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Ain’t no one ever called me smart…

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Sit back and let me impress you with my knowledge. photo from yahoo.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

I know it has been a long time since I put anything out for your consumption. Just want to let you all know that everything is right as rain on my side of the internet, just been busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Today I would like to share a short story, correlate it to something I did since the last time we spoke and to point out something that might be really important to all of us.

 

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No one said the one legged man has to win the contest. photo from yahoo.

 

When I went to pilot training in 1995, I made a promise to myself that I would be all in, 100 percent. I would not take all the shortcuts that I had during my life up to that point. I would be diligent in my studies and focus entirely on the task at hand. I would not waste my opportunity to live my dream. To that end, I gave pilot training my full attention from Sunday afternoon until the completion of the day on Friday. The weekend belonged to me and I used them to release all the pressure that built up during the week. During the week, I focused on the flying, the academics and devoted myself to learning everything there was to learn about being an Air Force pilot.

At the end of the first phase, we got our flight commander rankings. When I was called into the commander’s office, I felt really good about my class rank. It didn’t matter how I finished because I was slotted to go to the Air National Guard in West Virginia to fly C-130s so technically all I had to do was finish. But I really wanted to finish high enough to be fighter qualified. It was a pride thing.

The commander started off with the daily flying scores, I was 5th in my class of 39. I sat a little higher in my seat. On the check rides, I was 15th, on the weekly quizzes I was around 20th. He got to academic scores and he read off my average. It was 94.9%. I could hardly contain my pride because I had never done that good academically in my life. At the time, I had both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s Degree. But I had never done anything as difficult academically as Undergraduate Pilot Training. It really kicked my butt and I was so proud of myself for doing so well. My commander burst my bubble just as quickly as he inflated it. I finished 39th out of 39th. I had to ask him to clarify because I wasn’t sure if I heard him right. He repeated it differently for me. I was dead last in the class.

 

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Single handedly, I brought the class average down. Never underestimate my powers. photo from yahoo.

 

I walked out confused and a little hurt because my very best was good enough to be last academically. In the years since, I kind of take a little pride in the fact that I missed only about 30 questions and I walked out of a highly challenging program with a 94.9% average. But sometimes I have to remind myself that my very best is only good enough to be last when I am surrounded by really smart people.

Case in point, I play in a fantasy baseball league with some really smart guys that breath and live sports. The guys that don’t work in the sports world are lawyers or doctors and the other few guys are highly successful in their world. Last year, I had a great draft and managed to finish just out of the money in 4th place. I went into this year’s draft expecting to put together a team that could win the league. Overconfidence is my sin, and even though I was more prepared than last year. Even though I had done the work and knew all about every potential sleeper middle infielder to draft in the 23rd round; I had a horrible draft. A few hours after the draft, I looked at my team and I thought that maybe I could finish in the top 6 but I didn’t have the players to win the league. Well, it is worse than I thought. A month into the season and I am solidly in last place. The other 11 teams are running away from my faster than I could have ever imagined. Last place sucks and it looks like there is nothing to turn it around until football starts in August. It is going to be a long summer.

 

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I didn’t draft a single Cardinal. Maybe that is my problem. photo from yahoo.

 

Now onto important things. Like I said earlier, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed and my very best really isn’t that good when compared to real live smart people. But there is something going on in the political world that isn’t being reported at all. In case you missed it, the US Congress has been considering releasing 28 pages of classified document that provide some new to the public information on the role of the Saudi Arabian Government in the 9-11 attacks.

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

http://nypost.com/2016/04/17/how-us-covered-up-saudi-role-in-911/

 

The Saudi government threw out a little statement about pulling out of the bond market as a little threat to stall the information from being published.

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo

 

 

http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/19/investing/saudi-arabia-threat-dump-us-assets-911-bill/index.html

 

Finally, we see that a bi-partisan group of US Senators and Congressmen are working to keep the 28-page document classified.

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/bipartisanship-breaks-block-911-bill

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

Anytime I see bi-partisan group of politicians working together, it makes me nervous. There is more going on behind the curtain than we can imagine.  This report came out today that the administration is considering releasing some of the 9-11 report. I am not going to hold my breath for the real truth.

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

 

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-26/realistic-chance-americans-could-find-out-truth-about-911-june-2016

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

I have a good friend who is Egyptian by birth. He has lived in the United States for the vast majority of his life and I would put his patriotism and love for the United States against anyone that I have ever met. Emir told me a few months ago about the danger the Saudis were to our lives. He went as far as to describe the Washington political players as puppets for the Saudi Royal family.

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

Like I said earlier, I am not very smart so I asked him to explain how someone rich guy from Saudi Arabia could buy a United States President or other high ranking public official. He said there are two really easy ways to buy anyone and another way to buy a President. The first way is they pay them for their outright for a speech. They invite them over to Riyadh and pay them a crazy amount of money to give a five-minute speech to a handful of people. Then they treat them like royalty at one of the palaces for a week or so before sending them back to Washington. It is all off record because the money is never directly given to the person but to a charity they control or deposited in an off shore account like the one in Panama that was recently exposed.

