Friday, December 30, 2011

Hopes for 2012

Here's what I'm hoping for in 2012...

A Kardashian-free news feed. I mean, the Jersey Shore cast had their 15 minutes of fame, like most other flash-in-the-pan, 15-more-minutes-than-they-deserved fads, so why has the Kardashian clan clung to notoriety like they're British royalty or something (another thing I don't get by the way)?!?! Didn't we fight a revolution to get away from the British monarchy? Now, we apparently can't get enough of their every bowel movement, nor of the Kardashians...which leads me to ask, is there a difference?

An Obama-free America. Send the douchebag back to Hawaii or Indonesia, or wherever he's really from and give us a REAL leader! 'Nuff said (and this was a non-partisan rant, btw)!

A war-free zone for the whole year. We spent enough of our precious resources in countries that hate us to the nth degree, so let's focus on the homefront for awhile. Oh, and world peace would be nice, too.

An Occupy movement with a purpose, please. Are you starting another Tweet revolution in America, or are you just getting lots of like-minded people together for lattes? I'm confused. Was there a point?

The end of all reality shows. Really. Enough, already. I don't want to see any more rednecks on a channel labeled "Arts and Entertainment." Jessco, 'The Dancin' Outlaw,' was 1990! Mud People, People who hunt wild pigs, gators, their mama's tooth, etc...not so much!

Did I miss anything?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cat Crusader Article from Dec 9th Island Sand Paper

If you can help Jo Ann out by donating food, money or time, please call her directly at (239) 463-6118. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Waxing philosophical this morning

Funny the rabbit trails your mind will go down early in the morning after a half-cup of coffee. As I sit at my computer doing genealogy, of all things, I stumble upon a gravesite for one of my ancestors that gets me waxing philosophical, theological, even.

She was buried in an Oregon memorial park in the "Garden of Atonement."

Interesting concept that atoning for one's sins.

As I was taught, growing up in the Catholic Church, we were all born with the "mark of Adam," the stain of "original sin" upon us. That means, each and everyone of us, fresh from our mother's womb, drawing our first breath of air, was utterly doomed to failure...and eternal damnation, by the way.

What kind of bogus poker hand is that to be dealt?

The Catholics are to blame for this nonsense, you know. Now, most of the Christian worldview has been shaped by this idea that we are all born with a fatal, spiritual flaw. Innocent babies, my ass! We are wired with a penchant for evil.

This might cause one to call, "Foul!" Throw the penalty flag. Question everything he/she knows about God.

Where's the justice in that? The love? The forgiveness, even?

Ah, forgiveness...that's the rub. The "mark of Adam" with which we are ALL cursed spurred the Creator to action. He devised a master plan in which He would become the scapegoat (ala, the ram in the thicket from the story of Abraham and Isaac). Brilliant or psychotic? You decide.

The Supreme Being, Creator of all that is, devised a way out of our mortal conundrum, but it, in effect, involved His own death, a sort of deicide (it's a word, look it up).

The next thing I was taught, after learning of my one-way-ticket-do-not-pass-go entrance into Hades, is that Jesus, the one displayed in gory fashion upon a crucifix in every classroom and church I attended until middle school, was, in fact, God. He came to (drumroll please) ATONE for my sins and make everything right in my hereafter world. WHEW! That was a close call.

That was the best He could come up with...committing suicide for the fatal flaw that I was born with. Dare I say, created with? He couldn't conceive of ANY OTHER WAY but to spill His own blood?

So, to recap, I was created with or born into this world with a mortal flaw for which I was unable to help myself. The Draconian punishment for it--be I baby or old man--was eternal damnation in a lake of fire. And the ONLY way to get out of that dire, eternal consequence was for God to come down and kill Himself (i.e. His Son). And I am to believe that this Guy created galaxies yet unknown?


Friday, December 02, 2011

Local Adopt-A-Troop Benefit

After a few weeks absence from the Island Sand Paper, I have a new article in today's edition all about the Nov 17th benefit for Adopt-A-Troop Foundation...

