Turning 50 – A Bad Poem

I never really thought about the day

Where my friends and family would say . . .

Happy fiftieth birthday to you we wish,

Now go out and have some fun; and oh, your cake was delish! birthday cake

Getting older is a hard thing to do,

But for now I can still walk, and my food I can chew.

But there are parts that are a failin’

Running is harder, my physique is bailin’

I can’t see any more, I have to wear glasses.

I’m gaining weight around the middle from sitting on my as- . . . ummmm, molasses?

My hearin’ I’m losin’, and to that there’s no mistakin’

I pretend to hear, but it’s hard to keep fakin’

You say, “Come quick! You’re son got a stick jammed in his eye!!”

And I hear, “Would you like to try some of my grandma’s apple pie!”

To the food I eat, I’ve made some changes

My beer and burgers have become fruits and grains.

No, growin’ old isn’t easy.

Especially when I have to eat those little green peas-ies.

Sure I’m achy, sometimes hurtin’

But I promise  this ain’t the final curtain.

There’s still life in these old bones, I tell ye.

Because I plan to keep on rockin’ til I’m a hundred and three.


We’re Going to Dance with What Brung Us

In my early days out of college, one of my first jobs was writing sports at a newspaper in the small town of Nashville, Arkansas. That wasn’t anything completely new to me because I had spent most of my falls in college doing radio play-by-play for a local high school.

I’ve moved on to other jobs since, but I’ve been able to stay somewhat active covering high school sports in the area. For years, I worked at the same Nashville newspaper I started at. In recent years, I’ve started covering the team for the radio station.

My son and I have found that the best way to spend an off night from football is with MORE football.

My son and I have found that the best way to spend an off night from football is with MORE football.

One thing that I’ve always found fascinating is how different coaches are. And not just their take on all things football. But their personalities, too.

One coach was like a CEO. One was aloof while focusing on new offensive formations.

And one presented himself as very country – just your friendly, down-home boy. But he was probably the most savvy when it came to dealing with the local media.

And he always had a unique way with words and phases. For example, about every three weeks, we would be starting a new “half” of the season. I figured it up one time, and according to him, there were about six halves of every football season.

When I asked him what he was going to do in preparation for a game with an upcoming opponent, his reply was “We’re going to play our game.”

I found a good life lesson in that – always do what you do best.

He sometimes phrased that line just a little differently – “We’re going to dance with what brung us.” I think some other coaches over the years (before and since) and used that same line, but I still like it.

About 10 years ago, I had just finished up my MBA, and I remember thinking that I would keep doing the sports as long as I still had fun with it. As long as I still enjoyed it.

Obviously, I’m still having fun. But a couple of years ago it became even funner.

When my son was little, he would often stay with my mom on game nights.

But about two years ago, I thought he might enjoy going, so I invited both of them to go with me. And a tradition was born.

He and my mom went to almost every game with me last year . . . although both were conspicuously absent for my five-hour trip to a playoff venue. Hmmmmmmm.

But this year, my son has gone with me to EVERY game. And we’ve had a blast.

He thinks it’s BIG TIME to sit in the press box. I don’t have the heart to tell him otherwise. But I guess when you’re 11, it does seem pretty cool.

The high school playoffs started last week in Arkansas, and Nashville ended up with a bye in the first round.

We’d been going to games now on Friday nights for two and a half straight months. And here we are in the first week of the playoffs with no game to go to. It’s hard to quit suddenly like that. So what did we do?

We went to just watch a game.

We decided to go watch a game in the same town where the grandparents live. Temperatures that night were down in the 20s, but we dressed warm, took some blankets, and bought some hot chocolate.

AND we had a great time.

And it’s one of those events that you love as a parent – it really wasn’t that big a deal, but it WAS a big deal.

It was another bonding experience, something that we did together that we can look back on someday and say, “Hey, remember when we went to watch that playoff football game when it was freezing?

No, it wasn’t the biggest event ever had together. But it’s what’s brung us this far together.

And I’ll be looking forward to this same dance in the years to come.

Happy Birthday to . . . Me!!!

I don’t normally promote my birthday. In fact, I usually try to ignore because ignoring it = not getting older.

But this time I’m straying from the normal course. Because this time it’s a Big Un. It’s the BIG Five-Oh. I won’t have another birthday this big for another 50 years, so I need to make this one count.

Hey, who's that good lookin' kid . . .

Hey, who’s that good lookin’ kid . . .

In fact, this birthday is SO big, that they’ve given everyone the day off. Of course, it’s also on Saturday so that might have had a little bit to do with it . . .

First of all, for the Sheryl Crow update. If you’re a regular reader, you know that for some time now, I’ve been hoping to connect with the popular and ultra talented singer/songwriter and go out with her on my birthday, but so far she’s playing hard to get.