 

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please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

 

http://moneyweek.com/the-panama-papers-scandal/

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Another way to line the pockets of the political elite is to buy their books. Anytime a high ranking political figure releases a new book, who do you think reads it? According to the NY Times Bestseller list, almost all of us. I might know one person who buys books written by political leaders. Yes, Morgan I am talking about you but Big M only buys books written by Democrats. He doesn’t buy anything written by a Republican. Obviously someone buys their books too. That someone is the Saudi royal family. They buy literally hundreds of thousands of copies of books written by anyone who can be in a position to help them one day. It is a really cool scam by the way and perfectly legal. Politician Jackleg, goes to a book publisher and says they want to write a book. Book publisher gives them a huge advance and a ghost writer. Six months later the book is on the shelves at every brick and mortar store in the USA. On the day of the release, a Saudi Prince buys six million copies and has them shipped to Mecca. Everyone wins easy, peasy.  

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

 

The last way that the Saudi’s help themselves is they donate a large sum of money to help build a Presidential Library. Maybe they buy the land and lease it back to the library for a dollar a year of maybe they donate all the concrete to be used in the project. Whatever and however it happens, it is just one more way to help those who help the Kingdom.

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Watch this story because it will tell you more than you could ever dream about the real way politics works in the home of the free and it might help you decide who to vote for in the November elections.

 

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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.

 

 

 

Maybe things like this just happen. Or maybe my friend, Emir has a point. Either way, I got tired of looking of pictures of American Presidents so I stopped my research with President Eisenhower. But there is a clear record of American Presidents trying real hard to be friends with the Saudi King. By the way, I could only find a picture of Hillary Clinton with the Saudi King. Nothing for Trump, Sanders, Cruz or Kasich. I am willing to give Mrs. Clinton the benefit of the doubt that her photo was based on her role as the Secretary of State. I’m going to put my tin foil hat away now. 

 

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photo from yahoo.

 

 

Until next time, keep on rockin.

 

 

 

 

Safety First…Almost Always!

Hey Y’all,

 

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Safety First but get the job done! photo from yahoo.

 

 

Life has been moving at 1000 miles an hour in the last few weeks for my family. Normally, things go quickly but lately they have amped up into overdrive. Fortunately, nothing is wrong and everything is right. It is just a lot of right things. Adding to the daily activity has been the addition of middle school softball for daughter and kid pitch baseball for my son. With the requirements of my job, I am forced to miss so many things when I am in town I want to be involved in practice and games. Last week was the first week that I have had off since the new sports started. I told my daughter’s softball coach that I would be sitting in the stands watching practice and if she wanted any help with the girls, to please ask me.

She took me up on the offer and 30 minutes later, I was working with the outfielders. Showing them how to throw, catch and run. The next day, to my surprise the coach asked me to help out again. That day I was working with the infielders, the hitters, and again the outfield. My thing when working with the players, it to try to teach proper fundamentals including good arm/body position when throwing. When I played little league things were much different. The coach didn’t really instruct anything. He just rolled the ball out and we just did whatever we wanted. Years later, my mind and body had ingrained so many bad body positions and habits that I literally hurt all over after playing a softball game. My shoulder hurt, my muscles hurt and my elbow hurt. Last year, my son started playing baseball for the first time.

 

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Sound Advice. Never cool to tell a great story and get hurt in the end. photo from yahoo.

 

 

I really didn’t want him to follow my path to bad habits so I went to a local baseball instructor to teach him the right fundamentals right off the bat. After watching one lesson, I learned so many things about what I did wrong and how to play without abusing your arm. With that knowledge, I took my daughter to him this year and she got a lesson. Neither kid likes him because he is very precise in his instruction and he uses the word “No” just about every time they performed a throw for him. But I love him, I think he is worth his weight in gold and they don’t know it yet but they are going to have the pleasure of working with him for a long time.

 

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Everyone needs a buddy. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Armed with the knowledge that he imparted on myself and my kids, I went out onto the softball field and taught like an expert. My mantra was to encourage the ladies to learn to throw the right way and they would never have a problem. It was all about safety, using your proper techniques and being smart with your body.

On Thursday, we practiced indoor because of inclement weather. The coach was once again going to work with the pitchers and she asked if I would work with the hitters. She brought out the Jugs pitching machine. I love the pitching machines and always loved going to the batting cages as a youth. I always thought it was crazy cool to have a hard rubber baseball whip past your head at 90 miles an hour without being afraid that it was going to actually hit you. The first five girls hit the ball well and seemed to improve as the machine threw to them. I had the other girls retrieving the hit balls and returning them to the machine while someone fed them back into the mechanism.