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Hero Remembered

Grave of Clifford O. Carlton
(Garden Sanctuary Cemetery, Seminole, FL)

On the heels of Veteran's Day Weekend, I thought it appropriate to honor the memory of one of my ancestors. His name is Clifford O. Carlton, of Evansville, who served heroically in the U.S. Air Force/Army during World War II.

I was researching Clifford's family, as I am a 4th cousin,* and ran across these newsclippings in the Browning Genealogy database (

4 Jan 1945 -- "Pfc Clifford O. Carlton was wounded in action in Germany on Dec 16 [1944]. An infantryman, he also has served in England and France since arriving overseas in August, 1944...A former Reitz High School student..."

24 Sep 1945 -- "Pfc Clifford Carlton, brother of Mrs. Heal, is now home on sick leave from Fletcher General Hospital, Cambridge [Ohio]. He is recovering from left leg wounds suffered last Dec. 16 in battle east of Cologne. In the Army since April 3, 1943, he trained at Ft. McClellan, Ala., Ft. Benning, Ga., Ft. Mackall, NC., and Camp Forrest, Tenn. When injured in a parachute accident, he was transferred to the infantry. Going overseas in July, 1944, he served with the 8th Division. His decorations include the Purple Heart, good conduct and American Defense ribbons, a three-star-studded ETO ribbon and combat infantry badge."

Clifford and his wife, Jane, retired to Madeira Beach, Florida. He died 25 Feb 1991 at Bay Vines Veterans Hospital in St. Petersburg. He was laid to rest at Garden Sanctuary Cemetery in nearby Seminole, FL.

* Clifford and I are 4th cousins, 2 times removed, because his second great-grandfather, Bracket Mills, was a brother to my fourth great-grandfather, Duston Mills, of Gibson County, Indiana.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Painting the Beach (Island Sand Paper)

My latest submission to the Island Sand Paper about an art celebration called Paint the Beach, Nov. 14-20, on Fort Myers Beach, which ran on the front page and pg. 19...

Friday, October 28, 2011

FLOWSTIVAL Benefit Celebration takes place the weekend of November 18-20 in Bonita Springs, Florida. Join us for a weekend of camping, rhythm and flow arts! Or as Dino likes to say, "Feel the rhythm; release the fear!" Online prices the next two weeks will save you money, so don't delay in getting your 3-day passes. Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

America's global spending spree backed by politicians on both sides

Secretary Clinton is at it again. You know, I don't mind when the liberal agenda wants to spend money on struggling families at home, but when they want to spend millions helping foreign countries halfway around the globe? Yeah, I have a problem with that.

Now Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is jumping on the bandwagon. He defends irresponsible spending in the name of 'national security.' Isn't that standby excuse wearing thin, yet. Ever since 9-11, our GOP leaders love to cover anything they do under the umbrella of 'the war on terror' and 'national security.'

I don't pretend to be a foreign policy expert and I'm sure the politicos in Washington claim to know better than I, but I CAN balance a checkbook. And I know that when I'm hundreds of dollars in the hole, I don't have money to go out and pick up the tab for me and my buddies.

Our nation's debt is outta control. We don't have money to be the 'bank of the world.' Let struggling countries find ways to make it on their own. It will be good for them in the long least that's what my dad always told me when I asked to borrow cash.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Living History at Matanzas Pass Preserve

The Island Sand Paper ran my story today about the upcoming Visions of the Past event on pages 1 and 19...

I took the two photos with my digital camera. I think they translated pretty well on newsprint.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dan Wheldon, gone.

The Indy Racing League was dealt a devastating blow today when one of its leading drivers was killed in a 15-car accident at the Las Vegas Indy 300.

Above is a picture I took in May 2008 while at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a day of practice. That could be Dan's wife, Susie, to his left. I'm not sure. Today, she was widowed at around 3:00 p.m., leaving her to raise two young sons without their father.

From what I know, Dan was a great driver, great competitor and a nice guy. He had won at Indy, won the IRL championship and won the hearts of many Indy car fans, especially the feminine variety. He was a good looking guy.

Today, his life was cut short at the age of 33 after his car hurled into the air, then barrel-rolled into the barrier fence before careening back to the pavement ablaze. His wrecked car was covered with a golden-colored tarp before being removed from the track at Vegas. During that same time, he was being airlifted to the local hospital where he would later be pronounced dead.

