Here’s What To Watch Tomorrow

Remember yesterday when I mentioned the University of Louisville Cardinals, the in-state rivals of the University of Kentucky Wildcats?  Well, I just learned that today is the day for the biggest grudge match in our basketball season — the game between the “Cats” and the “Cards.”  I understand that part of the reason for the rivalry is that UL’s coach, Rick Pitino, was UK’s coach in the 1990s.  This year the game is in Louisville, so while the game is going on, people will be watching it, and there will be hardly any activity in this city, meaning I won’t have much traffic to fight when I go out.  And I bet the UK-UL game is always a colorful sight, with the fans of one team wearing red and the other team’s fans wearing blue.

But I’m not here to talk about sports; other people can do a better job of that than me, especially in Kentucky.  I’ll give some family updates next.  My father has gotten better, to the point that he may even come home from the hospital today.  My brother is driving up from the Everglades to spend the New Year with him, so I expect to hear more after he arrives.  Leive got the urge to cook a turkey for tonight, no surprise because she didn’t cook for Christmas; last night I stopped at Wal-Mart to get a turkey for her.  Gene and Rezia will probably be over, too, like they were for one or two previous New Year’s Eves.

Speaking of New Year’s Eve, I don’t get it.  Sure, a new year is an occasion worth celebrating; for some cultures, from ancient Babylon to modern China, it’s the most important holiday of all.  But I never saw the point in getting drunk and acting stupid, especially in this age, when you can get in trouble for posting pictures from your parties on Facebook.  Now I’m reminded of the jokes Yaacov Smirnov, the Russian comedian, told about American holidays back in the 1980s.  For New Year’s Day he said:

New Year’s Day: This is one holiday I haven’t completely figured out yet.  It marks the first day of the new year, but as far as celebrating, all Americans seem to do is lie in bed with an ice pack on their head, moan, and drink Alka-Seltzer.”

Last Tuesday I mentioned that a program about Pre-Paid Legal Services is coming up on TV.  For those who missed that message, I’ll plug it again.  On New Year’s Day at 12 noon and 4 PM (Eastern Time), the FOX Business Network will be running a program called “Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.: A Business For Today.” It’s a 30-minute show; watch it if you are near a TV set at that time (forget the Tournament of Roses Parade), and if you like what you see, contact me!

See you in 2011.

Fun With Snuggies

We got some rain last night, and the temperature was up as high as 56 in the afternoon.  Thus, most of the snow is gone at last, and the rest should disappear tomorrow, because it will stay above freezing tonight.

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By now you’ve probably heard of Snuggies, those blankets with sleeves that are meant to be worn like robes.  They’ve been around at least since last year, and because it has been so cold lately, most of the stores around here carry them.  This year I decided to get one for Leive, to help her make it to next spring.  The problem is that red is her favorite color, and most of the stores here don’t carry red ones.  The most common color for Lexington Snuggies is blue, because blue and white are the team colors for the University of Kentucky.  I also found purple, pink, brown, and military camouflage Snuggies—but not red.  In the end she chose a plaid pattern, which had some red in it.

Then last Tuesday I found a red Snuggie in an after-Christmas sale for $8, so I got that for Leive, too.  Now I’m wondering if I would have found it more quickly in Louisville, because the University of Louisville’s team wears red and calls itself the Cardinals.

(By the way, Louisville’s new sports arena has just opened for business.  They call it the KFC Yum! Center.  What a name!)

But maybe I should have waited a bit longer to get a Snuggie for Leive.  Today I saw this ad for a Church Snuggie; do you think she would have liked that better?

 

Not A Dull Week For This Family

I have said before that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the dullest time of the year for news.  That’s when a lot of news organizations fill up time by recalling what happened earlier in the year, in case we forgot.  Today I turned on a college radio station, for instance, and they were playing songs from musicians who died during the past year.  That got me thinking, “I wish they could play songs from great artists who were born this year.  That would be a happier program.”  (By the way, Justin Bieber doesn’t count.)

Well, in my family the week has been anything but dull.  My father down in Florida has been bothered with bronchitis for several days, and on Monday it got so bad that his caregiver called 911.  After he got to the hospital, the doctor diagnosed him as suffering from congestive heart failure.  Of course the news threw a scare in us, because that was what took my mother away two and a half years ago, after her stroke.  Later in the day my brother said that Dad could last two days, or he could last two years.  It has now been two and a half days since then, so fortunately the short guess wasn’t correct.  Since then I have heard he’s doing better, as the hospital drains excess fluids out of him, but he’ll still need a lot of rest.

Today I was out in the Nissan, prospecting for my Pre-Paid Legal business and spreading the word about next Saturday’s TV show.  After looping through Athens and leaving three business cards at a gas station there, I decided to head in the general direction of Winchester, because I haven’t prospected in Clark County yet.  On the way there I got a flat left front tire.  It happened right in front of the country store I used to pass, every time I went to work.  This wasn’t a total surprise; just last Monday I stopped at a gas station to fill that tire with air, because it was getting low.  Still, there’s never a good time for a breakdown, is there?

