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Friday, December 28, 2012

I love Google

                                                                 I love Google

Google helps me get to where I'm going, I just have to talk into my phone via  Google Latitude (and it is always updated), and presto! The Goog tells me step by step what to do.  Apple's iPhone app, on the other hand, sometimes sends you to places you don't necessarily want to go, which prompted Apple to allow Google (I love Google) to place its map application into the App(le) Store, so now directionally impaired iPhone users can experience the same joy of getting to their destination as I do.

I love Google calendar, which allows me to sync my office calendar to my (Android based) phone and to all of my computers, as well as, seamlessly, to my wife's phone (she has an iPhone, but I hope to get her onto a Samsung Galaxy III soon).

I love Google Reader, which allows me to subscribe to various blogs, and which would allow anyone who wanted to, to subscribe to mine. That is if anyone wanted to (sigh).

I love Blogger, which enables me to easily produce this drivel.

I love YouTube.  Apple stopped allowing people to download YouTube to iPhones and iPads, although I believe that they have now caved (afraid of the competition, hmm?  Then make your apps as good as other folks apps!)

I also love Amazon.  I love buying music via Amazon and having it automatically download my music to my laptop, to the cloud, AND to my iTunes account.  Apple won't let you listen to iTunes purchases on a competing system without going through silly rigmarole such as burning a CD, then ripping the CD back to your computer in MP3 format. Silly Apple.

If I remember correctly, Apple almost went under in its early years, because it refused to share code with program developers.  As a consequence, most programs were written for the PC.  In my business (accounting), I wouldn't dream of buying a Mac (they sure are pretty) since accounting software is primarily written for PC's.

I hear that Google+ is pretty cool, but I haven't warmed up to it yet (did you like that little play on words?  With a little effort, I could write Country songs).

In fairness, the iPad is pretty cool, but it is still so damned Apple proprietary!

Now you know. I love Google. I call it "The Goog" or just "Googs" when I'm in a playful mood.  We're tight like that.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday thoughts

I have friends and relatives from all over the world.  One thing I've noticed is that when getting together, people like to compare and contrast the differences between them. What has really fascinated me though, is how absolutely sure that their way is better than our way (understand, that I believe this also applies to "my people" believing that our way is better than someone else's). I believe that we are all a product of our upbringing, modified by our life experiences.  Underneath it all, and generally speaking, I believe that we are all pretty much the same.

The other night, at a function, a person from another country made mention of "how loud Americans are".  I knew by the way this person said it, that being loud was less preferable to being quiet. I've heard Americans laugh at Soccer vs. U.S. Football; I've heard Australians laugh at U.S. Football vs. Rugby; I've heard British people laugh at Baseball vs. Cricket. All the laughter was derisive toward the other country's sport, of course.

We just don't know that much about each other, I think. When I lived in England, I was regularly asked if all Americans carried guns (these days, that's probably a fair question). Over here, I have to grin at the people who think that the United Kingdom consists of London alone.  I spent a few months in Greece years ago, and when asked where I was from in the US, finally started telling people "Atlanta", because it was much easier to explain than "close to Chattanooga, which is in Tennessee, and that is close to Georgia, which contains Atlanta" "OH, Atlanta!" they would say, with a flicker of recognition in their eyes (but mostly, they didn't really care).

This isn't confined to international borders. People in the little town I live in look at folks from New York, Chicago and L.A. as "Yankees" - yeah, I know, not Yankees, but to some of us Southerners, anyone from north of here (north also includes west, by the way) is by definition a Yankee, and therefore, not a person to be trusted. I know some people who look down their noses at the poor rhubarbs from the sticks, with our limited world views and all, and just shake their heads ("smh", they say to themselves, in a pitying voice).

I love college football.  I love SEC football. Other people love Big 10 football (or whatever that conference is called these days). I know with absolute certainty, that SEC football is better than all the other football, but I imagine that people in say, Iowa, probably think that the Hawkeyes are inherently superior. Those people are wrong, of course (read this for a minute, {smirk}), but it shows that people are often defined by where they come from.

Final point.  I'm an Episcopalian.  I'm an Episcopalian because my Mom is English and she grew up in the Church of England which is Anglican. Therefore, I also grew up in the Church of England.  The Episcopal Church is an Anglican denomination, so it makes sense that I would become an Episcopalian when we moved to the US.  Conversely, most of the people in my little town are either Southern Baptist or Church of God.  Makes sense. Lots of Lutherans in Minnesota.  Why?  Who settled a good part of Minnesota, and what was their denomination?  If I were born in Saudi Arabia, guess what?  I'd probably be Muslim, and so would you!!!

So, all of this was to get you to watch an '80's video. Probably. I always liked Depeche Mode.

Monday, December 17, 2012

I think I'm ready to go back to network news

On Friday we had the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where so many people were gunned down by a mentally ill person. I think it has shaken the whole country and seems to have at least started a conversation about how we treat and take care of our mentally ill. The conversation about gun control is polarizing and ongoing, and I have no intention of getting into it with this post (except: why do we need assault weapons? I can't quite remember).

I was more interested in talking about the way we get our news these days. On Friday I was eating lunch with a couple of friends (Yummy sushi in Cleveland. Try it. It's good. Get the dancing Tuna roll), and noticed the story developing on the TV in the restaurant. Of course I immediately started scrolling through my Twitter and Facebook timelines. Slate quickly reported that the shooter was a 24 year old man named Ryan Lanza, and they were kind enough to point their readers to a FB page that they thought was his. He posted that it wasn't him (see below).

