Saturday, October 29, 2005

POWER TRIPPING

This is a brief addendum to an earlier rant about power cords.

1. The world will not end by a giant meteor slamming into us or by the sun suddenly going out. It will end by choking to death on defunct powercords.

2. In the event a power cord goes missing, one cannot find a fit from the brazilian(*) power cords clogging up the closets and drawers. One must buy a new one so that the powerless electronic device can be usable.

3. All powercords, regardless of the electronic device, cost $29.99. Plastic and wire. $29.99.

4. I think we should redirect our anger away from the petroleum companies and go after the powercord companies.

5. On second thought, let's get 'em both.


(*) That only makes sense if you've heard the joke about the 3 brazilian soldiers

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"WE DIDN'T EXPECT THIS"



This photo and quote were taken from CNN's website and story here.

You have to wonder just what WERE they expecting. They live in a mobile home; in Florida; in the path of the umpteenth hurricane to hit this year. And then there's the quote "We've lived here 37 years and we've never had a hurricane like this." I'm guessing it's getting harder and harder to find anyone in Florida for quotes like that.

From History of the World, Part I: "Nobody expected the Inquisition." However, THIS was predicted....and stories like this have been running all season long.

And you've gotta wonder if they rode out the storm in those recliners.

Monday, October 24, 2005

WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE PICTURE?



Your nice car is sitting in front of a garage and a hurricane is headed towards you. This means:

1. You are just too dumb to be driving a car like that;

2. The garage is too full of crap for the car to fit in;

3. You cannot afford the car payments and are hoping the tree falls on it so you can collect on the insurance.

4. You are too mesmerized watching Anderson Cooper Anderson Vanderbilt being buffetted by winds on a causeway to go move your car.

Friday, October 21, 2005

BACK TO HOME DEPOT

It's been awhile since I've been to Home Depot and/or Lowes. I was overdue for a visit. So I went today.

I just love getting that dose of inadequacy; that feeling that there are things in life about which I will never understand mainly because I'm not worthy.

My mission today, which I chose to accept, was to purchase a garage door opener. Don't worry, I'm not going to install it. I'm just barely this side of my element in buying it, let alone installing it.

Instead of wandering aimlessly around, my first stop was Customer Service to inquire where garage door openers would be located.

Answer: Millworks.

Millworks?? Seriously, millworks?

I must have looked as though the Customer Service Rep was speaking another language, because she said, "Millworks, you know.....DOORS."

Doors? "Millworks" means "doors". And there are people who know this? Because I thought "millworks" had something to do with ground flour or grain of some sort. But doors?

Now that I have the opener, I think it will be awhile before I have to go back and find out that it's a "soldering iron" instead of "soldiering iron".

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

GOODBYE OLD FRIEND




The Cardinals didn't do it tonight; they couldn't win the 6th game of the NLCS. In a post-game interview, of course one of the Astros said something about it being too bad they couldn't have won in Houston. No, one way or the other, win or lose, the last game the Cardinals played this year had to be at home. We had to give a fitting goodbye to our stadium.

There will be other championships for St. Louis. That's what we do; we produce winners. When I was a kid in the 1960's, I thought St. Louis was SUPPOSED to go into post season. The '70's were a bit of a wake-up call in that regard.

But when Molina hit his pop fly at 10:22 tonight, that was it for Busch Stadium AND for the Cardinals' flagship station for 50+ years, KMOX radio. If you watched any of the post game interviews and wondered why the fans were still hanging around after the loss, it was because they didn't want to leave. Tonight was it.

A lot has happened there.

In its first year, 1966, it hosted the All Star Game; which has been said to host the greatest starting outfield in history; Three Hall of Famers -- Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron -- started in the outfield for the NL.

During it's 39 year history, Busch Stadium has hosted 5 World Series. It has been the home of Stan Musial, Red Shoendist, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Jack Clark, Tony Pena, Darryl Porter, Ozzie Smith, Willie McGhee, Mark McGwire, Fernando Vena, Darrel Kyle and Albert Pujols; among others.

Records were made and broken there; as were memories:

1968: Gibson strikes out a World Series-record 17 Detroit Tigers in the first game of the 1968 World Series;

1969; Left-hander Steve Carlton strikes out a Major League-record (at the time) 19 batters against the New York Mets. However, he lost the game, 4-3.

1974 - Gibson records career strikeout No. 3,000.

1974 - Lou Brock ties and breaks the single-season stolen base record with his 104th and 105th of the year

1979 - Brock collects hit No. 3,000.

