Good news from the frozen north: My good friend Stephen says Penn State has indicated that he should this fall be working towards a master's in political science. His wife Brooke, you may know, is pursuing a doctorate in communications at PSU.
All three letters of referral to UAB's graduate school are now in the admission's office. For those keeping score at home: Ken Weaver, my former boss in Little Rock, put his credibility on the line; my radio mentor and all-around great guy, Chadd Scott, sang my praises and a journalism professor from Auburn, Judy Sheppard, says she wrote a "glowing" recommendation.

Now I just have to take the MAT and do the formal admissions application.


My little sister: He's so old and lame.
Me: It will happen to you one day.
Her: I'll never get old.
Me: So you're going to get lame instead?
Her: No, that's not what I mean.

Ahhh, kids.
I don't want to make fun of people having to deal with a serious medical condition, but I do want to make fun of a commercial about it.

Watching TV, here comes the adult ADD spot, "If you suffer from ... see your doctor for ... " In that one commercial there were more than 30 camera cut changes. I started counting halfway through the commercial and got to 15 (once the rate had slowed drastically).

Wouldn't this type of ad go counter to people dealing with the issue? Or is it just making the rest of our attention spans progressively worse?


Ever have one of those "Is this too good to be true" moments?

The lowest I've seen a similar shirt elsewhere has been double this price.


Fly me to the moon

"I believe with every particle of my being that I'm selling property that belongs to me," he says. "We believe what we're doing is real."

Buy me the moon ...

You have to hand it to the guy, awfully entrepreneurial.


In one of life's "Why Not?" moments, I recently applied for a job that I was obviously not qualified for. Now they are having a good laugh at my expense, having sent me three rejection letters.

OK! I understand! I won't be the marketing director for the local chain of Blockbuster Video stores!

Something like that could probably hurt your feelings if it wasn't so funny.
An artist friend (on the newest banner rotating on the blog): I love the picture of the Bartlett Pear trees. It looks like one of Van Gogh's paintings.

Cross another item off the Things That Should Never Happen list. Compared to Van Gogh ... A wonderful, if misguided, compliment. Thanks Kel!
What's left of my (Yahoo! Pick'em) college basketball bracket. Red is bad, green is good. As Brooke said, "It looks like someone slit their wrists over my bracket."

Clearly all that time I spent not watching basketball this year is now paying off in spades.

Despite marking out for Air Force, an over-dependence on top seeds and the surprising run by Bama and UAB, it appears that I've clinched the victory in our little group. A long season of trash talking is ahead: I've never won this thing, time for a victory dance.
Did a little cleaning up on the head of this page. I took four of those images down because they weren't doing much for me. I added one new one to the rotation though. So now there are 11 to see.
"Our study shows that during this time the virus also is especially vulnerable. Perhaps this period of greater susceptibility can be exploited."

UAB researchers say they've discovered a weakness in HIV.


Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 (New International Version)
A ringing phone woke me up today. Whenever this happens I get to deal with an oh-please-shoot-me headache for the rest of the day. Does anyone else have this problem?
My grandmother likes to send newspaper clippings to everyone on interesting topics of conversation. My step-dad gets things on raising kids ... I got one this week on the usage of the word "that". A great column found a few weeks ago in the Star-Telegram, by Dr. Stephen Wilbers with possibly one of the greatest feats in all of the English language:
Note by the way, that when that functions as a conjuction, as in the last example, it can often be omitted to good effect: "I heard [that] you were travelling in Europe." But sometimes not: "She believed her boyfriend, who told her he had gone out with the guys, was lying through his teeth." As you can see, that that that that sentence omitted was required.
Four thats in a row! Amazing!

Dr. Wilbers is a professor at the University of Minnesota, and his is a site I'll now be reading frequently. If you're a word-nerd like me, you should visit too.


I miss my news junkie days. Where I once read about 10 papers and about a dozen news sites a day, I've recently cut back recently for obvious reasons. Here lately, I've been following along like a far more casual reader. Today might have been a turning point in that.
Spent an hour and change today talking with the Editor-in-Chief of al.com. Had a good conversation, and I felt pretty positive about the interview.

So Ken, who seems a very nice man, says I'll hear back from him in about two weeks. Hopefully he feels as positive about it as I did. Sounds promising, with a good bit of exciting opportunity. Keep your fingers crossed!


Sorry if you haven't been able to see my webpage today, or if something looked messed up. One little string of code in every page somehow managed to corrupt itself. So I'm now having to go into each separate page and add one keystroke.


So I find myself watching public access television ... I know, I know.

These two guys are on. Les and Bud, Unwired, ladies and gentleman. They are just singing the chorus of a song, and then moving on. Les, on the left, is doing these impressions, "Wanna hear my Dean Martin? Here's my Bing Crosby." They all sounded the same. Well, except for Kitty Wells. But the guy had a good voice of his own.