I feel so badly for his widow and their two children. My heart goes out to them.

I understand the dangers of racing at speeds above 220 mph. The Indy cars are like jets on racing tires. Unfortunately, too many times they go airborne. I witnessed it firsthand at the 2010 Indy 500 where on the last lap of the race a guy went airborne into the fence between turns three and four. I was sitting at the entrance of the short chute where the crash began that year.

I remember another deadly accident in the 80's that occured at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Another driver, Gordon Smiley, was killed by a horrific accident that ended with him airborn and into the fence. Safety and race car design has come such a long way, but today we are reminded just how dangerous this sport still is.

Again, I am saddened by the Wheldon family's loss. I can only hope that this incident leads to further advances and improvements in driver safety.

Rest in peace, Dan.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Never Forget

Yesterday, I blogged about The Falling Man and my recollections of 9/11. Today, I stumbled across a blog written about the massive outpouring of support after the attack. As Senator Rob Portman was recalling his wife's trip back to Ohio and the Search and Rescue Team she passed on their way to Ground Zero, I remembered the many volunteers who went to New York from Florida in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Yesterday, I told my story of watching the horror unfold on television and how I was working for the government in Tallahassee. Well, fast forward just a couple of months and I had been rehired by the Florida Division of Emergency Management to serve as their spokesperson. I had the privilege of speaking with many a volunteer who had just returned from the devastation at Ground Zero. Some of them had served in the Salvation Army tent kitchens, ensuring that volunteers and first responders had a hot meal after long, laborious hours of combing the wreckage.

While I don't recall offhand the total number of volunteers we sent from Florida, I do know that Search and Rescue was another group of willing volunteers. The urban S&R teams would painstakingly navigate twisted steel and dig through feet of ash and rubble just to search for survivors and recover barely recognizable remains with the help of specially-trained canines. Those volunteers were just as much heroes as the first responders who gave all to save their neighbor.

I remember wishing I could go with one of the Florida teams, if just to serve a few meals or hand out bottled water. I had so much respect for my colleagues in Tallahassee who dropped everything and went for weeks on end to serve in New York City. Alas, I had a four-month-old baby at home and a wife who couldn't sleep. There was no way I was leaving them for 6-8 weeks.

Still, the memories of the days, weeks and months after 9/11 are vivid for me. I'll admit that I had grown complacent, choosing not to reflect on the horrible images that had bombarded me through television and online news outlets in 2001. But since yesterday, I cannot get them out of my head, so I designed the collage at the top of this blog post. It reminds of the phrase that was our nation's mantra in the waning months of that year. Let us never forget.

Friday, September 09, 2011


Ten years ago, you could have typed three numbers and immediately everyone would've known what that represented. Nine, one-one. The three-digit emergency telephone number that links U.S. residents with first responders in times of crisis or imminent danger. Sadly, today that is no longer the case. For when you type nine, one-one, it evokes sadness and tragic memories of a fateful day in history.

I've been reluctanct to recall those memories. And in the days leading up to the tenth anniversary/memorial of "nine-eleven," bombarded with reminders on television and the web, I've been reticent to share any feelings associated with those memories. Today, I finally broke.

As I watched the end of Live with Regis and Kelly, they had a prolonged moment of silence. Then, I stumbled upon a documentary titled "9/11 The Falling Man" on The Western Confucian blog. I knew that I needed to speak and let those feelings flow freely.

The Nine-eleven disaster did not effect me directly. I knew no one in the tower. I'd never even been to Manhattan and seen the World Trade Center in person, only on TV. I was 1,100 miles removed from Ground Zero. Yet, I have vivid memories of that day.

Working in the Pepper Building, part of a sprawling network of government buildings in downtown Tallahassee, I overheard my coworkers watching live coverage of the terrorist attack on MSNBC. The first tower had been struck. People were gathering around the computer monitor on the other side of the cubicle I was in. I needed to get to a television, so I took a coffee break and drove to the nearby Governor's Square Mall. I found TVs blaring live coverage in the food court of the mall. I was stunned; flabbergasted, even.