1982 - Backup catcher Glen Brummer steals home in the 12th inning to win a key pennant race game against the Giants. (I would have sworn it was Lonnie Smith).

7/18/84 - Darrell Porter hits a walk-off 11th-inning Grand Slam.

10/14/85 - Ozzie Smith hits a walk-off homer in Game 5 of the National League World Series to beat the Dodgers, 3-2. It was the first home run Smith had ever hit from the left side, and he got it off of Tom Niedenfuer, prompting the Jack Buck's famous call: "Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!" Jenni and I watched from home. She was three and still remembers standing in front of the TV looking for her daddy who had seats in right field, wearing red. When Ozzie was up to bat, she chanted with me "Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie," to encourage him to hit the home run. Then he did. We went crazy.

4/16/87 - Tommy Herr hits a 10th-inning grand slam to lift the Cardinals to a 12-8 win over the Mets on Seat Cushion Night at the stadium. As a result, thousands of seat cushions are thrown onto the field in celebration.

10/14/87 - Danny Cox pitches a complete game shutout for the Cardinals as they beat the Giants, 6-0, in Game 7 of the NLCS to advance to their third World Series in six years.

5/14/88 - Utility infielder Jose Oquendo becomes the first position player to earn a pitching decision in 20 years in a 7-5, 19-inning loss to the Atlanta Braves. Oquendo gave up two runs on four hits. He was the eighth pitcher used by the Cardinals in the game. (I think he also played every position that night)

9/15/91 - Ray Lankford hits for the cycle.

7/30/94 - The largest regular season crowd in Busch Stadium history (53,415) watches the Cardinals defeat the Cubs, 10-7.

4/8/97 - Willie McGee hits a pinch-hit, walk-off HR on Opening Day. My daughters and I were there for that one. It was freezing, but they didn't want to go home until the game ended. Thie score was tied, 0-0 until Willie won it with that HR in the bottom of the 9th. They still talk about it.

7/27/98 - My birthday. I went to the game with my oldest daughter and some friends. I didn't know they knew it was my birthday. Thanks to my big-mouth daughter, they did know. One friend, Judy, convinced the entire section where we were sitting to stand up and sing "happy birthday" to me.

9/7/98 - McGwire ties Roger Maris' single-season home run record, nailing No. 61.

9/8/98 - McGwire breaks the most hallowed record in baseball when he hits his 62nd home run of the season, breaking Roger Maris' single-season home run record. The homer comes off Steve Trachsel of the Cubs.

9/17/01 - Jack Buck welcomes back baseball with his "For America" poem after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

7/28/02 - Down 9-4 in the bottom of the ninth to the rival Cubs, the Cardinals score six runs in the inning capped by Edgar Renteria's three-run home run. I was there for that one, too. As we walked to the car after the game, the crowds were still cheering. It was like winning a post-season game.

During the '80's (I think) there was a particularly long, extra inning game that ended in the early hours of the morning. Jack Buck was tired and instead of giving the usual announcement "this broadcast is own exclusively by blah blah blah and all rights are blah blah legal stuff legal stuff"; he said in his elegant way, "this broadcast is prohibited."

And speaking of Jack, Busch Stadium was the scene of a very moving memorial to him on June 20, 2002. I miss the sight of him on that green field in his poppy red blazer.

AND, the St. Louis football Cardinals played there; Dan Dierdorff, Tim VanGelder, Jackie Smith, Conrad Doebler, Jim Hart.

Busch was also the stage for musical events; The Beatles; The Who, The Stones; Elton John and Billy Joel, to name just a few.

At one point in time, I dated a guy who had a brief pro-ball career. Whenever we went to a game, he would look at the field with longing. He never got to play here and said that is every pro players' dream; to play on the field at Busch Stadium. He said it was his field of dreams.

I know we aren't the first, or last, city to say goodbye to a stadium. And it happened to us before when this Busch Stadium replaced Sportsman's Park. But it's like watching strangers march into your childhood home and start ripping up your favorite hiding places and tearing down the steps to your treehouse.

As I was driving home tonight from the baseball party, I was thinking that tomorrow I'll take some pictures before the wrecking ball hits. Then I heard them announce on the radio that the dismantling starts tomorrow.

I got misty-eyed. Losing the NLCS to Houston didn't do it to me; but hearing Mike Shannon say that got me.

And then he said that this was the last Cardinal broadcast from KMOX radio; the home of the Cardinals for over 50 years. It was also my employer for several years in the '70's. The baseball rights had been bought by another station. Shannon said, "I don't think I can say it; I don't think I can sign off."

