Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I voted this evening about a half hour before the polls closed. I was #12 at my precinct out of over 3,000 registered voters. That is less than a voter an hour and less than one half of 1% of eligible voters at my precinct.

It's not a news flash, but it is sad.

Monday, May 29, 2006

One For The Ages

Warning - moron caught on tape.

This one still makes me laugh four years after it happened.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Rest In Peace

We said goodbye to Ruth Thompson, my grandmother, this afternoon.

She was entombed at the mausoleum at Guilford Memorial Park, which her parents established on their land early in the twentieth century. The phrase "going home" fits her well, since she now rests a few hundred yards from her birthplace.

My grandmother was frequently irascible but capable of being very generous. Everyone at her funeral was thinking the same thing - how do you talk about her respectfully and honestly at the same time?

Luckily, Rev. Bill Bigham conducted the service. Bill grew up in a church my grandfather served as pastor, and he considered my grandfather a primary mentor. He also said my grandmother made him promise he would conduct her funeral every time they talked the last several years.

Rev. Bigham noted my grandmother's great ability to entertain but also said "She had to be in control....She was stubborn!" Everyone at the service got a good laugh at his honesty. He proved to be a real pro, and I know my grandfather would be proud.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dealing With Loss

I am lucky to have memories of five of my great grandparents. I always felt fortunate to have known any of them, and I felt especially blessed to have "Mama Eakes" in my life until I was in graduate school. She was the smart, snuff-dipping, non-nonsense matriarch of my father's family, and I loved her a great deal.

I did not lose a grandparent until I was 29, when my dad's mom died from a stroke. I am 39 now, and I lost both grandfathers during the last decade, but my mom's mom has marched on through extreme obesity, diabetes, leukemia, and several years of renal failure. While she is officially known as "Gigi" (my sister's truncated attempt at another name), it's no wonder many of us have has called her "Sherm" (short for Sherman Tank) for decades. She is tough as nails.

She turned 86 on Mother's Day, and her entire family was with her. Her continuing decline was evident, as she became a bit disoriented and her speech slurred as the minutes passed. Her ability to tolerate dialysis had diminished, and the toxins in her blood compromised her basic functions.

My mother, her beau, and one of my aunts were with her when her battle ended at 9:10am this morning.

We are busy doing the things families do now - calling friends and family, scheduling visitations and services, picking a casket. Soon other people will arrive, and my house will be the traffic hub for the next few days, since it is a mile or so from the funeral home and cemetery where she will be buried.

Our daughter Sarah adores Gigi. Sometimes when I tell Sarah I am proud of something she has done, she will ask me to tell Gigi so she will be proud, too. With the pending commotion and tears at our house, I keep wondering how I will explain Gigi's departure to Sarah.

Knowing my explanation and the sadness Sarah will witness will take the first few chips out of Sarah's innocence will be the hardest part of the next few days for me.


My grandmother's obit is posted here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

24 Finale Into Thin Air

I have been blogging pretty lightly this month. I have been buried at work, have two children under the age of 3, and lots of Rotary responsibilities that come up every May.

I thought I would take a break from all that tonight by watching the season finale of 24, which I was sure I had on my DVR. Or not.

Although I had the DVR set up to record 24 every Monday, for some reason it did not tape the finale three nights ago. It sucks to have seen the first 22 hours, only to be left hanging about how Jack Bauer saved the world this time.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Teachers and Students

Tina Firesheets has a great article on Brandon Davis and Jane Van Middlesworth in today's News & Record. A great teacher can not only change a student's life, but that student can become a teacher and do the same for other students.

I knew a talented student like Brandon when I was in high school. I was a senior in the high school marching band (here come the band geek comments), and our band was consistently one of the best in the country.

Our director had a seventh grade drummer about to enter an individual competition. He wanted this kid to play in front of people at least once before he faced judges, so he brought him to the high school one morning. He was barely big enough to handle his snare drum. As he entered the band room and stood alone facing the best high school band within several hundred miles, I felt sorry for him.

That was my mistake.

He unleashed 90 seconds of the best drumming I have ever heard. When he stopped, the room fell completely silent. It was clear after six months of drumming at the junior high, he was better than anyone in our drum line and was probably better than anyone we had seen in national competition.

His name is Tracy Thornton, and he eventually traded in his snare drum for a steel drum. He has taught drumming to hundreds of students and continues to play professionally, including dates with Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney later this summer.

I cannot imagine the waste of talent that might have occurred if Tracy had not found drumming and been encouraged by our band director (who deserves a whole series of posts from me). I bet the people who know Brandon feel the same way.


A Different Kind of Commencement Speech

This year's celebrity commencement speakers have been taking a beating during and after their speeches. It wasn't so long ago that some graduates embraced their gowned celebrities.

"Thank you Mr. President, I had forgotten how crushingly dull these ceremonies are. Thank you. "

Of course, with an opening line like that, how could Jon Stewart fail?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Review of The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code opens today, but reviews ranging from mildly negative to scathing have preceded its premier. Nice guy Joel Siegel of ABC News has an entertaining review of this movie that apparently fails to please.


Grimsley High School Lock-Down

I ran into a roadblock a few minutes ago just short of Grimsley High School. The police officers I could see past the roadblock appeared to have shotguns in tote. Now I know why.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gee Whiz

"Hey, you! Yeah, you! Having a few drinks? Then, listen up! Think you've had one too many?"
What is Things I Don't Want to Hear From a Urinal, Alex?

Please, please let me take a leak in peace. Besides, if a urinal starts talking to me, I will think I'm drunk even if I have been consuming hot chocolate.


Say It Ain't So

Susan Ladd writes an entertaining piece about husband Herb Everett's prowess at making pork ribs. I always enjoy Susan's writing, and she gets bonus points for including a picture of their beautiful daughters with the article.

I like Herb a lot, but I simply don't want to believe that a Delaware native can come down south and teach us about pigs, grills, and such. Say it ain't so.

You can read more from Susan and Herb at there fine blog, Ramblin' Prose.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Blast From The Past

Crooks & Liars digs up an old clip from The Daily Show showing President Bush visiting Porter Goss at the CIA. When Bush mentions that the CIA is receiving information every day about locating Osama bin Laden, the look on Goss' face is priceless.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I just returned from voting at one of the larger precincts in the county. There are about 3,000 registered voters assigned to my precinct, and over 1,000 of them live within one mile of the precinct.

So why in hell was I voter #76 at 7pm tonight?

Monday, May 01, 2006

From Bad To Worse

It was bad enough that my home golf club was vandalized over the weekend, but things got worse.

When I arrived at work this morning, I found all the drawers in our offices were pulled out, and the front panel of a locked drawer was pried off. We were burglarized sometime after Saturday morning.

In the end, all that I can tell was stolen was $15 of change and maybe $85 of cash that I had collected from my NCAA pool. The amazing thing is that the burglar did not set off our security system.

The burglar literally went from one corner of our manufacturing plant to the opposite corner, then back to where he started. I found a way to make that journey without setting off the motion detectors, but it took several tries.

Considering it was probably dark, hopefully the burglar was in a strange place, and he was quite possibly high (since this was clearly a smash and grab - cell phones and computers were untouched), the burglar was damn lucky not to trip the system.


Insert Your Punch Line Here

Keith Richards suffered a concussion after falling out of a tree while vacationing in New Zealand. We already know how bad his head looks from the outside. Can you imagine how bad it looks on the inside?

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