing, and has been citing, the first and 10th Amendments on this. But he's already been beaten on this issue three times, once when he was the Etowah Circuit Court judge in the mid-90s (remember?) and now twice here, by the federal judge and an appeals court panel. And the Supreme Court will likely not land on his side (even if they agree to hear the case), based on the outcome of a 10 Commandments at a school in Elkhart, Indiana in 2001.

Personally, I think he is looking for political martyrdom. Any one of those constitutional officers who were charged with the removal can take the thing out, Moore would win the moral victory, having fought the good fight and could keep playing "Onward Christian Soldier" wherever he goes. He got elected to the state's highest judicial bench on this, and I think he is going to follow the footsteps of Howell Heflin and a few other former Supreme Court Chief Justices and make a run for the Senate.

Oh yeah, that whole budget crunch thing could grow from this. Montgomery federal judge Myron Thompson, has threatend a five thousand dollar per day fine if the monument is not removed by next Wednesday. And the governor, tax plan and all, is backing him.

The good thing about the power outages in the north were that it killed Moore's thunder dead. The national media was itching to make Moore into the new George Wallace in the schoolhouse door.


My computer is lagging horribly. My internet connection is bad. Shaky at best.

I had a lot to talk about this evening. Partly because a lot has been going on the past few days, and partly because I've read some pretty inspiring writings today.

I also had a few format changes I wanted to make, but I think its not worth the frustration of overcoming things that don't work, you know, instantly. Ahhh, the instant gratification generation. Thank you Mtv.

So tomorrow at the latest, maybe later tonight.

Eight days until ig.

And I am ready for the crinkle of leaves.

Millions. Millions of people. No power for millions of people.

There's condensation on my windows and the whir of a fan in my computer. I'm glad my air conditioner is blowing nice and cold. I'm glad my power is on.


Three men arrive at the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter greets them, asking the first man how much money he had made last year.

The man responds, "$250,000."

"Really, what did you do to make that kind of money?"

"I was a lawyer," the man answers.

"Very well. You can come in."

Peter asks the second man the same question.

"I made $283,000 last year," he says.

"And what did you do to make that money?" asks Peter.

"I was a doctor."

"You did well. Come on in."

Finally, Peter reaches the third man and asks the question again.

The man proudly states, "I made $17,500 last year!"

"Really," Peter responds, "and what were the call letters?"

One of my old producers from Little Rock sent me that joke this morning. You can barely seem him in the second picture, about two thirds of the way down the page.

Sadly, when I left there a year ago, he wasn't even making that much. It was almost criminal.

I wasn't making much more than that there. And though I'm making a little more now, a little more still sure would help me rest easier.

This man killed, wounded, terrorized ... and now he's speaking in the third person.

Did you see the Perseids this morning?

Perseids is the debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which passes the sun ever 130 years. The last time in 1992 - leaving tiny dust particles as it speeds through the solar system. The Earth and dust cloud cross paths every July and August. The dust particles, most the size of a grain of sand or smaller -burn up as they plow into Earth's atmosphere.

If you did miss it, don't worry. Astronomers expect a bigger outburst of meteorites from Perseids next year. Some believe there may be as many as 300 meteorites an hour visible next year, but others are predicting closer to 200 an hour.

Next year the Earth will be passing through debris left when Swift-Tuft passed near Earth during the Civil War. As for the comet debris striking Earth last night, some models say it may have been sloughed off the comet as far back as 560 A.D.


11 days until Indigo Girls.

Its like the Stableford System of Golf: Modified. The show is the 23rd, but in our "Hold On" system, today doesn't count, and the day of doesn't either. Since today is Monday and we see the Indigo Girls a week from Saturday that leaves 11 days. Go ahead and count on your fingers. I won't laugh. I did the same earlier today.

So today, I'm gearing up by listening to albums with Amy and Emily singing background vocals for other people. Later in the weekend I'll move up to cover songs they've recorded. I'm not normally this anal retentive about it, just seemed like a good idea when I thought it up ... which is to say about two sentences ago.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. -- Isiah 40:28 (New International Version.)

Some things a guy just finds comforting.

From the "I Can't Make This Up Department"

(Monrovia, Liberia) -- Torn by civil war, Liberia has a new leader today. Charles Taylor, the president of the African nation has stepped down and boarded a plane bound for exile.