Watching the news with horror, I called my wife who was on maternity leave with our two-month old (to the day) daughter. They were watching something other than the news, oblivious to the terrorism that had just been perpetrated on American soil. Until that day, the most shocking attack of this kind we had seen on television, was the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta or the Murrow Federal Building bombing in Tulsa. My wife was bewildered as she turned to CNN.

I received a call on my cellphone that our office had been evacuated as a safety precaution. In fact, the entire state government came grinding to a halt. The Capitol Building and adjacent offices in Tallahassee were cleared because of the fear that the President's brother, Governor Jeb Bush, would be a likely target. I was relieved that I didn't have to go back to work. I could hardly remove my glare from the televisions at the mall. Truth be told, I could hardly believe my eyes!

It was around 9:30 that morning and the news cameras had already shown the second tower being hit by a hijacked airliner and now the tower was falling. The iconic World Trade Center in New York was crumbling before my eyes. There were people leaping from busted out windows in the other tower. The scene was absolutely surreal.

I don't remember how long I stayed at the mall that morning or what time I returned home, but I must have been glued to the cable news networks for hours that day. It seemed as if pandemonium had struck the heart of Manhattan's financial district. It had, indeed.

The interviews with victims' spouses in the first 24-minutes of The Falling Man film will bring you to tears. But the positive spin one husband gives was inconceivably imaginative considering his great tragedy. His wife, stuck high in the south tower before it fell, was found on the sidewalk in front of the building across from the tower. She obviously had jumped. He tried to imagine the split-second thought going through her head as she made that fateful leap from high above lower Manhattan. He describes the liberating, breathtaking sense of flight and how she was finally able to breathe, free of the smoke, ash and burning embers of the unstable trade tower. I was amazed that he could even find an image so positive from such a horrific act.

USA Today reports the gruesome story about those who jumped, but whose deaths are still labeled "homicides" by the New York Coroner's Office. Not all who "were forced out by smoke and flames" made it to the streets below. "On the south side, firefighters reported 30 to 40 bodies on the roof of the 22-floor Marriott Hotel, adjacent to the north tower." One eyewitness from the south tower saw a lady fall just outside his window. He recalls, "She wasn't screaming. It was slow motion." He saw her hit the ground. How horrified he must have been.

Gruesome though it may be, that sight saved hundreds of lives. "Many south tower survivors say the sight of people jumping created an urgency that caused them to leave immediately and ignore announcements that it was safe to return to their desks."

USA Today estimates that upwards of 200 people jumped, mainly from the north tower which was hit first but stood 46 minutes longer than the south tower. "The Falling Man" has been identified by family and co-workers as Jonathan Briley, a worker at the Windows on the World restaurant. No positive i.d. was ever made, however. Information and pictures about the late Mr. Briley can be found on Michelle Malkin's blog in a post titled, "The Falling Man Revisited".

The film asserts that we, as Americans, have attempted to erase those gruesome images by refusing to look at them. But I, for one, can never erase them from my memory. They were the visible casualties from a man-made disaster that claimed nearly 3,000 lives. And while I did not know any of them personally, the images of those who jumped from certain death TO certain death certainly touched me deeply.

Because of that fateful day ten years ago, no one can ever say, type or think 9-1-1 without having to pause that split second and think, is that "nine-eleven" or "nine, one-one?" That three-digit code will forever link our country with the heroic first responders who come to our rescue in times of personal crisis and who came to Ground Zero at that time of national crisis. May all who died rest in peace. May all who live, "Never forget."

Saturday, September 03, 2011

First Game Rust?

Let me say right from the start that I'm VERY happy with a shut-out win to start the 2011 season. BUT, the Seminoles didn't quite play up to all the hype or the Top 5 ranking. Shannon J. Owens nails it in the Orlando Sentinel column, "The Seminoles played footsie with the Warhawks when they should have been cutting off their toes."


The team with national championship aspirations wasn't playing like a contender today. Their first quarter performance was lackluster and uninspired. You'd never know they had a Heisman-caliber quarterback or lightning-fast receivers. As Owens points out quite graphically, they lacked the killer instinct of the Seminole teams of old.