 

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Here is a guy using the pitching machine the right way. photo from yahoo.

 

 

After talking a little to one of the girls about the art of hitting, she took the first pitch. It was way off target from where the home plate was placed. The base had been moved about a foot off from where the jugs machine was throwing. I moved the plate and stood behind it to watch a ball come out. I told the girl feeding the ball into the machine to fire one at me and she hesitated. She remembered the rules about the machine that I had preached about before we started it up. I was very clear that no one ever stood in front of the machine when a ball was pitched. I was also very strict when I said that the person pitching the ball had to make sure that no one would accidently walk in front of a pitch. I told them about dangerous the machine could be and to remember that we would always practice safety first and hitting second.

 

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Always important to hire a professional electrician. photo from yahoo.

 

 

I reassured her that it was okay to fire a ball at me. She reluctantly did and it came at me moving at the speed of heat. I fully intended to step aside at the last minute but the ball seemed to hang in the air and taunted me to catch in barehanded. I reached out and snagged the ball from midair, easily, effortlessly, and quite impressively if I can be honest. I rolled it back to the pitcher, reached down and moved the plate to where I thought the ball was and called for another pitch. Once again, the girl hesitated but I encouraged her to send it to me. She did and once again, I caught it barehanded and rolled it back. I told the hitter not to try this because we wanted to be safe.

 

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These guys are smart and not getting their shoes wet. photo from yahoo.

 

 

I readjusted the plate and called for a third ball. Once again, the pitcher hesitated but sent it. I knew the instant before the ball touched my hand that it was rising and that my hand was slightly too low. I couldn’t readjust my right hand before the ball impacted my ring finger. It hit with a resounding thud and I immediately thought that my finger was broken. I grabbed it with my left hand and started pulling hoping to release the pressure on the knuckle. I could feel it throbbing in my left. I knew this was going to hurt and it needed ice. Being the calm, cool collected dad I am not, I walked off and told the new hitter to start hitting. I found the coach and asked if she had the key to the kitchen to get some ice. Her keys were in her car and when she asked why, I just said that I jammed my finger but didn’t tell her why or how bad. I didn’t want to be fired for being stupid.

 

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Never thought I would recreate this movie scene. I am smart enough to be Happy Gilmore. photo form yahoo.

 

 

I finished practice and went to my son’s baseball practice. When my wife picked up my daughter from practice; she looked at it and I told her how it happened, she called me a dummy, it was her professional opinion since she is a nurse. They stopped at the local pharmacy and picked up a finger splint for me. Three hours later, I finally got some ice on the finger and my wife said that I needed some Advil to help with the swelling. She gave me one and I took it. After it was down, she laughed when she told me it was an Advil PM. She knew what I needed to help me sleep and an hour later, I was out like a pumpkin.

 

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I have a lot of fingers left to bend before I become this guy. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Until next time, be safe and keep on rockin.

Bad Driving 101…

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Everyone knows you need more speed before you try this at home. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Been a couple weeks since I put anything out. All is well in my little side of the world although it is extremely busy. Not making excuses but I am making headway in this thing called life. 

 

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Driving Jeff and Dr. Shannon to the airport. photo from yahoo.

 

 

A couple weeks ago some friends of my family went on a business trip to London. For the record I am not talking about London, Kentucky but the one on the other side of the pond. Jeff and Shannon flew out of our local airport and I offered to drop them off and leave their car at our house while they were gone. Jeff is a real man from back in the holler of Greasy Ridge Ohio. More mountain man than refined citizen, he fell off the turnip truck and landed in tall cotton. His wife is Doctor Shannon. Yes she is a real life medical doctor. Not only that but she is one of the lead faculty at the Marshall University Medical School. The med school is doing some type of exchange intern program so Dr. Shannon and a couple of the other faculty went over to do whatever they did. Lucky for Jeff, his wife had a couple extra dollars laying around and she invited him to get out of the backwoods and see what a refined society looks like.

 

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This is Brom Stroman WWE Wrestler not Jeff. But Jeff would look like this if he wore a headband. photo from yahoo.

 

 

After I dropped them off, I drove back to my house. Everyone who knows me will be shocked at what I am going to write next. But I actually drove the speed limit. Everyone knows that the fastest car on the road is your friend’s car. But I drove it just like it was made of gold. The day before Jeff and Dr. Shannon left on their trip, their other car was banged up in a traffic accident. No one was injured but being the nice guy that I am, I figured that Dr. Shannon would appreciate not having a second car scratched by her best friend’s knucklehead husband.

 

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Actual photo of Jeff and Dr. Shannon at the theater in London. photo from yahoo.