However, while I haven’t heard from her, I did receive a rather nasty letter from her lawyer. Sure, I understand how 137 letters to Sheryl expressing my love and marriage proposals might look a little excessive to those on the outside. But I learned all my courtin’ techniques from some highly popular romantic comedies. It’s hard to argue with countless hours of quality entertainment of Lifetime television.

So at this point, I feel like as a MORE MATURE ADULT, I should be dispensing words of wisdom to today’s young whippershanppers.

Hey, who's that even better lookin' kid . . .

Hey, who’s that even better lookin’ kid . . .

Well, first of all, when I was young, we used to travel around in these contraptions called . . . CARS!

And when I went to school, I had to walk . . . the 10 yards from the school bus to the school.

Ok, so maybe things haven’t changed too much since I was a kid. I guess the thing that I’ve been most amazed at is technology, specifically telephones. I’ve gone from a rotary dial to a phone that I carry around that’s more powerful than the computer I used in high school (AND college), my family’s television, any five sets of encyclopedias I might have used to write reports on Mars, AND the Apollo 11- COMBINED!

So what am I going to do to celebrate my 50th?

Holy Shi . . . ! What the hell happened!! And just WHAT died on top of his head?!!

Holy Shi . . . ! What the hell happened!! And just WHAT died on top of his head?!!

No real idea. I thought I might throw a party and invite every girlfriend I’ve ever had and have them all together in one room. But then I realized that would be a lot like getting a glimpse into hell. Well, hell for me or them one – I’m not really sure who comes out worse in that deal.

So what have I learned in 50 years on earth? Well, I have a few short slogans I live by.

First: You never know. Yep, I’m never surprised by anything that happens in life any more.

Second: “I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.”

Ok, maybe I didn’t learn much from Scooby Doo, but it’s nice to have a line handy for when I want to blame someone else – especially my kids!

And while I’ve been joking quite a bit, I do want to say that I appreciate all my family and friends who have been a part of my life. Sure, my life hasn’t always been easy. Anyone who makes it to my age is sure to have suffered some bumps and bruises along the way. But I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s.

Here I am this fall doing two things I love - spending time with my son and broadcasting high school football.

Here I am this fall doing two things I love – spending time with my son and broadcasting high school football.

Great kids. Great parents. Great family. Great friends. Some good barbecue and chocolate thrown in from time to time. It’s just like they told George Bailey – it really has been a wonderful life.

And finally, I’ve found that you can learn a lot from watching the Christmas classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Basically, toys are fun, there’s more to life than just doing chores and cleaning your socks, and last but not least, laugh often. And laugh hard.

The Burgermeister is all about clean socks . . . and squashing all fun.

The Burgermeister is all about clean socks . . . and squashing all fun.


I’m disappointed they couldn’t squeeze even MORE movies out of the Hunger Games series

Are you kidding me?

That was my reaction when I saw the first promo for the upcoming release of Mocking Jay, which is the final book of the Hunger Games trilogy.

If somehow you’ve been fortunate enough to shelter yourself from this series (and I’d really like to know how you did it), I’ll briefly fill you in.

This is a young adult series set in the future of the U.S. Only there are no longer states; instead there are districts. And each year in each district, the young folk have to draw. The male and female in each district who draws the unlucky number, has to go into the “arena” where everybody tries to kill everybody else until there’s only one young folk left.

I read the first book, and thought it was ok. Then I read the second in the series, and kind of skimmed through it, and finally got through the end. Then I got the third book, read the first page, and then resorted to asking my girlfriend at the time how it ended.

Now, to see that they’ve divided this last lousy book into TWO movies . . .

I understand how all this started with Lord of the Rings, but that really did need three movies – just like it needed three books.

But then the Harry Potter series broke its final book into two movies. That was followed by the Twilight series. Then we were left with The Hobbit as THREE movies.

And now . . . this. This Hunger Games crap.

I mean, really. Come on. I understand all about making money and all. I mean, I work in marketing and all, but even I wouldn’t do this. First of all, there’s no substance to work with. It would be like trying to re-create Michelangelo’s David using just one can of dried out Playdough.

What we really need is to send someone out to explain this to the folks who make these movies. “Hey Hollywood! I don’t know if you know this, but, ummmm, the Hunger Games is a KID’S BOOK. Oh, excuse me, young adult book.”

It would be like turning Goodnight Moon into two movies. Although that does a disservice to that children’s classic, because it has a much deeper plot than Hunger Games.

This kids classic would be a much better candidate for two movies than the tedious Hunger Games.

This kids classic would be a much better candidate for two movies than the tedious Hunger Games.

I saw the first Hunger Games movie and it had all of the substance of a bad Hanes men’s underwear commercial.