While other top teams were steamrolling their first opponents of twenty-eleven, the Seminoles were settling for punts and field goals. And say what you will about ULM, but they were scheduled to be a cupcake of a home opener. The shutout was nice, but it should have been by 50 points with all the firepower in Jimbo's arsenal.

I don't know if it was the playcalling or the execution, but I was having flashbacks during the the first quarter of the "good ol'" Bowden days...and I'm talking about the infamous Bowden playcaller, Jeff, not Bobby. Some of the vanilla plays early in the game definitely had a hint of Jeffy. Very conservative (as if the Warhawks were just supposed to play dead and grant the Noles 10 yards on every play).

Granted, the Warhawks did put up a fight, but their offense couldn't muster 200 total yards. They laid a golden goose egg on the final scoreboard.

What do we take away from this so-so home opener? Well, a win for one. I am very happy the Seminoles go into Week 2 with a 1-0 record. I was glad to see some flashes of brilliance from EJ Manuel at quarterback. His long, touchdown pass before the half was beautifully thrown and right on the mark! But we're used to seeing those kinds of plays on the first first-and-ten of the game, especially against cupcakes like ULM. So, there's room for improvement. Better playcalling and better execution are a MUST if FSU wants to be taken seriously this season.

Let's go Seminoles!!!

Friday, September 02, 2011

First Feature Article Published!

Well, I am officially a freelance writer in Fort Myers Beach!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A huge, DUH!!!

I just read where Hilary Clinton wants to send aid to famine-ravished Somalia for food distribution. Why is that not such a stellar idea? Well, for one, Somalia is run by one of the most corrupt governments in the world. One local expert says, "Corruption has marred every aspect of Somali society."

So the same state that sponsors terrorists and allows pirates to run its shores like a rogue coast guard should be rewarded with our tax dollars. Brilliant, Ms. Clinton! With our nation facing economic crisis and a downgraded credit rating, we need to be throwing good money after bad and help line the pockets of corrupt, terrorist regimes???

Not that I don't feel bad for all the pain and suffering for innocent Somalians, but you cannot trust corrupt leaders to do the right thing because they don't even care about the suffering as much as we do! They'd step on their own children to get what they want. How much of the millions in aid sent to Haiti even reached those devastated by the earthquake? I'm sorry, but the Red Cross and other relief agencies are only allowed to do as much work in foreign countries as the officials will allow. They control the logistics, the runways, the infrastructure, and all the money and relief efforts in the world won't overcome their ineptitude, lack of empathy or greed.

But, yeah, okay, let's send them money we don't have so they can thwart the relief for their dying citizens and fund a terrorist cell in Muslim-controlled east Africa. Yep, great idea!

Monday, August 01, 2011

My Manatee Article was Published!

I wrote a guest commentary on manatee safety for a local island paper. Here it is in print:

Thursday, May 05, 2011

"They're fast food employees."

The news is reporting that 62,000 new McEmployees are going to work under the golden arches this week. I speculate that of those numbers, about half are non-English speaking, another quarter are teens or college-aged workers and the rest are a mix of out-of-work professionals and those whose sights aren’t set that high.

This morning, my wife returned home from work after early morning visits to two 24-hour, fast food drive-thrus. It was 5 AM and all she wanted was coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Apparently, that was too much to ask.

First, she ordered a McBreakfast with coffee, but was refused service because the geniuses there decided to clean all the coffee makers—both regular brewers and McCafe machine—at the same time. None of the bright McEmployees thought to have one brewed pot on a warmer elsewhere, or to maybe do one machine at a time. Short of that, they could’ve picked a better time than the beginning of the breakfast rush, like say 2 AM. Even the bars haven’t let out by then.

Secondly, she decided to hit the drive-thru at the next door Steak-N-Shake. Upon her attempt to order the same breakfast, she was told they don’t serve breakfast until 6 AM. They were happy to make her a burger topped with an egg, but NOT a breakfast sandwich with any other meat! Oh wait, you can also order a bacon burger, so there IS breakfast meat in the restaurant.