 

 

So there I am driving down the interstate, doing the speed limit and in the slow lane properly observing all of the traffic laws of God and man. Not exaggerating here, the driver of every car that passed me turned their head to look at me. Even some old lady sitting on the back of their 1938 pick-up truck. It was to the point that I was beginning to feel like something was wrong. That is when I realized, there was something wrong. Jeff and Dr. Shannon live across the river in Ohio. They have Ohio license plates and I was driving their car properly. The very worse drivers in the state of West Virginia all have Ohio license plates. Everyone who passed me was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. As a group, they are really bad drivers. They like to ride in the fast lane going about fifteen miles an hour under the speed limit. They like to text and drive. They like to mess with the radio, look out the side windows at the tall WV buildings, pop their pimples in the rearview mirror and give everyone who passes they by the single finger salute.

 

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Just another Ohioan driving down the road. This driver is actually obeying the laws. I am impressed. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Last week I was driving my own personal truck the proper way. Weaving across all three lanes like I was playing Mario Cart with my kids, I had the rubber band holding tight about 85. Life was good when I saw a fast moving car approaching in my mirror. The driver was flashing the lights and I moved to the center lane and waited. I thought it might be a cop but no such luck, it was a lady in a gray Dodge Challenger cruising about 105. When she passed me by I thought to myself that is one dumb lady.

 

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This bumper sticker was on the car above. photos from yahoo.

 

 

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This sticker was opposite the rainbow flag. All I could do was shake my head in disgust. photo form yahoo.

 

 

Honestly my first thought was that everyone knows Dale Jr. is a Chevy man. We have come a long way as a nation.

 

Until next time, keep on rockin.

 

A First Time Event…

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Wish someone had told me this years ago. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Last week, I had the opportunity to have a new experience. For all you younger friends out there, when you get to be old like me there isn’t much under the sun that actually qualifies as a new experience. Most everything I do that is new or exciting, is really something that is similar to something that I have done before. An example would be something that happened last Monday. It was a cold, wet snowy rain when I left the house to go to work. Before I left the house, one of the ramp workers texted me and told me to wear some boots because there was slush covering the entire ramp. I wear low top boots with my work uniform so I told him that I had it covered and went out the door.

 

Walking to the ramp office from the parking lot, I realized that he wasn’t kidding because the slush was knee deep in places. I picked my steps carefully and made it into the office with dry feet. I expected the area around the airplane to be cleared off but the mechanic said it was worse. He looked at my “nice” boots and told me that my feet would be covered in slush before I got to the airplane so he took off his boots and gave them to me. I wouldn’t have called them boots, I would call them waders. After they were on, I gave my phone to the Captain and took this picture. The mechanic has been calling me Captain Ahab ever since.  

 

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Commander Ahab live and in color. My work boots are actually on under the waders. photo from rob akers

 

 

I am not sure if I have ever worn knee high waders but they were not too different than other types of boots that I have worn. On Wednesday though, I did have a totally new experience. For years, my wife has told me that she wanted to go snow skiing. About a month ago, she actually made the reservations. Last week, the kids were out of school for winter break and I had just got back from my trip about 6:00 AM and we were out the door 30 minutes later. We piled into the truck and drove a couple hours south to Winterplace Resort near Beckley, West Virginia. After being up all night, I tried to sleep in the back seat but it eluded me. Reaching the resort, it took us twenty minutes to get all the snow gear out and on our bodies. It is amazing how much stuff you actually need to toss your body off a mountain.

 

When we went inside, we stood in line with a bus load of kids and got more gear. It felt more like day one of boot camp than a snow adventure because I was packed down with arm full of gear and being shuffled down the winding rope lined walkways with hundreds of other people pretending to be cattle. Finally, we got to the guy who was giving out the skis. He took my boots, clamped them in the binder and handed them over. Now I had my skis, and the kid’s skis too. My wife had their boots and the rest of their crap while they were running around like a couple of hellions asking us if we would hurry up. It took another thirty minutes to get those cement block boots strapped around my ankles. I did a graceful Frankenstein strut up the stairs out into the cold air.

 

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This guy actually looks comfortable. photo form yahoo.

 

 

I was a sweaty mess and immediately took off my jacket, my special needs helmet, my sunglasses, my gloves, my jacket, my sweatshirt, my snow bibs and smiled when the cold air reached the long sleeve shirt and jeans. After my brain temperature lower to heat stroke level, I realized that the closest refreshments were back in the cafeteria. So I put all those clothes back on and went inside. I downed a sports drink and hustled back out for the ten o clock snow skiing class.

 

I was late and one of the instructors was lining up the students when our instructor, Corey swooped in to teach us how to ski. A man in the prime of his life, Corey live his life hanging out on the slopes talking up the baby mama’s all day and spending the nights partying like a rock star. Corey deftly kicked out of his custom painted skis of the bikini clad brunette and began to drone on about how to safely ski. Corey stared at me like a hawk who is looking at the little field mouse that will be dinner. He scanned the line searching for my wife. When he found her, he gave her the subtle wink and a nod because he was everything that the baby mama’s dream about at night. If he is the dream, I am the nightmare. Short, fat, sweaty with blood shot, droopy eyes struggling to stay upright in my jacked up walking boots and wearing my special needs helmet. Fortunately, my wife has a soft spot for men that used to lick the windows on the short bus. In this case, it sucked to be Corey.