Secondly, you just can’t do this to your fans. Now I understand that even though I don’t like this, there are people who actually do look forward to this. For about a year now, they’ve been looking forward to seeing what they thought was going to be the FINAL movie in the series. You can see how a fan might have thought this was going to be the final movie and all since THIS WAS THE FINAL BOOK IN THE SERIES!

And to make fans of this series just sit through this total Money Grab of a movie should be illegal.

And that’s what it is – a Money Grab, pure and simple. And you should be ashamed of yourself for dropping this movie on fans.

Better yet, the people who made this movie should be forced to watch it, and pay FULL TICKET PRICE, too. And pay double for the popcorn!

Why can’t they schedule these dang lunar eclipses during the day?!

I was hoping it was a dream, but deep down (way, WAAAAAAAAY down) I knew it wasn’t.

I peeked at the clock with one eye. Hey, I thought 4:15 only happened in the afternoons . . .

I wanted to go back to sleep, but that desire was soon squelched by my son, who started shaking me and DEMANDING that I remove myself henceforth from my bed and get up.

“Dad. It’s time to get up. We’re going to miss the eclipse.”

With my super duper smart phone, it was almost like I was taking pictures from the same galaxy as the eclipse!

With my super duper smart phone, it was almost like I was taking pictures from the same galaxy as the eclipse!

Did I really agree to this?

It seemed so reasonable the night before. You know, at that hour between 8 and bedtime when you’ve still got stuff to do, but you’re not so wiped out. That time between being a parent who can still sign a pile of school papers, but you haven’t quite hit the point where you can’t tell the difference in ironing a dress shirt or the cat. (I finally figured it out when I never could get the wrinkles out of the cat. But at least now his fur has a luxurious sheen.)

So there you have it. It was a problem of my own creation. Like they said, I had made my bed, now I had to lie in it . . .

Except in this case, I couldn’t lie in it even though I wanted to.

The next words I heard made me realize I was in this for real. “I’ll be waiting outside for you,” said my son, as he dashed out of the room.

Outside? Now why is he going outside at this time of day again? Oh, yeah . . .

So like a slimy snail, I kind of oozed over the side of the bed until I found myself on my feet.

I made my way outside, and there was my son, waiting anxiously for me . . . and the eclipse.

The moon was full, and it made for an incredible sight, even at that awful hour.

There were a few low clouds, but nothing that got in our way for a while. We gazed up at the sky filled with stars on this night. And we talked while we waited for the eclipse.

I can’t remember now exactly what we talked about. But it wasn’t the subject that mattered. It was the two of us, sharing an experience.

The eclipse was good. We watched it. ALL of it. It really was remarkable. I’m not sure if I’ve ever watched an eclipse all the way through before. But even if I did, it wasn’t as memorable (obviously) as this time.

It was a special morning for me. For my son too, I hope. It was the kind of occasion that we’ll share – and remember – for a lifetime.

Looking back, I guess getting up that early wasn’t so bad after all. We both had fun, got to share a special time together, and saw something that by every scientific definition can only be described as “really cool.”

In fact, I wouldn’t mind sharing an eclipse with my son again. Only next time, I’m going to hope for the solar variety.



That egg roll was some kind of awful!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect.

Well, on second thought, my kids would be the first to admit that. Followed closely by the many girlfriends I’ve dated. Oh, and I’m sure a reader or two. Or dozen or so.

But that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that no matter how many mistakes I make, I always try to learn a valuable life lesson – lessons that I can take with me and apply throughout my life.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I have a tendency to sometimes get myself in (hmmmmmm, how can I put this nicely) peculiar situations.

This was the kind of egg roll that made you question you'd ever want to eat again.

This was the kind of egg roll that made you question you’d ever want to eat again.

But I ALWAYS try to learn from those situations. So that’s a good thing, right.

Like for example, the time I dropped the marinara sauce in the hospital and mighta, sorta insinuated that my daughter did it.

But I learned a valuable lesson from it: next time I spill marinara sauce in a hospital, I won’t blame my daughter. (I’ll just have to hope my son is handy . . . )

See? Lesson learned!

Or the time I tried to make the hot dog smoothies . . . Oh wait, I didn’t actually learn a lesson from that one. Never mind.

But last week I DID learn a lesson. A very valuable one.

My son had a Quiz Bowl tournament the other day in a town a little over an hour from here. He was riding on the school bus. I was taking my car. Easy enough – PLUS, I could listen to some of my favorite tunes REAL LOUD.

But as is often the case, there was a small problem.

I was kinda hungry. So instead of making something to eat and take with me (the smart and economical thing) or picking up something on my way out of town (the slightly less smart thing), I decided I’d stop by the Sonic in a small town about 20 miles down the road (the very much lesser smart thing to do).