Before leaving, his vice president -- a feared general -- was sworn into office. Liberia's new leader? Moses Blah.

Hey Bama fans, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine who is on your team. Great kid. Heart of gold. Wonderful athlete. Terrific parents, one of which was a high school teacher of mine. And he's going to make you all happy for several years. Though I am broken hearted he went to Alabama and not somewhere, you know, decent, meet Matt Caddell.

Here's a story The Birmingham News ran on him late last week.

He might not play much this year, because Alabama does have depth at receiver, one of those other guys, Triandos Luke, I covered when he was in high school. Matt will get in for some big play spots and may return kicks, he's used to that, holding a state and national record in that phase of the game.

I taught him everything he knows. Well, of course not really. But I remember him as a scrawny little elementary kid who loved hanging out with his dad's high school students. Who in the seventh grade was blowing by most of the high school varsity team during practice and who almost always carries a smile. His father, Douglas Caddell, is very proud, and Bama fans, you can be too.

I'm so moving to California.

As the rush to recall heats up, almost 200 people have registered to run for governor. I want to be a part of this, if only to be able to put that in a bio one day. "Former California gubernatorial candidate Kenny Smith ... "

Someone, who shall remain nameless because it frustrates her and that makes me laugh, writes in last night to tell me I am a man who "oozes with irony." Aside from not telling me what that means, or why she insists on using the word "ooze" so much, I must disagree. At least until she tells me why I ooze.

But you want ironic? I'll give you a bad example. I was on Guster's website this morning and I found some quiz that someone posted. It was one of those "which Guster song would you be" deals and it gave you the code that you could post the answer and graphic. I see those in a lot of blogs. But fear not, I am not so desperate -- yet -- for content that I will put that sort of thing here. Ironically, though, sorta, my answers made me my least favorite Guster song. A little too ironic.

And yes, my nameless friend (who finds this annoying, causing me to find it hysterical) really does think.

It's like rain. On your wedding day. Its a free ride. When you've already paid.

Ehhh, shaddup. I just exploded Alanis Morissette with my radio bomb sound effects. Its good to have the buttons.

This early in the morning, on Monday, and I am hyper. Not a good sign.


Two weeks from tonight its Duluth, Georgia.

Brandy and I are trekking over there to the Gwinnett Center to see the Indigo Girls. I'm really excited, I haven't seen Amy and Emily play in just over three years. That's far too long in between shows. But we're counting the days now!

Now everyone knows that I am not the biggest fan of Tommy Tuberville, the football coach of my alma mater.

This goes back when he openly and blatantly lied to his former team, Ole Miss, about his negotiations with Auburn. He told them he hadn't talked to Auburn about the job, lying to dozens of college kids and an entire fanbase about what he intended to do. Its just like the man who's having an affair with a married woman, how can you trust her to be faithful to you when she won't be faithful to another person?

So that was his first strike. His second was his penchant for giving himself a nickname. This really annoys me. Third is the sentence that starts with, "Well, back at Ole Miss ... " Then there's my all but confirmed theory of his habit of throwing certain games. The next big issue I have is a lack of ever, anywhere, winning more than nine games in a season.

Hey, if the University insists on putting that much money into football, and that much money in Tuberville's pocket, he oughta win ten somewhere along the way.

In his defense, I will say that he came along and installed a fair share of discipline into the team that was sorely lacking. Thuggery isn't allowed so much anymore, and its dealt with when necessary.

When he wins 10 games, and many expect that to happen this year, I'll say something positive about as a coach. But today, I'll say something about his pain threshold. The man, this offseason, has had two neck surgeries for a problem that he says has been nagging him for almost 20 years. Now, if that's true (read above), I stand in awe of the man. I woke up with my neck hurting from sleeping wrong yesterday. I hadn't even made it out the door to go to work and I was ready to have it fixed!

Maybe this doesn't speak to his tolerance for pain as much as something else. Hmmm.

At any rate, Auburn's got a lot of depth, good team and is expected to do a lot this year. The SEC media has them picked to win the conference. One poll has them picked as the preseason number one. Its my school and I still know a few of the players on the team, so I'll be watching and cheering all season long. And I will try not to be jaded about it ... until Tuberville doesn't something silly.

And since I have media passes, I'll be doing it from inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, for free.

Its been an industrious day for me. Woke up this morning, had a shower, cleaned the house a bit and got some laundry out of the way. The cleaning and the laundry part are way above and beyond my normal routine.