I also heard on Twitter that: both of his parents had been killed; his brother had been killed; his mother was the teacher in the classroom he went to; his friend and the friends girlfriend were missing...
Later that day, Slate came back with a correction that it wasn't Ryan, but his brother Adam. I was amazed that Slate wasn't apologetic about the misinformation that they had helped spread. We also found out later that the father was alive (a reporter broke the story to him as he was pulling into his driveway!!!) and that the mother didn't work at the school. All the while, the news shows were posting the death toll as if it were a game score.

Here's my point: there is this incredible rush to be the first to break a story - oh, I know, I run to twitter, FB, cable news, anywhere I can to eat up breaking news. But, you know what? I think I'd really rather wait an hour or two and let the news outlets get their facts straight. This is one reason why I'm about ready to turn off MSNBC, FOX and CNN. The networks have just a short time each evening to present a few stories instead of 24 hours each day to fill up like the cable folks do. During the day, the network execs make decisions about which stories to cover and in what detail. In the meantime, FOX spends all day spouting the most silly right wing bullshit. MSNBC, while at least telling the truth, does it in a completely left slanted fashion (with the exception of Morning Joe). And CNN, for some reason, is content to read its viewers tweets (what a disappointment that network has become) and call it news. So, I think I'll just go back to the traditional nightly news.

May I ask one more question? Why is it so important to rank this shooting as the "second most deadly school shooting in history" as CNN showed on its scroll all Saturday morning? Why do we always have to rank disasters? What the hell is wrong with us? Ok. That was three questions.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Frankenstein on the right

(This is another blog post that is completely meaningless, and really has no point)

I got out of the shower the other day and was looking at myself in the mirror while I shaved (sorry about the visual that is now seared into your cerebral cortex). I'd kind of forgotten, but I've got five scars on the right side of my body. One from when my kidney was removed, another from the gross tube put in me from when my kidney was removed. Another is from where my shoulder was nailed back together after I broke my collar bone and one from where they took a little of my hip and put it up in my shoulder, to help it heal. Most recently, I had a teeny bit of upper chest removed because of a melanoma that I had ignored (DON'T IGNORE DARK, IRREGULAR, SPREADING PLACES ON YOUR SKIN). It kinda grew in some, and spread some, and necessitated the doctor going (like the old church hymn) deep and wide. Don't worry, I won't Instagram any pictures.

Six! Six scars! I forgot that I have a very small scar on my nose (right nostril), where I had Mohs surgery (to remove some skin cancer there as well. "Welcome to Mohs").

Wait! When I was 18, a piece of steel spring broke off of the garage door I was working on and almost put my right eye out, instead cutting my head at the eyebrow line. Hang on, let me see if there is a scar there as well.........yep. There it is. Huh.

It just started me thinking about how odd it is that all my stuff has happened on my right side. Oh, I also broke all my wrist bones in a stupid motorcycle accident. My right wrist, of course.

Now, I'm left handed. I mean, I'm reeaally left handed. You should see me throw with my right hand. No, you shouldn't. Below is kind of what I look like throwing right handed (never mind that most of these are right hander's throwing left handed):

So, what's my point? Am I saying that stuff happens to my right side because I'm left handed? Am I saying that my left side is protecting itself, while my right side is just clumsy?

 Naah. I just wanted to talk about my scars.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Me and running

Did I ever tell you how I started running? Want to know? Ok, then.

I had always wanted to run a marathon, but had never done anything about it or really planned to do anything about it. I took my friend, Paul to the Chickamauga Marathon one year and drank coffee and read the newspaper while he ran, but that was as close as I came to running myself.

Fast forward to late 2000.  I was playing football with a group of church kids (I was quarterback, natch). Well, in the middle of a glorious QB sneak, as I was passing the defensive line, I told a kid that he couldn't block me. Turned out, he could. A minute or so later, I invited all the kids around to see what a broken collar bone looked like.

Fast forward a few more months. The bone pieces hadn't knitted, so I  had surgery to nail them together, but in the process, I'd gained about 30 pounds!!!

This is where we talk about me running. I was disgusted with how much weight I'd gained and wanted to do something about it. At the same time, at work, I had an IRS agent camped out in my office, auditing one of my clients (I'm a CPA). It was frustrating. Anyhow, I started going to the YMCA and was walking, then running, on the treadmill. I was really enjoying it and started thinking about my goal of running a marathon. I lost the 30 pounds and just as importantly, found that my frustration over this drawn out audit would go away when I ran!

So, I met up with my friend Jerry who agreed to help me train. Jerry had run either two or three marathons at that point. We would run through the week and do either long runs or races on weekends. I ran several 5k's, a few 10k's and then graduated up to a half marathon. I finally did my first marathon (Chickamauga) in November of 2004.

It is important to note that I'm not very good, but over the past 8 years I have finished 9 marathons (Chickamauga x 3, Country Music, Disney, Flying Monkey x 3 and New York) and about 30 half marathons. I've loved running them. I've loved running in general.

But, here we are in late 2012. I lost my running mojo about a year ago and have put on about 10 of the 30 pounds I had lost and kept off for almost a decade. I have run a couple of halfathons this year but done poorly and, as a matter of fact, can barely squeak through a very short run here in December.

BUT, I've got some plans for next year. I'll tell you about them later. In the meantime, I'm ready to get that mojo back. If only I could remember where I put it.