I ended up spending an hour at Sarah’s Corner Café, the country store at the intersection of Winchester Rd. and Cleveland Ave.  Would you believe they had Hellish Relish?  In my message from November 21, 2007, I said that one of the things I missed the most from my Florida days were the hot sauces made from St. Augustine’s datil peppers, like the “Hellish Relish” produced by Dat’l Do-it.  On my trips to Orlando in 2008 and 2009, I tried to find datil pepper products to take back to Kentucky, but it seems that even in O-town, nobody carries them anymore.  None in Winn Dixie, none in Publix, and none in Albertson’s; many of the store workers didn’t even know what I was talking about.  Of course I bought a bottle, you can see it in the picture below.  One more quest has reached a successful conclusion.  Now, does anyone in Kentucky carry the original Dat’l Do-it sauce?

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The folks in the store were nice and helped me get the spare “doughnut” tire on.  But as soon as I got on the road, the spare went flat, too.  Thus I was stuck again, until another fellow with a portable air pump (one of those new deals that’s the size of a lunchbox) stopped by the store.  I also called my friend and Pre-Paid Legal sponsor, Terrell Cherry, and he sent Alphonso Fergerson by to help out.  Al showed up just as the gentleman with the pump was finished, so he followed me to the nearest Wal-Mart, which was two or three miles away.  The air leaked out of the spare again on the way, but it was just enough to get me to Wal-Mart.

When I reached Wal-Mart I was safe, but my adventure wasn’t over yet.  They were out of tires in the size I needed, and it’s a common size, so there must have been a run on them earlier in the day!  I ended up getting one that was the same diameter, but a quarter of an inch thicker.  To minimize the effect on driving and stress on the differential, they moved the left rear tire to the front, and put the new tire where the left rear one was.  That should allow me to drive until I can afford to get the other rear tire replaced.  When I looked in the trunk, I found they had even repaired the spare, and didn’t charge me for it.  That was nice of them, though I think I’ll replace that “doughnut” before I ever have to use it again.

Well, that was my day.  How was yours?

We Had A White Christmas, Alright

At least three inches of snow fell over the holiday weekend.  It’s gone from the roads now, but most of the rest is still here, because it has been bitterly cold, too.  It may melt today, though, because the temperate is expected to reach 32, and later in the week it may even reach the 50s.

Here are a few views of how it looked outside.  The first picture shows the view out the door when I got up on Christmas morning; the Buick is covered again, except for the Pre-Paid Legal sign.

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Brrrr!  And now to offset all that white, Leive chose to wear red.  I never got around to buying the ingredients for a Christmas dinner, so we went to her favorite Chinese restaurant.  Here are some nice pictures of Leive, before we left home and at the restaurant.

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Of course I had to get some pictures of Leive by the fishpond (LOL)!

And now, if you don’t mind me changing the subject, I have an announcement concerning our Pre-Paid Legal business.  If you are near a TV set (with cable) on Saturday, tune in FOX Business News at either 12 noon or 4 PM, Eastern Time. They will be running a story on Pre-Paid Legal Services. We expect 2011 to be our best year yet. Forget the Tournament of Roses Parade; this is how I want to kick off the new year!

But don’t just take my word for it.  Here is Darnell Self, one of our group’s leaders, announcing the show.  You may remember I got to meet him in Louisville, last October 24.  I hope to hear from you on Saturday!

Holiday Eating Tips

I just got this in my e-mail.  Those who saw my message from yesterday will guess (correctly) that I do not agree with the author’s opinions, but I thought it was good for a laugh anyway.

HOLIDAY EATING TIPS

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare… You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!


3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?


6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.


7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.


8. Same for pies. Apple
, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand and wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

My First White Christmas–And A Lean One

We still have some snow left over from last week, mostly as white and grey drifts on the sides of the roads.  On my street, though, there’s still quite a bit in the front yards, because yesterday afternoon was about the only sunny time this week, and at this time of year, the sun doesn’t get high enough to shine much on us.  Today, though, the weatherman is forecasting a 40 percent chance of snow, and an 80 percent chance tomorrow.  That means it will be my first white Christmas, at least since 1964 or 65, when I lived in Connecticut.  For Leive it will be her first white Christmas ever.

But other than that, you won’t see many signs of the holiday at our house.  Due to lack of interest (of the corporate world in me), Christmas has been cancelled.  I have now been out of work for more than two months, and there are no job prospects in sight; I have also been told not to expect anyone to start hiring until January.

Consequently my participation in the commercial aspect of the holiday was completed with one trip to Wal-Mart.  When I went to Lexington’s mall yesterday, I did not go for last minute shopping, I went to prospect for my Pre-Paid Legal business.  The crowds were tolerable, but the hardest part was leaving; it took me half an hour to get to Man o’War Blvd!  I also plan on prospecting today, and even tomorrow.