 

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The bunny slop was tougher than it looked. photo from yahoo.

 

 

After the two hour, painfully horrible ski lesson of how to slow down, stop, walk up hill, and kick the skis off when we fell, it was time to actually try skiing. When it was my turn, Corey watched with admiration as I took all of his advice and actually traveled twenty feet before I fell. I couldn’t believe it; I really was embarrassed. Ten minutes later, after wallowing around on the snow like an awkward walrus, I finally got a boot out of my ski and was able to stand up. I got the ski back on and made it almost 50 feet down the bunny slope before I fell a second time. I didn’t feel bad until the fifteen-year-old “real” special needs kid asked me if I was alright. That kid’s Mom never saw his act of kindness because Corey was talking her up. Finally, I made my way to my family at the bottom of the tiny hill. Corey was gone chasing after another ski vixen and we were cut loose on our own.

 

We set out and attempted the bunny slope again, and once again I fell. The good news was that I was figuring out how to get the skis off and stand up faster. I got onto the ski lift okay and we went to the top of the mountain. But I nearly got decapitated trying to get off the ski lift, this skiing thing was kicking my butt.  We spent an hour on the slopes, mostly waiting on me to make it down the mountain. Everyone was hungry so we ate lunch and headed over to the snow tube park so the kids could try that. While they threw their tiny bodies off the mountain, my wife helped me figure out why I couldn’t stay upright. The key was not letting the front of the skis cross. Thanks to Corey hitting on every baby mama in line, I thought a wedge was when the tips of the skis crossed and formed a “X”. Every time I had any momentum, I crossed the skis and I tumbled. After the tubing, we went back to the slopes and tried it again.

 

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This exit procedure looks easier than trying to ski off the lift. photo from yahoo.

 

 

This time, my wife stayed behind to drink some hot chocolate and wait on us. She didn’t think that we would be out on the slopes very long. Two and a half hours later, I made my way back to the lodge completely wiped out after being up all night working and skiing all day. The trick to not letting the tips of the ski cross was the magic pill that I needed to stay upright. I didn’t fall once the rest of the afternoon on the slopes. Now to be honest, I only successfully skied away from the lift only once. Every other time I busted my face getting off that contraption. My kids laughed at me, the ski lift operators laughed at me, I’m sure Corey would have laughed if he hadn’t been distracted by a ski bimbo.

 

I really thought the next morning, that I would not be able to get out of bed. But to my surprise, I wasn’t sore at all. I was amazed how much fun it was and now I am hooked. Now that I have mastered the bunny slope, my next goal is to try one of those black diamonds.

 

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“I love you Corey, have you seen my baseball?” photo from rob akers

 

 

Until next time, keep on rockin.

The Sherriff Speaks…

Note: I wrote this Monday night but because of work and sleep I haven’t been able to post it until tonight. Sorry for what you might think is revisionist history, but you get what you pay for. Keep smiling!

 

 

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My buddy was in Denver on Tuesday. He said the parade was crazy cool. Photo from yahoo.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

In case you weren’t paying attention last week, I correctly predicted the final score of the Super Bowl. To be exact, I wrote that I thought that Carolina would win 53-13. But using the tried and true accounting process of the Goldman-Sacks, I figure that I was close enough for government work. Honestly, I was able to correctly identify the top two teams in the NFL. That has to count for something, even if I got the teams out of order. To congratulate myself, I am sitting back enjoying a piping hot Papa John’s pizza and a frosty cold Budweiser.  Life is good.

 

I would like to take a moment and discuss the quarterback play from the game. Before I get into the analysis, I would like to offer up my impeccable credentials to talk about playing quarterback on that stage. In college, I was the starting quarterback for an intermural flag football team. Actually, I had only one start but by halftime of that game, a super hero, nerf-like velocity throwing the football combined with my scary nuclear bomb accuracy had combined to throw two pick six touchdowns to the other team. I had one completion and seven sacks. Due to my unique skill set I had led my team to a 0-42 deficit at halftime. The other guys on my team decided that I was too good for them and they traded me, a hot Papa John Pizza and a six pack of Budweiser for a opened bag of Ruffles and half a Kit-Kat bar.

 

So last night, both quarterbacks left a little to be desired. Peyton’s legendary laser like rocket arm was missing in action and Cam’s dart like accuracy looked more like someone swinging a dead cat by the tail trying to hit the broad side of a barn. Who cares how they played, I want to talk about the after game shenanigans.  

 

I have never been interviewed after losing a Super Bowl, but if I were honest I don’t think I would be as cordial as Cam was last night. I can get kind of irritable (that is Christian speak for hate-filled venom spewing demon child). Occasionally I get frustrated (which is the Christian word for Pissed Off). When that happens, hide the women and children because the wrath of Rob is on full display. Once my Mom for to see what both irritable and frustrated looked like.

