Hell of a Guy
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vivienne and Me…


Okay!  For those of you without grandchildren, go buy a couple.  You won’t regret it.

The Nancy and I ventured down to the Richmond, Virginia area this past weekend to spend a little time with my girls and the grandchildren.  It is always a pleasure and pretty damn gratifying.

Saturday morning, having had a Friday dinner with two of our three daughters and two of our six grandkids, I got to go to breakfast with Vivienne.  Vivienne is five.

If you have ever seen the Volvo commercial on TV that features the little girl and her dad where the little girl in seated in the car and talking and talking and talking, then you have a sense of Vivienne.  Vivienne can talk…a lot!

On this day I picked her up at about 8:30.  We had decided the night before we were going to Panera Bread Company for breakfast, just she and I.  It is something I began to do with grandchildren a few years ago, me and my main man Justin actually began it, and I have to tell you, it is one of the most satisfying things I get to do.  Vivienne did not disappoint.  She had me chuckling most of the morning.

The morning began with Vivienne and me deciding we were going for orange scones and chocolate milk.  Orange scones are her favorite.  Henry, her brother, she told me, doesn’t like orange scones.  She told me if you give him one he makes a funny face and turns his head (I later learned he will eat the frosting).  As we were driving to Panera she also told me about a dream she had had that night about dinosaurs.  I asked her if she ever saw a dinosaur.  “Grandpa!”  I could almost envision her hands resting on her hips in exasperation.  “Dinosaurs are instinct!”  And it went on from there, one chuckler after another, non-stop.  When I asked her if she thought we should take something back to her house for Henry she told me he likes “big muffins.”  So she picked out two.

On the way back to her house she picked up and began to play with a stuff animal gorilla I keep on the back seat of my car.  All the grandchildren know “Bob,” he has been in the car for over five years.  Vivienne asked me if Bob could have a sleepover at her house, and she would send one of her own home with us.  She sent “George” the eagle with us, but cautioned The Nancy about allowing him to be around food (whatever that means?), and then she promised to take very good care of Bob.  We will keep George away from all food, and return him on our next visit with Vivienne, hopefully as thin as he was when she gave him to our care.

Vivienne is a truly exceptional child, though I may be a bit prejudiced.  She is a lover of life and I hope she never loses that love.  She brings a smile to my face every time she opens her mouth.  “Guess what?” begins almost everything sentence she utters and I cannot help but smile when I hear it.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Monday, September 22, 2008

Health Update


I did the cardiologist thing last Thursday.  My regular doctor thought the pain I was having in my back on the upper-left side was due to my heart.  He was wrong.  I still don’t have a clue as to what the pain was, since I have only had it a couple of times since my initial visit with Doctor Paul, but the cardio dude says my heart is healthy and I may live on for a few more years.  He told me I may out live my dad who died at age ninety-three, and that will be pretty cool, if the rest of me holds up.

The cardiologist gave my bruised ego a lift when he told me I performed in the stress test at a level equal to a 22-year old.  It is a shame that not all of me does. 

I suppose the good news is I don’t have to worry about a heart condition right now.  The bad news is I have an occasional discomfort in my back, and would love to know what the hell is happening there.

In between the last paragraph and this one I have called Dr. Paul’s office and made an appointment for a complete physical.  I can almost see the smile on his face when he knows he will have me hold my ankles as he embarrasses the hell out of me with his finger where the sun don’t shine.  But, I am a real man and can deal with it.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Thursday, September 11, 2008



I just got back to my room at the Embassy Suites at the airport in St. Louis.  Three 23-ounce beers and a little dinner and I am a tad melancholy and have a desire to write.  Today, being the seventh anniversary of one of the saddest days in American history has left me in this state of mind. 

Perhaps all of us remember very vividly exactly what we were doing at that time on that very sad day; I sure do!  This afternoon when I got back to my hotel, after a not so exhausting day on the job, I donned my treadmill attire and headed for the Exercise Room.  I don’t recall what news program was on the TV but I was immediately immersed in the remembrances of 9-11 in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA.  It hit me very hard, and while some of the others in the room may have thought I was wiping perspiration from my face, I was not.  This is an emotional day for many of us.  I know it is for me, especially when I think of all of those who gave up their lives seemingly for nothing of their choosing.