The tears flowed faster. Which is odd. Shannon and Wayne Hagen will be back next year, but on another station. And I'm not that crazy about Shannon. It's just that it's another long-standing tradition ended tonight.

A lot of fun is poked at the "cookie cutter stadium", but I'll miss seeing the view of the Arch over the top of the 94 arches that surround this Stadium. That's why I love the picture at the top of this page.

But next year, we move into a new home and get ready to develop new memories and set new records. I hope when they move, someone remembers to pack the memories.

ONE REASON THE CARDINALS STRUGGLED IN HOUSTON

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

MIGHTY PUJOLS AT THE BAT

I received this in an e-mail today:

Mighty Pujols At The Bat
BY Dennis Denby.

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Redbird nine that day
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
With the season on the line, the manager makes the call
Lidge trots out from the pen, and confidently takes the ball.

His fastball clocks at a hundred, his slider can't be hit
And Redbird fans do cry and swoon, as his warm ups hit the mitt.
The Stroville faithful dance and scream, as one they raise their cheer
Their closer need but three outs, for this to be their year.

The first two batters took their cuts, but Lidge just mowed them down
And the building rocked and strangers kissed, in anticipation of the crown.
But one more out was needed, and the top of the order now due
As Eckstein walked up to bat, the fevered pitch just grew and grew.

Lidge pounded Eckstein with two strikes, he had his good control.
Then out of nowhere something happened; Ecky swung and found a hole.
He took second without a play; all that mattered was at the dish
"One more out" the fans cried out, only this their prayer and wish.

Jimmy Edmonds now dug in deep, his jaw was clinched and tight
And an edge crept into the stands; for they sensed they had a fight.
But Lidge glared in and took the sign, his stuff was such a lock
His pitches flew till the count went full; Jimmy finally coaxed a walk.

Eighty thousand eyes looked on deck, and there saw a famous number
For Pujols, mighty Pujols, stood there ready with his lumber.
He strode easily to the plate, and clenched his mighty fist
The first pitch flew and broke away; Mighty Pujols swung and missed.

And now Lidge gets the sign and now he winds and lets it go
Oh how the cheers are shattered, by the force of Pujols blow.
The silence becomes deafening, the air is all let out
For there is no joy in Stroville, the Mighty Pujols hit it out!

Copyright 2005, Dennis Denby.
Reprinted on HarrisOnline.com with permission of the author.

A ROYAL BIRTHDAY

This past Saturday was the day Her Royal Highness, Princess Meghan turned 21. And she turned it with her usual high maintenance flair. Drinking hasn't been a huge priorty in Her Highness' life thus far, so she doesn't have a favorite drink. But there are some things that are known already. She doesn't like beer, likes champagne (duh!), wants to enjoy her day, wants to remember her day, doesn't want to get sick.

She spent a great deal of the day fretting over what she was going to drink for her 21st birthday. I do believe more thought was put into that than into chosing her prom dresses, and she tried on A LOT of dresses. She was getting quite annoying with this "what should I drink" thing.

I hosted a family brunch Saturday morning. While we were putting the last touches on it, she quizzed my older daughter and me, listing the drinks she had under consideration; chocolate martini, amaretto sour, something else, something else, something else (I was busy cooking). She said, "I want to have something cute, but I'm afraid I'll get something I won't like and I'll be stuck with it."

Yes, she actually said she wanted to drink "something cute."

I pointed out that she always likes my chocolate martinis that she sneaks sips of at our favorite restaurant.

Her dad arrived and she went in to quiz him; rattling off to him her list of possible drinks. Then she asked him what he drank when he turned 21.

Beer.

Her brother-in-law returned from a trip to the store and she went through the list with him and asked his opinion.

Beer.

She turned up her royal little nose at that and continued her kvetching about it.

Following brunch and a successful gift harvest, she and her friends headed off to Anheuser-Busch Brewery for a tour and the free beer they give at the end of it. Yeah, that part didn't make sense to me either, what with her dislike for beer, but whatever.

I met the Princess, her friends and Jenni and Tim at our favorite restaurant for dinner that night, getting there some time before the others. I got a table for us on the patio which was lit up with twinkly lights. I explained to the waitress there was a birthday and made arrangements for a special dessert for her; and then ordered my chocolate martini.

When HRH PM got there, I warned her that the chocolate martinis that night weren't their best. She went back to agonizing over her choices and started to consider starting out with a rum drink and switching later to margueritas at the club where they were going after dinner.

I reached for my cellphone and called information, asking for the number of a college friend. At the mention of his name, both of my daughters were quite surprised. Meghan's comment was "this is random; what's going on?"