 

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This still ticks me off. PHOTOGRAPH BY PHIL HUBER VIA KRT (1982 file photo) (KRT14-Jan. 12)–THE CATCH–San Francisco 49ers receiver Dwight Clark hauls in a six-yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana with 51 seconds left in the 1982 NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. Immortalized in sports lore as “The Catch,” Clark’s reception capped an 87-yard drive that propelled the 49ers into the Super Bowl. The Cowboys play the 49ers in Sunday’s NFC Championship game, the first such matchup since “The Catch.” (chb21149) 1993 (COLOR)

 

That was the day in 1979 that Joe Montana threw “The Catch” to Dwight Clark that beat Dallas in the NFC Championship. I am so thankful that camera phones were not invented then because my Mom would have slapped it all over YouTube and Facebook. I was a ten-year-old kid and the only stake I had in that game was that Dallas was my team. I had nothing riding on it and my life didn’t change any based on a victory or defeat. But I went into a full blown rage literally trashing my room, flipping my bed all the way over and ripping posters off the wall. In case you’re wondering, I left the Farrah Foster poster untouched. It was a controlled rage.

 

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Even a ten year old boy knows some things are better left unharmed. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Cam was irritated by his teammates mistakes and frustrated by first failure in a championship game. He is a twenty-six-year-old kid who doesn’t live in his parent’s basement and was being pestered by grown adults trying to goad him into a soundbite. I’m forty-six-year-old adult who scared my kids just before Christmas by my rage when Arkansas State lost in the New Orleans Bowl.  When they are playing in their sports, it takes all of my self-control to stay calm enough that my wife doesn’t have to publically reprimand me. I have been known to say, “Show me a good loser, and I will show you a loser.” Note: he actually said that line on Tuesday. All things being equal, I think he handled himself quite well.  

 

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If all these people were pestering me, I would be ticked too. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Which leads me to the winning quarterback last night. A thirty-nine-year-old man who was quite possibly playing his final football game of his career. There are only two other players still in the league from Peyton’s draft class. One announced his retirement earlier this year and the other is a kicker. Saying that Father Time has been kind to Peyton would be an understatement. The cumulative toil of the game has left his battered and broken. By his own admission, he will need a new hip in the upcoming years. Several of his neck vertebra are already fused together, his arm looks like limp spaghetti, his legs are like twigs and those are just the injuries we know about.

 

Peyton struggled last night and thanks to a great defense and special team’s play, he was able to toss a final pass to complete a two-point conversion. Iconic stuff, things that legends are written about. The entire world was ready to send Peyton off into the sunset with a ticket-tape parade and a slot as a first ballet Hall of Fame induction ceremony. An icon in two NFL cities and the most famous Tennessee Volunteer, all he had to do last night was say thank you and acknowledge it has been a great ride because everyone knows that it sucks getting old.

 

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Just like Peyton, in moments like this, all I can think about is nasty beer. photo from yahoo.

 

 

But something strange happened on the way to the ceremony. Papa John showed up and Peyton kissed him on the cheek. Then he thanked Papa John on the podium and spouted off something about wonderful Budweiser is. Maybe it is me but I want my heroes to be more like Lou Gehrig spouting off things like “I am the luckiest man alive.” That kind of talk from superstars makes us all feel better about ourselves and helps us put them on the podium of idol worship. Peyton was so emotional about the end of his career that he went pizza and beer in his ride off into the sunset moment.

 

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Peyton couldn’t find his Dad so he settled for the next best thing. Papa John. Photo from yahoo.

 

 

Again, maybe it is me but I don’t mind when my NASCAR driver stands in Victory Lane, drinking a Coke and smiling. Because nothing says thrust quenching like an ice cold Coke after 500 miles in rush hour traffic with no air conditioning on a 105-degree sunny day while sitting in a plastic molded seat wearing a five pound, full face, head gear tied to the car with ¼ inch movement in any direction. And nothing sounds more fun than talking about heading to the local hardware store while feeling the urine soaked adult diaper under the full fire proof body suit.

 

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Sharing a Coke and a smile. Photo from yahoo.

 

 

I have been trained by NASCAR to love corporate sponsorship and I have no disillusions that any Presidential candidate isn’t totally indebted to that same corporation. Sorry, but I prefer my quarterback hero to be ill tempered after a tough loss rather than launching into a slobbering love affair with a pizza guy and a beer company in his final championship glory.

 

In retrospect, I think that maybe I need to be a corporate sale-out and find myself a Papa and a beer. Give me enough money and I will kiss a grown man on the cheek and tell kids how cool it is to drink beer. I will even wear a diaper and tell everyone how great it feels when I pee myself. I can be like Peyton and have no shame.

 

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When I get me a Papa and a beer, I am going to rock britches like this. Photo from yahoo.