If you have read this before then I know you know I believe I am fully responsible for what happens to me in my life.  I accept this and wholeheartedly believe it.  And, I believe it to be true of others.  This is tough to accept by most people.  I believe that my death will come at a point in this life I choose long before it ever began, and, moreover, I believe it of all of us.  That make me weird?  It may, but it’s my story and I am sticking with it.  Nonetheless, today, 9-11-08, gave me pause to think, to cry, to be joyful and thankful.

And that is all I have to say about that…


Friday, September 05, 2008

Wishing the Election Were Over…


I am soooo sick of Obama and McCain and all the thousands of local politicians that seemingly usurp all the airtime on TV these days.  I am sick of their TV ads and their speeches and their conventions.  This dumb election could have been held months ago.  We should throw all the presidential contenders on a ballot and the one with the most votes gets to take on the very thankless job of President.  It would save us a lot of time and a hell of a lot of money.  Let’s face it, they are all liars, and if you think differently you are either very liberal or very conservative.  The proof will come once one of them gets into the office and a year or two years down the road we are exactly where we are right now.

Whoever wins this thing in November of 2008 will be ridiculed for four years, perhaps eight.  He will be called a “do nothing” or worse.  In 2012 and 2016, some TV ads will be talking about a candidate wanting to “bring about change” and revitalize the American Dream the incumbent president has screwed up.  It is always the same; the only thing that changes is the faces and the names.  But all of these people do go into this thing with what they believe is the right thing to do for the country.  No one ever becomes president with an agenda to take down the United States or do harm to it in anyway.  Only a dumbass like Rosie O’Donnell would think so.

I really want to think of myself as an independent voter, but I am a registered republican, and not necessarily a good one.  I don’t agree with the republican stance on a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, but I am not for wholesale abortions.  I definitely do not agree with the republicans on gun control.  I would do away with all of them, and if I could not, registering one would take a very, very long time.  And, God knows, no one will ever call me a right-wing Christian, though I consider myself a re-born lover of God.

As for the other side, I ain’t no liberal.  I don’t believe for a minute a national healthcare program will work.  If it could, we would have had one in the 90’s when the Clintons were president (“It takes a Village”).  Personally, I don’t see it ever getting through the House and the Senate.  I am not in favor of big government and new entitlement programs.  It ticks me off to hear the democrats speak of taking 17 million people off the tax payer rolls.  I believe everyone should pay some taxes in order to be able to vote for politicians that would remove them from the tax rolls.  I don’t care how much they pay, as long as they pay.  I don’t think anyone should receive something for nothing.  It sounds too much like Christian charity, and the dems can’t be associated with that group or they might be liberal republicans.  I’d like to see a flat tax, and don’t care if it is 20% or 25%; it could even be graduated, but every American worker would be required to pay a percentage of his/her income.  At least that way everyone would have a stake in the election, and not just a free ride.

So, I am at odds with myself as to whom to give my vote.  Do I go with Obama?  I am very proud of the democrats for choosing him as their candidate.  Many of us never thought we would see the day when an African-American (even though he is actually only half, but close enough for most people, I suppose?) could be elected to the highest office in the land.  I do not agree with everything he says or proposes, but I like the guy, and I do believe has enough experience to be president.  A president is only as good as the people he surrounds himself with as advisors.  I do think he could have done better than Biden as a choice for VP.

As for McCain, he is actually a democrat in disguise.  Some years ago he was being courted by the democrats to switch allegiance and possibly run for higher office as one of them.  I think at age seventy-two he at best is a one-term president should he win.  Perhaps Hillary can switch sides and run as a republican in 2012 if Obama wins in November?  I do not agree with all he says either.  I think corporations and business should also pay a flat tax on their profits and get no exemptions.  And as one of my co-workers said, his selection as a running mate is kind of hot.

By my count we have just another 60 days of this crap, and I, for one, will be so glad when it is over, but for the meantime I am left with a difficult decision.  So, when the time gets here – that’s when I close the curtain behind me as I step into the voting booth – I’ll make one, but right this minute I am teetering on the fence post.

And that is all I have to say about that…