Sooo, they are open 24 hours, but breakfast starts promptly at 6. Okay. Where’s the logic in that? Do the chickens only wake up and begin producing the eggs at 6 AM in Steak-N-Shake’s storeroom? Apparently not. Eggs are available for burgers ONLY! No egg is to touch that hot grill for ANY OTHER sandwich!

The moral of this story?

Kids, do yourself a favor, and shoot a little higher. When I was a teen looking for employment, I was afforded the opportunity to get a McJob or to make pizzas at a national pizza chain. I chose the latter. But you can do better. Go wait tables, dig a ditch or intern at a professional office somewhere. Even ditch diggers get better direction and management from their supers.

When my wife came home and explained her adventures in drive-thru ordering, I simply replied, “Honey. They’re fast food employees.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Random Spirituality

Just in time for Easter…my first blog on anything spiritual in quite awhile. I’ve been ruminating on what it means to “lift God up from the Earth.” It would seem that it means different things to different readers of the Gospel. I am referring, of course, to the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John, twelfth chapter, 32nd verse, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

In the evangelical circles where I once circulated, this one verse served as their singular mission statement. Lift God up so that everyone will be saved. Of course, they didn’t believe in universal salvation. I mean, what would we do with an empty hell? List it in the real estate section on Craigslist?

No, my contemporaries in the church didn’t believe that we could lead every soul to Christ, they just believed that we should try. And the Christ-given formula was simple.

Lift God up from the Earth.

But what does that mean, exactly? What did Jesus mean when and if he said these words? The footnote in Today’s New International Version, © 2005, says that lifted up means “exalted.” Well, there’s a favorite catchphrase in evangelical Christianity, “Exalt the Lord!” I used to sing that chorus in church. So was that the secret formula? Go public with my praise and lift God up with my voice? Would that “draw all people” to God? Some of my contemporaries thought so.

There was another sample in my circle who believed it meant that and more. They believed that Jesus was giving them the charge to wear their Christianity on their sleeve. You’ve seen them on street corners, in the public square, toting signs, holding political rallies, etc. They believed that the more public with your faith, the better. How else would God be lifted up? In my personal experience, these kinds of displays only served the opposite purpose of turning people off to the message of redemption. It may sound like a harsh criticism, but I’m only pointing the finger at myself. I lived this way for awhile in my younger adult years.

Now that I’ve been fully detoxed from years of “churchification,” I feel that I have a better perspective. I still believe that faith should be lived out publicly, but not in any of the ways I’ve described heretofore.

I sincerely believe that Jesus was promoting a better way to live that had nothing to do with church services, praise choruses or political rallies. He just went about daily life doing what he does, helping others. He usually didn’t make a big spectacle of it, though some of his ministry did become a spectacle, of sorts. In fact, after some of his great miracles, he actually requested discreetness. Jesus wasn’t about drawing attention to himself. He was about helping people live better lives.

I do not see how forcing one’s religion or personal beliefs down someone else’s throat serves that same purpose. It draws no one closer to God. Likewise, I don’t see how public displays—whether at outdoor church services or pro-life marches—exalt the Almighty and draw people in.

I think it is simple, random acts of love and kindness that go the furthest to accomplish the mission of John 12:32. The little things we do to help others that make life better in small increments are, in my opinion, what lifts up the ideal of Christ and knowingly or unknowingly draw them toward that ideal.

Consider that as you enjoy Easter Sunday and determine to make the world a better place one random act at a time. Peace be with you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Look, Ma! No hands!"

Fear is something I learned early in life--fear of the dark, fear of storms, fear of getting hurt, etc., etc. I wouldn't even ride the new bike I got for my sixth birthday for fear of falling down and skinning my knees or elbows...or worse. Not sure if God gives us fear as a safeguard, but I had an unhealthy dose.

Well, yesterday as I was circling the nature trail behind my 6-year-old, I was amazed at how well she rides a bike for her age. No fear. Actually, I was the one worried about her taking a sharp curve on the leaf-covered trail and losing it. I don't think that ever crossed her mind, at all. As she pedalled fast and leaned into the serpentine bends of the trail, I swelled with a little pride.