Yesterday we also got a dozen red and yellow roses, sent from Adam, Lindy and Lexi to Leive.  Here’s a picture, since Leive would probably want you to see them, too.  On the left is the Christmas card with Lexi’s picture, that I told you about the other day.

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Also, because I haven’t been working, I missed out on the usual company Christmas parties around Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This year I have not had any Christmas cookies, or Christmas candy.  And for Christmas dinner I’ll be taking Leive to a Chinese restaurant, rather than buy a turkey and all the trimmings.  I heard once that this is the most fattening time of the year; well, in my case I won’t have to worry about gaining weight until January, at least.  And I hope you’re having a great week anyhow!

Airline Travel Isn’t Fun Anymore

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid to fly.  I will go somewhere on a private plane; you may have seen the pictures I posted, after going for a ride on my pastor’s plane, last Fourth of July.  Nor am I worried about a plane crash; it has been four years since the last one that made headlines around the country.  But these days I would much rather travel by car, bus or train – anything but the airlines.

Back in the 1970s and 80s, traveling on the airlines was fun in many ways.  And a lot less of a hassle, too.  So what took the fun away?  First, all the delays.  Back in the day you could arrive at the airport an hour before takeoff and everything would be fine.  Now you are pushing your luck if you don’t arrive at least three hours early.  And that doesn’t include delays caused by overbooking and traffic; you’ve heard the horror stories of planes stuck on the runway all day.  In my case, the most recent story was in Houston last year, when I was bumped out of my seat because of an overbooked flight, and at the last minute reassigned to a seat in the back of the plane; my new seat was so cramped that only a small child or a Vietnamese woman would have been comfortable there!

Then the airlines cut corners, in the name of the bottom line.  I haven’t had an in-flight meal since I flew to the Philippines in 1985.  Nowadays if you want more than a coke and a bag of nuts or pretzels, you can expect to pay through the nose, even for a bottle of water.  You can bet that one of these days an airline will charge for use of a safety cushion, too (the ones that double as flotation devices in the event of a water landing).  Next, they started charging extra for more than one suitcase in the cargo hold.  But they didn’t stop there; now you can expect to pay extra if you put one suitcase in the hold.  And you’ve probably heard about the airline that charges you extra for carry-on bags.

But the worst party-pooper of all has to be the TSA, which can mean either Transportation Security Agency or Totally Stupid and Arrogant.  Sure, terrorism is a real threat – I’m one of those who knew it before 9/11.  But you still have to admit that the average American is smarter than the average terrorist.  I mean, how many Americans believe that if they carry a bomb in their shoes, in their underwear, or shoved up the rectum, and detonate it in a crowd of innocent civilians, they will spend eternity in Paradise with seventy-two virgins?  Still, the TSA’s lack of a proactive response, and their unwillingness to learn from those who do a better job than they do (especially the Israelis), tells me that they aren’t even as smart as the terrorists.

Look at how flying has gotten worse since 9/11.  First the TSA was created, and because the 9/11 hijackers were armed with box cutters, we couldn’t carry anything that looked like a box cutter, not even a butter knife or nail clipper.  Along came Richard Reid, the “Shoe Bomber,” so now we have to take off our shoes before passing through a TSA scanner.  Then Britain foiled a plot to smuggle explosive liquids on several planes, so now I can’t bring a shampoo bottle in my carry-on bag anymore, or drink a cup of coffee while I’m waiting to board my plane.  Then last year came the Underwear Bomber, so now we have the pornographic scanners, and pat-downs that would be called “sexual assault” if anybody else did them on children and senior citizens.

As far as I’m concerned, the new system with the scanners and pat-downs is blatantly unconstitutional, and our government doesn’t care.  I thought searches without a warrant violated the Fourth Amendment, and even worse, they assume that every passenger is guilty until proven innocent – definitely not the American way.  One of these days – you can bet your last dollar on it – a terrorist is going to try to sneak on an airliner with a butt bomb or some explosive surgically implanted in him.  After that happens, will we be subject to body cavity searches, too?

Last month, I learned that L-3 Communications, my former employer, made the full-body scanners.  I wasn’t in that division of the company; my department worked with army helicopters, but maybe it’s not so bad that I got laid off, when L-3 moved out of Kentucky.  If I still worked for them, I might get blamed for the scanners.

On second thought, maybe I am afraid to fly after all.  Not because of the terrorists; these days I fear my own government more.  The horror stories are piling up; we hear about toddlers on the no-fly lists, former “Baywatch” stars and the Indian ambassador getting extra scrutiny (yeah right, being attractive and female has nothing to do with it), patients being forced to remove breast implants and colostomy bags, etc.  In the past nine years, the TSA has not caught one real terrorist; all those bombing attempts were foiled by somebody else.  It looks like the TSA’s only real purpose is to annoy every law-abiding person and provide jobs for people too stupid to flip hamburgers.  Perhaps it is time to add a new line to an old saying about who’s competent:

  • Those that can, do.
  • Those that can’t do, teach.
  • Those that can’t teach, administrate.
  • Those that can’t administrate, work for the TSA.

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