Well, it turned out that this particular Sonic, that does in fact have a breakfast menu, does NOT open until 9 a.m.

I was a bit perplexed. But oh well, there was a little convenience store across the highway. I figured they would have some of those really good bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits. I mean, there is a federal law (that applied in the south, at least, that requires stores like this to carry a certain quota of greasy sort-of-food-type items, right?)

Apparently not.

But what they DID have was something that the lady behind the counter identified as an egg roll. There were about a half-dozen of them. Spinning in one of those spinning contraptions that keeps the food warm and the customers MESMERIZED if they watch them too long.

Hmmmmmm. And egg roll. For breakfast.

Well, you need to understand that I like non-breakfast food for breakfast, especially cheeseburgers.

But this wasn’t a cheeseburger. It was something that was shaped like an egg roll.

Despite that little nagging voice that was screaming in my head “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD AND EVEN THE WORLD BEYOND, DON’T EAT THE EGG ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Duly noted, I replied to that little voice. What does a voice know about food anyway?

Once in the car, I unwrapped my treasure – much like a starving man might unwrap an egg roll that he purchased from a convenience store. Oh wait . . .

As I pulled onto the highway, I took a bite, and my immediate reaction was . . .

. . . Hmmmmmm, that’s a peculiar taste.

I wasn’t sure if the people responsible for making such a product had used rat meat or if a rat had just laid its eggs inside the egg roll (rats do lay eggs, right?), but it was what I’d label as an exquisite taste.

In fact, it was about five miles on the wrong side of awful.

Or as we say in the south, it ain’t right.

I rolled down my window and heaved it as far as I could. And I watched in horror as a precious little deer pounced on my discarded egg roll, took a bite, and immediately keeled over.

Well, ok, so that last part didn’t really happen. But it could have.

So what’s the lesson I learned from all of that?

Never buy an egg roll for breakfast from a greasy convenience store that doesn’t have REAL breakfast food at 8:30 in the morning while traveling to a Quiz Bowl tournament.

See? A life lesson that can be applied throughout my life.

I’m a slave to numbers

I knew it had to happen. It was only a matter of time. The only question was, when . . .

You know how it is. You’ll be going along in life, everything seems to be smooth and calm. And there you are, just rocking along, when . . . WHAM! It hits you.

And that’s pretty much what happened to me.

I was driving down the road, minding my own business. I pulled into a McDonald’s to use the bathroom and get a drink. And then . . WHAM!

I found myself ordering a Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

I eat 3 (Three!!!) Filet-O-Fish sandwiches a year . . . whether I want to or not.

I eat 3 (Three!!!) Filet-O-Fish sandwiches a year . . . whether I want to or not.

Yeah, I know. You’re wondering . . .was I sick? Perhaps drunk? Taking strong meds? Or perhaps I was coerced by a band of wayward pirates who had somehow taken a wrong turn, floated up some small tributary, and had stumbled into a McDonald’s tucked cozily away in a Valero station.

Nope, nope, aaaaand nope.

Yes, I did HAVE to eat it. But not for any of those reasons.

First, I just like saying the name. It just kinda, sorta rolls off your tongue without really rolling off at all. Try it for yourself . . .

Fillet. O. Fish


But it goes much deeper than that. You see, I pretty much eat three Filet-O-Fish sandwiches from McDonald’s every year. And that’s a pattern that’s pretty much been in place for as long as I can remember. (Or at least as long as I’m willing to admit to. Whichever came first).

But it’s not just those semi-delicious sandwiches from the Golden Arches that I have quotas on, there are other things, too.

For instance, anytime I go out to eat, I ALWAYS have to get at least two refills. Now that only counts for a sit-down place.

I eat at KFC at least twice a year, usually against my better judgment. But what can I do? There’s a quota in place.

I always talk to at least one person I don’t know on every Wal Mart trip. And I refuse to talk to at least one person I do know.

Ha! Just kidding. On the second part, anyway. On the first half, I just can’t quite help myself. So in this category I guess I should say, I talk to at least one person on each trip that I don’t know whether THEY want me to or not.

I have to hit the sign at the entrance to the track every time I enter to run there. And two more times on the way out.

I eat at least 52 cheeseburgers a year.

Oh wait! I meant, I want to eat 52 cheeseburgers a year. I wouldn’t actually do that . . .

I don’t actually count ice cubes, but I do cram as much ice in every drink that I have (non-dairy, of course). I mean, the ice is free, so why not spoil myself with it?

I also number my running socks so that I can rotate them on a regular basis.

My son thinks this is weird, but what does he know? I mean, how can I respect the opinion of someone who won’t eat at least bags of pork rinds a year?