I haven't spoken to Doc and Anne in years, but decided this was the time to "phone a friend." I quickly explained to a very surprised Anne the reason for my call. Doc came on the line, floored that little Meghan was 21. I asked him to tell her the advice that had been given to him by Meghan's paternal grandfather one visit long ago in Chicago. Doc claims he heard what my father-in-law said, but did not immediately obey. He relates that after a few missteps, he learned his lesson and that it was an imporant one.

"Never mix your drinks," he told her. "Don't mix anything with sweet drinks. If you start out with something, stick with it or you'll get sick."

Then he apparently told her some stuff about college days, her dad and I because her jaw dropped and then she started to laugh hysterically.

????

They chatted a little more, then she hung up and made her decision.

*drum roll*

Cranberry juice, Fresca and vodka. The waitress told her they don't have Fresca. At that point, I dropped my head to the table and banged it a couple of times. I sat up and told the waitress that it took all day to come up with that drink order. She quickly said Sprite was available, and Meghan went with that.

When the drink arrived, she sipped it, we held our collective breaths, and she then decreed it was acceptable to the royal palette.

Following dinner, the "kids" went to The Big Bang on Laclede's Landing in St. Louis; a place I introduced to Jenni and Tim. To call it a piano bar makes sound more genteel than it is. They have dueling pianos and the music lasts until 3:00 a.m. They did NOT invite me! But as it is traditional for those celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc. to go up on stage for harrassment, it was probably good that I didn't go.

The next day, Meghan told me she did drink a few shots, or Tuters, as they are called there. She said one was a Bloody N!pple. At the look of horror on my face, she said "Wait...that's not right." She thought and then said, "It was a Buttery N!pple." I explained to her the importance of getting the names correct; and we also had a discussion on responsibility. She did pretend to listen. She's been the Designated Driver for her sorority and after having taken care of drunk and sick sorority sisters, said she doesn't care to get like that.

The reports were that she did not get sick, did not get drunk and made it to church the next morning. Since her sister and brother-in-law were with her and WOULD tell me the truth, I'll believe it.

Now I just have to find out exactly what it was that Doc told her that made her jaw drop.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

CLEARING THE AIR

I was doing my chores around the house earlier today, feeling a little chilly. I finally decided TODAY is THE DAY, and turned on the furnace for the first time this year. I continued working and a little while later, the smoke detector went off.

I went to check on things, and found out it was actually the carbon monoxide detector. I was on the phone at the time and my friend, hearing the beep beep beep asked me if every thing is ok. I raised my voice to be heard over it and assured her everything is fine, we continued the conversation and then hung up.

I poked the buttons on the detector, it reset to "O" and it quieted. I returned to doing my chores and it went off again. The numbers read "246". Then "888", then "246". It would be nice if I knew if that meant something. I poked more buttons in an authoritative way and it quieted again. I sniffed the air (for an ordorless gas(!) ) and went in to the bathroom to check my face in the mirror. My cheeks, lips and nose weren't red, I didn't feel sleepy or nauseated.

But, not liking the idea of going to bed later that day and that basically being all she wrote, I called the fire department.

They said they'd be right over and suggested I go check on my duplex-mates. I did, told them what was going on and they said they all felt fine. I told them the fire department was on their way.

I went back to folding towels, and started hearing a lot of commotion on the other side of the duplex; like furniture being thrown around; doors opening and closing a lot, people hurrying up and down the hallway a lot. I haven't heard that much movement over there since I moved in.

The guys arrived, turned my furnace up full blast, turned on the hot water and started checking things out. Nothing was detected.

They came upstairs and looked at the detector itself. They all proclaimed it one of the better ones (a Nighthawk). The cute one turned it over and removed a part of the back. "When was the last time you changed the battery?"

"Battery?" I asked looking at it dumbly. "I just plug it into the wall."

"It has a battery back-up," he said, removing the battery and holding it up. "This is the original battery," he proclaimed.

"Well, then," I said, "It would be safe to say 'never'." He asked how long I had it, and it was four years. I related that I got it when I was working out of town a lot one winter and there was a gas leak in our townhouse one night while I was gone. A neighbor had arrived home from work and smelled the gas and had called the fire department. It was so strong, they evacuated the entire complex, but couldn't arouse anyone in our townhouse. Fearing the worst, they broke down the door, only to find it empty. I was in West Virginia and the girls were at their dad's. I had been told that if we had been home at the time of the leak, since it started in our apartment, we would probably have died. The first fireman who entered had taken off his respirator to knock down the door and he passed out from the build-up of fumes.

