Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

He Is Risen Indeed

He is risen.

He is risen indeed.

See where they laid him.

The stone is rolled away.

The tomb is empty.


He is risen.


Go and tell the others.

The good news of victory over death.

He is risen indeed.

Tough Love

This  is about redemption and repentance.

Terry is a friend I have known since 8th grade.  We are still friends, though our lives have taken different paths.

Terry married his wife soon after graduating from high school.  They had a baby while I was still in college.  They bought a house while I was still in law school.

They raised three children, all of whom went to college.  This is a story about their middle child, a son, whose name shall be changed to protect his dignity.  Let us call him “Junior.”

While Junior was attending a university in a different city, numerous telephone callers to the home of his parents asked for Junior.  After a number of calls, Terry asked one of the callers to tell him what he was calling about.  Terry identified himself as Junior’s father and offered to help.  Then he did help.

The caller was a bill collector for a credit card company.  Terry said his son had no credit cards.  Terry was wrong.  Terry, upon being convinced that Junior owed money, paid the credit card bill over the phone.  That seems like an indulgent parent, bailing out his young adult child.  I will tell you the rest of the story, and you will admire Terry as a hero to parents everywhere.

You should know that Terry pays his bills on time.  He usually pays his entire monthly statement for credit cards, leaving a zero balance.  As a result, he has an excellent credit rating, built over time.  He was paying for his son’s college expenses and did not know why Junior would need to run up a credit card debt.  He certainly could not relate to ignoring billing statements.

So after paying off Junior’s credit card debt, Terry reached his son and informed him that he had learned of the debt and paid the debt.  Next he informed Junior that now he owed his parents and, since he owed his parents for a debt of several thousand dollars incurred by him as a surprise to them yet paid by them, he needed to quit college and move home.  He was offered free room and board while he worked to pay his debt.  Junior complied and got a job.

And so it was until one snowy day Junior’s father returned home from driving a truck throughout a snowy night.  Terry was surprised to find Junior in bed.  He gently inquired why he had braved the storm but his son had not.  Junior explained that he called his work and told them that he would not be coming in because his car was snowed in on the driveway.  So, since he was not working, he was sleeping in.

Terry did not empathize with the situation.  He told Junior to move out of his house.  Immediately.

Junior called his mother at work.  (Apparently, she had gotten her car out of the driveway.)  He whined at how unreasonable his father was being.  He asked his mother to intervene for him.

His mother agreed to speak to his father on Junior’s behalf.  She said, “Sure, I will ask your Dad to let you stay … until the weekend, so, you know, you have time to find a place to move.”

They were a united front, which is good for parents to be.

So Junior moved out, worked until he could pay his parents back for the unauthorized credit card debt, returned to school, graduated, got married, became a father, and has, so far as I know, been living happily ever after, with great respect for his parents and with genuine understanding of the temptations of misusing credit cards.

There are great advantages to having strict parents.  His parents love Junior enough to redeem him.  Look at what “redeem” means.

Does that remind you of anyone?  It is Good Friday.  Our Heavenly Father redeemed us.  Praise God!

Beau Knows


Last evening, at dusk, Miss Sugar went for a walk, accompanied by our two dogs, Sadie and Beau.

Someone else was out walking, a creature that caught the attention of Beau.  He unwisely threatened it, barking at it and cornering it, to the chagrin of Miss Sugar, who recognized Beau’s adversary for what it is — a skunk.

Beau is used to rabbits, who flee, and pronghorns, who flee.  Skunks do not flee.  They spray.

Now Beau knows that.  He has been skunked.


The T-Ball Generation

In the old days, not everyone made the team.  Some got cut.

Not everyone on the team played equal time.  Some were stars, some starters, and some were bench warmers.

Not every team got a trophy.  Only the team that won the championship got a trophy.

Not everyone in the race got a ribbon.  Someone was in first place, someone was in second, and so on.  Someone came in last.

Consequently, trophies and ribbons and making the team meant something.  Those were earned accomplishments so the athletes who earned those accomplishments were duly proud of them.

It must be confusing for a kid to come in last and get a ribbon.  It must be frustrating to play a game where no one keeps score.

When the T-ballers who never struck out grow up, they might still expect a ribbon regardless of their performances.