 

 

Until next time, keep on rockin.

Peyton’s last rodeo…

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I really thought it would be Dallas verses Tennessee. Kind of wrong on that prediction but at least they both have a great draft pick. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Wanted to talk about the Super Bowl today. On Sunday night the most American of all holidays will happen. It is estimated that about 160 million television sets will be tuned into the game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. Not to be outdone, the American commercial machine will be cranking out the best commercials for the year. It is probably the only time in the year where people will wait to reload their plate of nachos until the commercials are over and the game is back on.

 

I know that not everyone follows football very closely, but we all want to feel like semi-experts when surrounded by people we hardly know and really don’t like. Denver will probably be wearing orange and Carolina will be in white. But if I am wrong and Denver is in the white then Carolina will be in black and teal. The most famous players are Peyton Manning who wears number 18 and Cam Newton who wears number 1.

 

Oakland Raiders at Denver BroncosSeptember 30, 2012
Photos - Peter Brouillet

When Peyton calls out Omaha, all that means is that he is changing the play or maybe he really likes the steaks. I’m not sure. Photo from Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos September 30, 2012 Photos – Peter Brouillet

 

Key to the Game:

The players to watch for Denver is actually Emmanuel Saunders, wide receiver number 10. He will be covered by Robert McClain number 27 I believe. In the past two playoff games, McClain gave up seven catches and one touchdown in each game. If Denver is to have a chance, Saunders will need to have that type of game. If McClain can keep Saunders in check, then look for Carolina to win. In a normal year, if Saunders has over 150 yards receiving and two touchdowns then he would be the MVP of the Super Bowl. But since Peyton would be the one throwing him the ball, if Denver wins then Peyton will be the MVP.

 

San Diego Chargers v Denver Broncos

This is Emmanuel Sanders and no he isn’t a Colonel. Photo from Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

 

Predictions:

There will be only two really good commercials this year. The rest will be average at best.

 

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Television has gotten so bad that now they have entire programing dedicated to commercials. Photo form yahoo.

 

 

Denver will score at least 17 points. I figure their point range is between 3-27, meaning they might only kick a field goal or they might score 27. If they are in the lead going into the 4th quarter, then this will turn out to be Peyton’s final victory of his career. To win they need a special team touchdown and maybe a defensive touchdown. Their defense will need to contain Cam Newton and create turnovers to keep the Carolina offense off the field.

 

Carolina will score at least 35 points. I figure their point range is between 10 and 50. This game comes down to the run game. If Carolina can run the football, then they will win easily. If Denver stops the run, then they have a chance.  This includes keeping Cam Newton from running out of the pocket. The Denver defense won the game against New England because they kept Tom Brady from beating them, they hit him early and often, getting into his head so much that he was constantly looking for someone to hit him. Cam Newton is a different type of player and this will be the difference in the game.

 

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Cam Newton may be running wild. Photo from yahoo.

 

 

Las Vegas has Carolina as a 4-point favorite. I have them as a 24-point favorite. I think they will dominate the game and literally blow Denver off the field. My prediction is Carolina 53 and Denver 13 sending Peyton into retirement and propelling Cam Newton into superstar status.

 

Of course, I might be wrong about all of this. I am a Dallas fan so it is proper and right for you to question my judgment.  Until next time, keep on rockin.

Writing and Wrestling…

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Do what Rob says and you will be the heavy weight writing champion of the world. Photo from WWE.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Two weekends ago, my son and I went to see WWE Live in Charleston. Surrounded by 6,000 other booger eaters like us, we had a great time watching 250 pound athletes pound the ever loving, scripted snot out of each other. I have got to commend the WWE because they provide a two to three-hour solid action packed, relatively clean and child appropriate entertainment. You can’t find that at a movie, a college football game or even at putt-putt. My kids can’t even find it at the house when I am watching my own television. The individual wrestlers each took time on the microphone riling up the locals with taunts of stupid coal miners or pointing at the WWE sign laughing at how the locals pronounce Duba…Duba…EEE!  I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that my kids hear all kinds of foul language, even going to a private, small Christian school. Hopefully, the reality is that 99% of the inappropriate language in their lives comes from me. But not once did any of the WWE entertainers let a minor foul word slip out. Seriously, as a parent I really appreciate the efforts that they go to in order to keep things relatively clean. As clean as it can be when two big dudes are slamming each other into tables and cracking the other guy’s skull with a chair.

 

Today’s article is more for all my writing friends and not as much for the non-writers. If you are not sure you want to hang around for a few more hundred words, please be my guest and we will catch you next time.