Now I'm just getting ready for a little thing we call "Movie Night: Drei trois." Its the movie night for Brandy and I that is so movie-intensive, we have to start early in the day. Having your Brandy work at a movie store is awfully convenient.


Ever laugh through a salad?

I'm still reading this biography on Benjamin Franklin, right now I'm in the 1750's. Franklin has been elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly and he is considering the massive influx of German immigrants in the province. This leads to today's answer to the rhetorical question, "If you could have lunch with any figure, who would it be?"

Today I would pick Johann Conrad Beissel, the father of a spiritual village called Ephrata near the Susquehanna River about 50 miles west of Philadelphia.

Franklin biographer H.W. Brands writes in The First American:

"The core of Beissel's sect was the 'Spiritual Order of the Solitary,' forty men who devoted themselves to a rigorous regimen of work, fasting and prayer. Although avowedly celibate, the Ephratans admitted women, who enrolled in the 'Order of Spiritual Virgins.'

"By any reckoning, Beissel was a singular character. He denounced marriage as the 'penitentiary of carnal man' ... Beissel opened his door and his heart to all who suffered and sought relief. These included unhappy wives who found him hypnotizing and found his Order of Spiritual Virgins the only escape -- in that era of prohibitively difficult divorce -- from unsatisfactory husbands. It did not help Beissel's reputation with those husbands that he spent a surprising amount of time in the quarters of the Virgins. He said he was consoling them and testing his resistance to carnality; none but believers believed him."

Penitentiary of carnal man. Classic.


Congressman Darrell Issa won't run in the California gubernatorial race. The man put in 1.7 million of his own money into the recall movement and now, tearfully, says that since Arnold is running, there are enough qualified candidates.

That's certainly the case. Comedian Gallagher, he of watermelon smashing fame, has thrown his tophat in the ring. One the planks in his platform is secession of California from the Union. He also wants to dam the Sea of California for a "new fertile valley" designed to keep separated Mexican families intact. Its all on his website.

And if that doesn't get your political juices flowing, Gary Coleman is in the race. Yes, that Gary Coleman. Remarkably, somehow, this is stealing the pub from Larry Flynt who has also declared his intention to run.

Which of these does California deserve? People make fun of the South, imagine if one of these winners becomes the chief executive of what is arguably the second largest government in the world.

It wasn't too long ago that Alabama voters elected a Circuit Court Judge to be the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Roy Moore campaigned largely on his defense of having the 10 Commandments in his Circuit Courtroom.

Moore said he would take the 10 Commandments (the recognition, awards and the controversy) with him to Montgomery.

In the summer of 2001, he kept his promise, moving a 5,000 pound plus monument into the rotunda of the state judicial building. He did this under the cover of darkness.

Predictably, lawsuits were filed in federal court. Moore lost. He appealed, lost again and now wants the U-S Supreme Court to hear his case.

While he waits for the nation's highest court to decide if they'll hear it the clock is ticking. Federal Judge Myron Thompson says the monument must be moved by August 20th. He also sent his ruling to the eight associate judges of the state supreme court, adding that if Justice Moore doesn't move it, the responsibility falls to the state.

And if it gets to that point, the state might consider acting quickly. One of the lawyers that originally filed the suit, Montgomery attorney Steve Glassroth, points out that the federal judge cited Moore in his official capacity, rather than his personal.

Glassroth interprets that to mean that if Moore doesn't remove the monument, Judge Thompson's $5,000 a day fine will not fall on Moore's personal bank account. The state, the taxpayers, you and I, would pay.

So Arnold has declared himself a hopeful to become the next governor of California in the historic recall vote of Governor Gray Davis.

There's a lot going on here.

The already fractious Democratic party is living up to the adjective. Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante has jumped in this race, breaking a plan of Democratic solidarity. He, the state's Insurance Commissioner (another Democrat who's running) and more will surely split the Democratic vote.

Arnold seemingly has the support of the White House, but not of the Kennedys, of which he's married into. He's soon to be facing some womanizing scandals. Maybe he is a Kennedy himself.

The disconcerting thing is, despite this recall ... which is popular with Republicans since its a Democrat falling under it for the first time ... is another issue concering some politico watchers.