Ahhh, the things you'll watch late at night.


Remember learning about governmental checks and balances in school? If H.R. 3920 passes, we'll have to learn a new lesson.

This legislation would "allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court."

As always, contact your Representative. Express yourself.
I'm glad Ed Richardson has decided to roll up his sleeves. In office as president at Auburn University for the past two months, Richardson has budgetary problems, academic probation issues and ebb tide morale in the faculty and student body to deal with. Thankfully we solved the problem. In his second high profile move since becoming president at Auburn, Richardson is firing the basketball coach.

Scandal, NCAA investigation, poor performance, Coach Cliff Ellis probably had to go. This on the heels of the announced resignation of David Housel adds up to a tumultuous time in the Athletics Department. Now, Mr. President, let's focus on the real issues.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)
I didn't write here about my car problems last week when I got home from Indiana. Turns out the battery in the Intrepid was just absolutely dead and wouldn't even jump off other batteries. So I'm on the fifth floor of the most horrible parking deck imaginable and the only option seems to be pushing the car down five levels of the most narrow circular ramp you can imagine. But a better plan came to mind (thanks Kym, for the inspiration) and got another battery put in ... Anyway, the 21 bucks I had to pay was the cheapest car breakdown I've ever had.

But battery kharma shined on me today. Remember all last year I lived in fear of electrocuting my butt? (August 10th, Start reading from the sixth paragraph down.) Anyway, I crank the lawnmower up today, same battery as the one that wouldn't start last year and it starts right off. Kharma is fun.

My lawnmower has this (poorly engineered) contraption that sucks up the leaves and clippings and holds them in a bag. I not only cut the grass, but I also got the leaves up at the same time. A hassle to operate, but way better than the rake.

With grass cut and the car washed, I went out for a quick bite to eat. So I'm sitting there reading and this guy comes up to me. Turns out to be someone that I haven't seen in almost a decade. He used to sit behind me in high school trig, and I'm totally drawing a blank on his name. Oh he remembers me, but I couldn't be troubled to recall anything but one of his practical jokes. Kinda felt bad admitting that. For the rest of the night, I'm going to be telling myself I've met lots of people since 1995 that I need to remember.


As much as I hate to agree with my sister on this particular issue, sometimes Auburn stuff can be a bad thing.

I stumbled on AU drapes today.

But I can't concede this point to Michelle without looking at the hideously ugly Bama drapes.
In working out this afternoon I somehow managed to bruise my shoulders. I wasn't even showing off either. Fortunately they don't hurt, but the marks look pretty weird.

Indigo Girls are coming to Birmingham next month. Hopefully we'll get to catch the show.

Who needs Mars? I want to check out Sedna. Though with a surface temperature of about minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit, I doubt I could acclimate.


Guess I shouldn't have gloated about my newly found minidisc prowess. It seems I burned too much from CD to MD. There was this horrible "skreech" and suddenly the E drive won't read anymore. The computer sees the E:. but even after rebooting, every program I have asks me to put a disc in it. So now I'm just down to my burner.
So we went to see Mystic River last night ... ummmm yeah. Other than that, I thought it was pretty decent. Brandy disagreed though. I picked it (thereby insuring it would be bad) so what can you expect?

Hey, I thought it was a pretty good film. Except: Kevin Bacon's pointless wife and Sean Penn's wife offering him absolution. The former had no point and the latter was needlessly tacky given the context.

Maybe we should have went with a little mindless comedy a la Starsky and Hutch?

I also almost broke my cell. So here's your consumer affairs note for the day: if you drop your Nokia 6340i, make sure the little infrared/power panel doesn't fall off.

Anyway, before that, we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner at J Paul's ("Dining on the Perimeter"). It was OK, but not as good as it should have been given the build up. The first five places we chose were closed and then I got us lost twice, as only I can do.

At least the company was fun!

And for all my friends who despair that they are getting old, fear not, I'm winning the race. Technology continues to kick my butt. Last month it was the aformentioned phone and figuring out how to make it do all the things I want. And now today, I finally figured out how to properly record songs into my minidisc recorder. The levels are good, it is playing out in stereo and I got three CDs on one mini. It only took me a year and change to solve this problem.

I used to be so good with technology you see ... but now I bet the VCRs say 12:00 right now.


Kristopher linked me! Yeah, it is just a link, but its on a great blog. The World Around You is always worth a read. Politics and more out of Prattville. He's one of those that I would aspire to be like blog-wise. Only he is a far frequent writer. Check him out while I put him over in the must reads (a dreadful oversight on my part).
If I made a habit of recommending music, I would normally only suggest stuff that is good to your ears. Today, I'll make a suggestion and it will be bad ... But it is by a very good band. So if you sit through what is a hilarious little song, you owe it to yourself to hear some of their "real" stuff which can also be found on their website. So for a little Amsterdam Fire Drill, go over to Guster's corner of the internet. You'll find it to the left on the front page.