One of the firemen here today said "I was on that call! Boy, that was a strong door. It didn't want to go down."

"Yeah," I said. "You took part of the wall with it."

"We thought you were all dead," he said. I assured him I wasn't upset, just kind of surprised at what happens when a door is knocked down. They don't exactly spring open like they do on TV. I went on to explain that the events surrounding that made me more conscious of safety and I bought the carbon monoxide detector then.

They advised me to replace it today, then they looked at the smoke detectors and I assured them those got replaced every time the time changes....which come to think of it is the end of this month! I had never replaced the one in the carbon monoxide detector because I didn't realize it had one since it was electric.

I felt silly.

They assured me they prefer these calls much more than ones where people don't have detectors and need them. They also thanked me for having one.

Then they left, not needing to go over to the other side of the duplex. All of that commotion over there for nothing.

*snicker*

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A MIGHTY WIND

We know this has been an active hurricane season. If it hadn't been for other reports and predictions, I just don't know how much stock I would put in hurricane predictions by "experts" at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Makes you wonder how many blizzards the University of Florida will be predicting this year.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

There were reports that there would be No Sex Before Marriage;.

And now, Katie's Pregnant.

Actually, Beowulf is much more interesting.

BEOWULF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You slept through the High School English Class; now sleep through the The Rock Opera!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A WEEKEND VISIT AND THE BIG "C"

Both of my daughters were in town this weekend; and that's always a good time. The main reason for being here was to go to the baseball game today with their dad; the last regular season home game in this Busch Stadium. So they came into town with great expectations of a great weekend.

I was not feeling great that I was going to have to rain on their parade somewhat.

Earlier in the week, my dad had gotten a diagnosis of colon cancer. Tests are still being run, but we're hoping it's been caught early and that things will work out well. But my girls idolize their grandpa and I knew this was going to be tough for them to hear. It's an awful feeling to know you are going to have to tell your daughters something that's going to make them cry. I'm not talking about situations such as telling Meghan she couldn't go sledding with her friends at Suicide Hill. She threw an impressive tantrum then, but her world wasn't rocked. The only other time I've had to do something like this was when her Dad and I had to tell them about splitting up. As they sat in front of us listening to us, their little faces crumpled at the news. Meghan was 4 then and I remember that she kept sneaking looks over at Jenni to see if she should still be crying.

Friday night, I gave Jenni and her husband the news. Her face crumpled as I knew it would. She enjoys fishing trips with her grandpa and she got her love of crossword puzzles from him. Just a couple of months ago, while she was working on a crossword puzzle on a family fishing trip, she told her grandpa that some of her favorite memories are of the times she spent sitting on his lap when she was little and "helping" him with the puzzles. Her husband was upset as well, saying he hadn't known his grandfathers and felt lucky in having Dad as his surrogate Grandpa.

Meghan got into town yesterday around noon and began making her plans to fill up ever minute of her visit with activities. As she busily started listing everything she had to do, I kept saying, "Meghan....Meghan.....Meghan....." but she just kept rolling nonstop.

She was on her way out of the door to the first activity on her list and I darn near had to drag her in and get her to sit down. I told her. Her face crumpled the same way as her sister's. When she's home during the summer, she schedules at least one lunch a week with her grandparents; and on weekends home, makes sure she can work in a visit with them. As she sat there crying, she told me that on the drive home from school, she told her friends that her big fear is something happening to her grandparents.

We had a family card game yesterday before dinner, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. During the game, we had the opportunity to talk to Dad about the diagnosis. The girls had no problems asking questions about what is going on and what happens next; and Dad had no problem answering them.

Fortunately, Dad has always been able to express his feelings to his family. One of my favorite memories was when I was sleeping when I was about 12. I woke up and found Dad standing over me, smiling. He gently rubbed my face with the back side of his hand and said, "you are so precious." He went to each of my sisters and did the same -- which they slept through.

I've noticed in the last couple of years, he has kicked that up a notch. During family gatherings, he's made a point to tell us how much he's enjoying himself. After the family golf outing at Jenni's graduation this past July, and the fishing trip this past August, he's said that if he had to leave this life at that moment, he'd leave a happy man. He's also said that heaven must be a lot like this.

Mom said he's doing very well with the news and that he's either numb or it hasn't hit him yet. I think his attitude before hearing the news has a lot to do with it. While he's in no hurry, he's ready if he's called Home.

And, it's still early. We have a lot to learn in the next few days about his condition and hopefully this has been caught early and there will be more fishing trips and crossword puzzles.