 

I personally know a couple of real live, published authors. I have found that they are the kind of highbrow and very eclectic types that you expect them to be.  I think that it is okay to have a quirk or personality flaw as long as you have found success in the writing world, it is probably mandatory if we are honest with ourselves. For those who haven’t found that success yet, one can easily pull off the writer image by wearing a tweed jacket with the leather patches on the elbows. Or have a signature look messy hair or off brand reading glasses that announce to the world that they belong in the club but just haven’t been discovered yet. I have never owned a tweed coat and I’m really sure that I will never know what it feels like. I don’t have crazy hair, I don’t wear designer glasses and my mismatched socks are always unintentional. I like to think I am closer to the everyman image than the Hemmingway stereotype.  But then again, I couldn’t pick Hemmingway out of a lineup with a picture.

 

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Strutting around the ring and talking trash. Wait, these are the good guys. photo from rob akers

 

 

Being in the writing club takes hard work but spotting the classic ups and downs that are central to a killer story is something any knuckle-dragger can do. When my son and I were at the WWE event Saturday, the constant thought running through my head was how brilliant the original writers of wrestling were. Maybe it goes back to Shakespeare and maybe it came before or after. I don’t know, but what I do know is they rely on the tried and true methods of suspense and drama, mixed with flawed good characters and marginally evil foils. It is a compelling mix and I think the successful writer can employ it in just about all genres. In wrestling there isn’t about good guys and bad dudes. It is about the baby face and the heel. I don’t know where the terms came from but they have stuck and are signature terms within the wrestling community.

 

The face is always the good guy and has evolved in the last 20 years. The old school face would never cheat, always obeyed the authority while using hard work and effort to overcome the heel and win in the end. In the modern era, many faces have resorted to fighting authority or cheating to win but they are still the face because the over whelming body of their work is positive and uplifting in their journey to success.

 

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Little guy verses the big guy. In this match the big guy won but he lost the US Championship on Sunday to the little guy. It is all about theme building and overcoming the odds. photo from rob akers

 

 

The heel is the bad dude. They will lie, cheat and steal to win. They provide the opposing force that allows the face to show their good side.  Often they will attack from behind, insult the fans and strut around like an overactive rooster. Their job is made perfect when they block the face from achieving their goals.

 

Armed with this knowledge, the writers in the world of professional wrestling are able to script a marvelous storyline within each match. In a microcosm, each match is a building block that allows the writers to work through a storyline. This is important because in today’s world, each run up in the story ends with a major event that is usually carried on a pay per view type format. In the WWE, they have at least six major matches every year and they are constantly working towards building up the next event. Sunday, there was another pay per view known as the Royal Rumble. The storyline for this event is the World’s Heavyweight Champion to defend his belt against twenty-nine other wrestlers in a one against all match. The Champ starts out in the ring alone and every two minutes another wrestler will be sent into the ring to fight. The only way to be eliminated is to be thrown over the top rope with the feet touching the floor. Imagine all the chaos that occurs after the first ten wrestlers are in the ring trying to toss other people out with another twenty waiting in the background for their time. The new heavyweight champion will be the last man that is left in the ring.

 

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Nothing says fun like throwing your enemy through a table. photo from rob akers

 

 

You might think I am talking about wrestling here, but I am talking about writing. Imagine all of the different storylines that will be played out during this thirty-minute event. In your writing, you have so many opportunities to create story arch’s in your main character’s life. I encourage you to ramp up your work, thinking about heels and chaos. A good heel doesn’t have to be bad, they might just be overly arrogant and underserving of their success.  Their success mocks your main character’s hard work and dedication to their craft. Or maybe the lied on an application or they stole a secret that they parlay into success. Maybe they badmouth their co-workers and say the right words in the board room. A good heel doesn’t have to be purely evil, just committed to themselves and not the common good.

 

Likewise, a good face doesn’t have to always be the hero. Wonderful stories have come from the idea that a good person did something bad and then that have to live with those consequences. If you find that you are stuck in your writing process, maybe a good way to jumpstart your mind is by watching a match on YouTube or submitting to the horror of watching it on television. Just like reading with a critical eye, watch the match for the pacing of the wrestlers, the timing, and the interaction between them and the crowd. Look for opportunities to cheat, segments of story building and moments of drama building. Pay attention to the referee as he is as much a part of the match as the face and heel. He has a role to play and to be effective he has his own story arch too. His presence isn’t as overt as the wrestlers but he is critical to the entire context of the story. In your writing, maybe you need a character like a referee who is intended to be neutral but in reality they are inept, corrupt or distractible which leads to conflict for your main character.

 

http://www.wwe.com/shows/royalrumble/2016/royal-rumble-match-wwe-world-heavyweight-championship-28402653

 

I wish you all the best and I hope this helps you in your writing. In the next few weeks, I will be devoting at least one week in support of a good FOR (Friend of Rob) Heather Fitzgerald as she is promoting her first novel although I am considering working in an article about the Super Bowl and how the Panthers are going to carve up Broncos and send Peyton into the sunset with the largest loss of his career.

 

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My son took this after the matches were over. photo from rob akers

 

 

Until next time, keep on rocking!

 

 

 

 

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