I have a friend who is a lawyer.  He hired a young associate.  She was doing fine but needed to improve in some tasks.  My friend is probably the most socially adept person I know.  He is kind.  He is a good husband and father.  He has been successful in politics and law.  Armed with his psychological and leadership skills, he took the associate attorney to lunch.  He praised her for her work, yet he also pointed out what he would like her to improve on.

After they returned from lunch, the young associate went to the restroom and stayed for a long time.  Another female employee noted her lengthy absence and found the associate crying there and asked what is the matter.  The associate told her that she had never been so humiliated in her entire  life (to that point) and that she was going to quit.  And she did quit, to the surprise of her kind employer.

He compared notes with a senior attorney in another law firm, who had similar experiences.  That lawyer told my friend, “We call that the T-ball generation.”

Maybe if the quitter/crier had some disappointments in her youth, she would be more prepared for the real world, where not everyone gets a trophy.


In my previous post, I complained that my NCAA basketball brackets were not doing so well.  I am pleased that Yahoo Sports offers a Second Chance Tournament.  I was allowed a fresh start with a Sweet Sixteen and forward bracket.

I never really felt comfortable in my old bracket.  I feel that the new bracket is much  more appropriate for me.

I feel like a new man!

Is the Pope Catholic?

My brackets are broken.  In one of my brackets, I had Gonzaga playing Georgetown for the championship.  As you sports fans know, that is not going to happen.  Both have been eliminated.

It probably was not smart to get a new pope right before the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  The teams from Catholic schools are not doing so hot.  I don’t blame Pope Francis for accepting his position, but I do blame the Vatican selection committee for its timing.  You don’t change  coaches or, apparently, popes, right before March Madness.

Notre Dame is out already too.  However, Creighton and Marquette are still in it.  If Creighton, my alma mater, beats Duke today, I will take it all back and credit Pope Francis.

Go Bluejays!

P.S.  This is written after the game.  Creighton lost!  That is exactly what I was worried about.  What good is it to have a Jesuit pope if a Jesuit school can’t beat, get this, The Duke Blue Devils?  Blue Devils!  Come on!  That ain’t right!

P.P.S.  This is written after Marquette beat Miami in the Sweet Sixteen, moving into the Elite Eight.  Maybe the Pope is starting to pay attention and get involved.

P.P.P.S.  This is written after Marquette lost to Syracuse.  It is finished.

P.P.P.P.S.  I checked to see whether Louisville is a Catholic school.  It is not.

Showering Downstream

The following true story is not X-rated, but does deal with a subject intended for mature audiences.

I have been in countless locker rooms.  I have showered with countless sweaty men without any negative incident … except the one about which I am writing in this very blog post.  Now do I have your attention?

So I was at a health club to which Sugar and I belonged at the time.  After my workout, as is my habit, I went to take a shower before changing into my street clothes.  I was not alone.

The shower room in the club is large and accommodates several men.  There are shower heads on each side with drains in the corner to which the floor slopes.  Two young men were using the showers closest to the entrance.  I went to the farthest shower from the entrance, which was the one nearest the corner drain.  Those of you familiar with the concept of gravity are aware that water flows downhill.  The water from the higher showers flowed past my feet into the drain in the corner where I was showering.  Get the picture?

I close my eyes while shampooing my hair because I have learned that shampoo can sting one’s eyes.  An exception might be baby shampoo, but as a prideful male, I do not want to be seen using baby shampoo.  So my eyes were closed when I heard an angry shout.

“Hey!  Stop that!”  A man walking past the showers had witnessed something that caused him to shout at my companions.

Stop what? I wondered.

Stop peeing in the shower is the answer.  The Good Samaritan was saying what he did in order to protect me from the yellow stream heading toward my drain.  Too late!

The young men showering with me live in a group home for the developmentally disabled.  It is nice of the group home to pay for memberships at the club, or, perhaps the club does not charge the residents of the group home.  I knew who they were from talking to them on prior occasions.  They had told me that they were waiting for a ride back to where they live.

They were pleasant young men.  Unfortunately, for me at least, they had not been taught proper shower etiquette.

The Biggest Gainer

The Biggest Loser TV show is inspiring.  The contestants work very hard to lose weight while millions watch their efforts.

I am kinda shy.  Despite my recent blogs about the importance of being the size of an NFL linebacker and my ability to make a big splash in swimming pools, I will confess that I have been trying to lose weight in the privacy of my off-camera life.  Miss Sugar, my personal chef, has implemented a plan involving portion control.  I have been swimming regularly.  We bought a fancy new digital scale that measures weight in tenths of pounds.