The recall is a matter of state law, put in place California by a reform governor early in the 20th Century. Its to be used in the case of egregious failures by the governor against the people of the state. And, if you haven't picked up a paper in the last two years, that's what they've got in California.

Equally important is the saying, the truism really, "As California goes, so goes the nation." What does this bode for the rest of us? Hey, it might be impactful on California in a matter of months, it may take a few years or decades, but at some point in the future, you and I, and our kids, will be hearing about "the historic first recall in California back in 2003."

Successful move (manipulated skillfully by a California GOP Congressman with his own eyes on the Sacremento prize) or not, its a precedent, and we'll see it again. Recall, controversy, scandal and struggle, in various orders these things have happened in California. They'll happen again.

And if Davis stays in office, there may be a potentially explosive scandal concerning exploitation of state employee payroll brewing as well.

But meanwhile, Arnold is walking around sounding like Teddy Roosevelt, "The man failing more than anyone is Gray Davis. ... And this is why I am going to run." And later, "I will go to Sacramento, and I will clean house."

OK, maybe he's sounding like Dwight Eisenhower channeling Teddy Roosevelt.

Look for Arnold to run a moderate to liberal Republican schism. It would be villified by Republicans if run by a Democrat, but loved by some GOPers because its one of their own. Others will blast him.

And well they should. Actor Ronald Reagan was governor of that state, and while being a chief executive can never be easy, it must be even harder now. California has a GNP larger than most countries. And they have problems as large as most countries. Reagan of course went on to be a successful governor and a vastly popular two-term President. He never had Arnold's psychique, but didn't have the same weight to lift. Arnold's not as ripped now as he once was either.

The man's obviously lived the American dream. He read in a magazine he could pump iron and come to America. He did that, waaaay too much, left his Austrian homeland, became an almost overnight success in the bodybuilding world. He then took to the silver screen (with English so bad he had to be overdubbed in his first movies) and rose to the level of uber-pop culture icon. He's even served in Republican presidential administrations as a fitness guru.

The bigger question remains, with a big trial gearing up three states away, can Arnold drive the lane? The Los Angeles Lakers might be looking for a replacement player.

Baseball fans know this, but ESPN has included a great addition to some of their broadcasts this season. They are doing "legends" games, bringing the best of the best back into the broadcast booth for the night. They talk, relive memories, call a few innings. Its a tremendous nostalgia trip, and a chance to hear some of the greatest in a generation use words as paint and field as canvas.

A few weeks ago I saw Keith Jackson do a game. Known most notably now for calling college football, he's done it all in decades plus of broadcasting. He describes a scene with such ease as to make mere mortals jealous. One of the highlights in broadcasting for me was when, just for a moment, I shared airwaves with Mr. Jackson. An incredible experience.

Anyway, last night, on ESPN, legend's night brought the recently-retired Ernie Harwell, the voice of the Detroit Tigers into the booth to call a Yankees/Mariners game. I stayed up late to hear him call the ninth inning.

And then, early this morning, ESPN2 was showing a replay of the game they aired last night, which featured Al Michaels, a legend in any broadcasting booth he's ever walked into.

Forget the games, when the greats are on the air, that's the sport. I took notes of Mr. Harwell last night, he's that good, that you can learn from him his first time back on the air after months of being gone.

So thanks ESPN, great concept, and I hope this year isn't the only time you have legends games.

So let's see ... I've already done the work-feverishly so you can take a bit off to eat and relax. I've read my daily webpages (six or seven online newspapers not withstanding, that comes a little later) checked the email and I'm not hungry. See how my thumbs twiddle?


Finally caught up with the MS woman. She and I will meet in a few weeks to discuss options on how I might be able to help them out. She's got many ideas, and they all sound good. Pretty exciting stuff, to be doing something useful and helpful again.

Spent part of the afternoon reading Egyptian history. I've got to find something to read once I wrap up Benjamin Franklin in the next few days. Something on sale from the discount bookstore most likely.

We had some nice rain while I was at work today. It was warm and pretty by the time I left. Kinda wished it rained later in the day. I'd love to listen to the sound of raindrops when I have nothing to do but describe it.

That's much better than watching breaking news of "Kobe enters the courthouse" any day.

If you have historical leanings, here's a great site I just stumbled across. Find a grave. It may seem a bit morbid at first, but that passes when you start seeing names you know, and appreciate the lives of those who've come before.

Well, off to the library for a while.