They took their latest single and everyone on stage played someone else's instrument. And then Brian, the thunder god, sang. And friends, Brian is an amazing rhythm section, but he can't sing. At all.

Some college buddies and I saw them in Birmingham years ago when Brian sang another song, equally bad. So go have a listen. And then listen to something else there, anything else. When they want to be good, they are. When they want to be bad, we all laugh along.


Well it only took about three months ... but I finally finished the Ronald Reagan biography by Lou Cannon. I'm not a slow of a reader, but I've been in a reading funk lately that actually tore my nose out of books for a while. I had to travel to two different states to get the last 300-plus pages out of the way.

But now I'm moving on to Robert Alexander's The Kitchen Boy. Publisher's Weekly says, "Alexander's first novel is based on "decades of painstaking research" and access to previously sealed Russian archives. He has produced a detailed version of the Romanovs' captivity, but the book fails to deliver much drama, despite the inherent mystery of the events. "

That may be, I'm only about 40 pages in and it is just building, but the guy's a great storyteller. You're right there in the house. This, by the way, is a novelization -- filed as fiction -- based on the murder of the Romanovs.


On the advice of legal counsel, I've just discovered one of those oddly funny websites that no one should have ever thought to create.

Obscene Interiors critiques the background of pictures of men who've placed personal ads online. This is funny and you need to see it.

Never fear, the pictures have been sanitized for your protection.
Just now, going through my rolodex for obvious reasons, I realized that I have the home phone number for former Democratic presidential hopeful General Wesley Clark.

This is a by-product from my time in Arkansas (Clark is a native Arkansan).

Don't even try it, you can't have this number. He's probably changed it four or fives times since I wrote it here anyway.

I've actually interviewed him a few times and heard him speak once a few years ago. My favorite, though, was the interview that wasn't.

I called him the Sunday morning that the U.S. starting bombing Afghanistan to get a soundbite, but he'd left home the night before to head to Atlanta. CNN had wanted their military analyst in place before the first missles were fired. CNN knew the exact timing of the first attacks at least a day before they started.
So a weird Email or two, the right song and a strange alignment of the stars calls to mind a conversation I've had with a few different people -- a conversation that has never been resolved: what would be on the soundtrack of your life?

Go on, you've got 80 minutes of CD time here to tell us all about yourself. Use them wisely. The world wants to know who you are, musically speaking.
A direct request for inspiration ...

It is time to redesign the website (blog and all). You, as a regular viewer, are being asked to forward links and design ideas that might fall in line with the general feel this place has had over the years.

One idea has been bouncing around in my mind, but the more I think about how to build it, the more difficult (and maybe even unappealing) it seems.

So, when you see sites in the coming days that offer a less-is-more feel and flexibility for change, I hope you'll let me know. I'm trying to find a muse somewhere.


Welcome home to me! After a short trip out of town immediately followed by another trip out of town followed by relatives visiting from out of town ... well I've been gone for too long.

Unfortunately, there were computer problems in Indiana, so I couldn't finish uploading pictures. So that means new ones tonight. I have a ton of seagulls to post, so I'm breaking them down into three packages on the 'visual' page. One group has me, another is just the birds and the third are two little children who got to play with them.


I just have to say, I'm so spoiled on the high speed Internet my family has. Cable, ISDN, who knows what they are sporting, but its way faster than this 56K and this is totally demoralizing to my online self to be back at this speed.


In terms of aesthetic beauty, the Department of Interior is doing it right on Santa Rosa Island.

They've taken a long stretch of the land and left it pristine. Off limits to commercial or residential developments, you'll still find perfectly unspoiled beaches and sand dunes. The only things that don't belong are the two-lane road, a bike bath and three small parking lots for visitors. This gorgeous landscape looks alien because the beautiful beaches aren't overwhelmed with hotels, condos or tourist attractions. The sugary sand is all you need.

Eight pictures are now on the 'visual' page.
Took a day trip to Fort Pickens, Pensacola recently. There are now 11 pictures up on the 'visual' page.

If you're a history buff, check out that link above. Fort Pickens was active through wars in two centuries and is said to be haunted by the ghost of Geronimo. There's some great information on that website, so check it out for details!
I found three deer the other night. And they let me walk right up to them. The best of the pictures are now up on the 'visual' page. They might be a little repetitive, but the amazing part was just getting this close.

Sorry about the eyes ... apparently deer don't red eye like humans do.


Got lots of pictures to upload in the coming days to the 'visual' page. So hopefully you'll find the sabbatical from my computer was worthwhile. Until I can upload (tonight and tomorrow and later in the week from Indiana) here's one of me and mom.

Sort of goes with the one of Rick a few weeks ago, don't you think?

She wouldn't let me take one of just her -- a negotiation her husband never contemplated. And she's the impulsive one. Go figure.

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