Yesterday I gained five pounds.  I don’t know if that is even medically possible.  I might have a unique talent.  I might have defied the laws of physics and sports medicine.

Literature about weight loss says that one should only expect to lose one or two pounds a week.  Even the programs advertised on TV seldom claim that purchasers will lose more than ten pounds in a month, twenty at the most in one month.

If it takes a month to lose ten pounds, then shouldn’t gaining be as slow?  What about Ying Yang?  Shouldn’t there be a balance in life?

How did I accomplish my rapid gain?  I dunno.  I had fruit and yogurt for breakfast, some chicken and noodles at an Asian restaurant for lunch, and shrimp and rice for dinner.  Very healthy!

On the other hand, I did not swim yesterday.  After lunch I had a frozen yogurt sundae at TCBY and helped Miss Sugar finish her waffle cone of frozen non-fat yogurt.  After dinner, I treated myself to a Hersey bar and a Rice Krispie treat.

As a consequence, I weighed, as I said already, FIVE POUNDS more today than I did on the same fancy scale the day before.  At that rate, I will gain 150 pounds in one month, except February, during which I would only gain 140 pounds.

When they start a show for The Biggest Gainer, I’m your guy!

The Biggest Splasher

Last night I watched the new TV contest show, Splash.  The celebrity contestants compete in diving from towers.  They are judged by a former Olympic diver and a former Olympic diving coach, and then, somehow, the audience.  They are coached by another Olympic champ, Greg Louganis.

Comedian Louie Anderson weighs over 400 lbs.  He has trouble getting out of the pool.  Another contestant is former basketball great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is over 7 feet tall.  Both scored higher than Miss Alabama 2012, Katherine Webb.  Apparently, the bigger the splash, the better score.

Those of you who have read about my NFL credentials in recent blogs, being the perfect size for a linebacker, or at least the average size, will not be surprised that I am capable of creating a big splash myself.

I know something about judging diving.  When I was a swimmer in high school, I served as a diving judge at some meets, presumably selected due to my reputation for fairness and obvious expertise in all things athletic.   It did not matter that the divers were all better than me at diving, I was not competing with them.  I was judging them.  I gave scores based on their performances, not whether I could do the same dive better or at all.  I was merciless.

If I were judging last night, I would have given higher points to Miss Alabama than to either of the gentlemen mentioned above.  She certainly won the swimsuit competition.

As for my own beach body, I picked up a re-fill of my high blood pressure medication today.  You are wondering why a supreme athlete such as myself has high blood pressure.  I will tell you what the quack doctors explained to me.

Factors that can cause high blood pressure include being male, being over 50, and genetics, none of which I had any choice about, except for having a sex-change operation in Trinidad, Colorado, which I decline to do until studies of those having the change indicate lowering of blood pressure.

Then my doctor told me this — “Being overweight is also a factor.”  What was his point?  We can’t control genetics or age or gender (usually), but we can, he suggested, control our weight by diet and exercise.

I suppose he was just talking in generalities about the general public, not me in particular, since I am, as I keep writing, the perfect size for an NFL linebacker.  It is important, in that profession, to be around 240 lbs.

Also, if I am invited to be in the next group of celebrity divers, I want to be able to make a splash like Louie Anderson and Lew Alcindor, now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  Any physicist can explain that greater mass displaces more water than lesser mass.

As I await the call, I will work on my cannon-ball at the Senior Center Pool.  The ladies there already hate it when I practice butterfly because I am an accomplished splasher.  And, I will carefully maintain my mass by dieting like the bodybuilder I am.  It is good to be BIG!  That is more important than lowering blood pressure.

Olympian 020

That is me on the right, holding a medal for splashing.  Size does matter.

Bracket Time

My money troubles are over.

I don’t buy lottery tickets.  I limit my gambling to opportunities to use my skills, such as picking winners in sporting events.

Yahoo Sports has a free contest for picking brackets for the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  The winner gets $10,000.

I am shopping for cars this week.  I will show the dealer my bracket and drive off the lot, promising to pay as soon as Yahoo pays me.  It’s a sure thing as long as those college boys cooperate.

Confidence is very important in athletics.  However, just in case my first bracket doesn’t work out as I hope, I have three more brackets, each a little different, hedging my bets, you see.  Surely, one of them will be perfect.

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