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. Psalm 32:10 (New International Version)

I suppose saying, 'that's comforting' is a little undeserving a response to that, isn't it?

So the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, under cover of darkness some time back, put this huge granite monument to the 10 Commandments in the state judicial building. This of course drew lawsuits, which Justice Roy Moore has lost in federal court and in appeals court. He is asking the Supreme Court to rule, but the federal judge who heard the case says the monument has to be out on August 20th.

Justice Moore says the monument is allowed by the state constitution. His opponents say it infringes upon the rights of all those who walk into the judicial building who might be of a different faith.

Moore testified last fall that he believes the phrase "separation of church and state" means the separation of church and government--but not the separation of the government from God. He says the founders of the United States intended for God to be the ultimate authority over both church and government.

I tend to fall in line with the view of Reverend Barry Flynn, with the group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. That's one of the groups in the suit who wanted the monument removed.

He told me one day last year, "For many of us who do revere the 10 Commandments, we think the 10 Commandments have done pretty well by themselves for over 2,000 years. They really don't need the blessing of any politician or any judges. The promotion of the ideals of the 10 Commandments are really up to those of us in the churches, not up to politicians."

Reverend Flynn adds, "(Justice Moore) has got to get it straight that as a secular judge, he must rule for all the people based on secular law, not on his version of one set of holy scriptures."

And my favorite story of the day is about Carly Simon.

The story is here.

Fifty thousand dollars for pb&j? Hey sure, yeah, go charity, but come on!


Going through some old stuff and I found this article.

Language police

I guarantee that if you take the two minutes to read this, you will be annoyed, angered, insulted, frustrated and just plain-old disheartened ...

Here's some good news: The Alabama chapter of the National MS Society is asking me to do some speaking work for them. I'm about to call the nice lady and see if we can make some arrangements.

Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse. -- Proverbs 19:1 (New International Version)

Yeah well, I'm trying.

Its always good when you get to talk about family on the air ...

"A north Alabama woman charged in an anthrax hoax faces as many as five years in prison and a 250 thousand dollar fine. Myra J. Bryant of Rogersville pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of mailing threatening communications. She sent letters with white powder in them to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jack Caddell and a Florence attorney. It's still to be decided when she'll be sentenced."

This woman was related by marriage to my father's side of the family somehow. She got divorced and this whole anthrax hoax incident stemmed from that. Family reunions just won't be the same.


Dear God,

Bless mom and Rick and all the family. Watch over Brandy and my friends and coworkers. And God, bless Nanci Griffith.

Thanks for the joys they bring and every other thing you give me,


You've all, no doubt, watched Iron Chef.

Just an FYI, there is an American version, with William Shatner as "The Chairman," but the original Japanese version of the show, with its translation into English, is by far a better series.

Nevertheless, I propose a spinoff. Instead of the gourmet chefs and theme ingredients, we need Iron Chef: Average Joe. Imagine, your average guy invading the kitchen, making meals for the judges. Totally hapless men, bachelors and husbands who's wives are on a business trip. Here's your theme ingredient, wow the judges with ... bananas!

On a slightly Mystery Science Theater 3000 level, this show would be hilarious.

Arbitron trends for Spring '03
KIPR Urban 9.0
KSSN Country 9.0
KARN N/T 6.1
KURB Hot AC 6.1
KOKY Urban AC 5.7

Congrats to my friends in Little Rock who continue their stranglehold on the market. These trends were released today, showing Citadel maintaining four of the top five spots, including the newstalk station I worked at, KARN.

On the downside, KARN has lost a full two points since I moved away. I'm not saying that change is me, just an observation.

North Little Rock, Arkansas - Police arrested Isaac Russell for shooting his ex-girlfriend in the leg while she attended a church service.

Today on Jerry Springer, the crowd chanted, "Hit the whore."

We continually slide.

You know those movies that are set a few years in the future? Invariably it looks like some post-apocalyptic world with horrific mores ... the imagery is so disturbing to put you in denial. We're there. It makes the heart weep.

The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor. -- Proverbs 15:33 (New International Version)

So I've shunned blogs since about 15 minutes after someone invented them. Then lately I've been reading them, particularly the excellent Salam Pax in Baghdad and Ray Deonandan in Toronto. They made me reconsider writing a blog. About a week ago I was thinking about blogs when I came across this verse ... and of course nothing is as humbling as writing, so here we go ...

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