What struck me was the fact that my two daughters fear very little. Did God use the baby dropper to administer their fear level? Or had my wife and I done a good enough job of parenting to ensure that they don't fear the world or the everyday scrapes and bruises that are just a part of growing up?

Either way, I am thankful that my daughters don't fear the things I did as a kid. Seriously, I didn't even ride a bike until I was 10! I was that fearful. My hope is that my daughters will always grab life by the horns and go for it; that fear will never creep in and lord over them the way it has me at times in my life (not just as a kid).

It seemed like an odd thought to have while enjoying a bike ride on a warm, sunny afternoon, but I've ruminated on it now for several hours and I am very thankful. I guess God knew what he was doing when he gave me the two most wonderful girls in the whole world. Guess I shouldn't fear their growing up and moving out. Just another fact of life...and mine has been enriched so much in the last 10 years.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Coach Caldwell

If you suffered through the Colts game last night, then stayed up for WTHR’s post-game coverage, then you heard the blue jersey-clad fan call out the head coach on camera. It was well said, and WAY overdue! Just who is this soft-spoken, even-keeled nobody at the helm of the NFL’s most jeckyl-and-hyde team?

I’ve been complaining to my family about him for two years. He led a dismal Wake Forest Demon Deacon's team into a few games at my alma mater, Florida State. It was typically a Demon Deacon bloodbath. They were the doormats of the ACC, after all, and FSU was at its Bowden Dynasty finest. But don’t let the brilliance of the Bowden era at FSU diminish the complete dullness of the Caldwell era at Wake Forest. I saw how pathetic they were, firsthand! And Jim Caldwell’s expressionless face on the Wake Forest sideline matched the equally vanilla play on the field by his team. It was uninspired football.

The official Colts/NFL website states, “Caldwell spent 1993-2000 as head coach at Wake Forest. In 1999, Caldwell led the school to its first winning season and bowl game since 1992.” Granted, that bowl game pitted a 6-5 Demon Deacons team against a very average Arizona State team, also 6-5.

Here is Jim Caldwell’s record as the Wake Forest head coach, by year:

1993 Record, 2-9
1994 Record, 3-8
1995 Record, 1-10
1996 Record, 3-8
1997 Record, 5-6
1998 Record, 3-8
1999 Record, 6-5
2000 Record, 2-9

Let me do the math for you—that adds up to a total of 25 wins in 8 seasons as head coach, an average of 3 wins per season. THREE WINS! WOOT!!!

So Tony Dungy helps him get to the next level, hiring him while still at Tampa Bay. The Feb. 2001 headline from the official Buccaneers/NFL website reads, “Tony Dungy dips into the college ranks once again to flesh out his coaching staff with Jim Caldwell, Joe Barry and Mike Tomlin.” Now, I’m not knocking Dungy for pushing diversity on the NFL (Lord knows they needed it!), but what exactly did Caldwell bring to the table? A losing record as a college head coach?

And now we have the politically-correct Mr. Irsay to thank for promoting from within, someone who is even MORE mild mannered than Dungy. Thank you, Tony, and thank you, Mr. Irsay. I hope Coach Caldwell enjoys the extended off-season, and the unearned accolades for an over-achieving, MASH unit (aka the 2010 Indianapolis Colts).

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Bowl Mania

Are you kidding me, NCAA???

Just when the crescendo of public dissent was reaching its peak, you go and ADD bowl games?? I know that's your idea of an answer to the call for a playoff to crown a legitimate national champion, but it's a huge step in the WRONG direction. We don't need more MEANINGLESS games! I mean, seriously! The Pinstripe Bowl? The Car Parts Bowl? The TicketCity Bowl? Where do you come up with these ridiculous names and sponsors? What's next, the Extenze Bowl hosted by Jimmy Johnson???

Am I the only one tuning out these lackluster, mismatched, over-commercialized bowls? Are there really football fans out there SO hard-up that they'll watch a pair of teams barely over .500 kick a bevy of field goals? COUNT ME OUT!!!

I watched my alma mater in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, and I'll probably watch the BCS National Championship, but the Throw-Mama-From-The-Train Bowl and the Overhyped-Pair-of-7-and-5-Nobody-Team-Bowls...NO THANK YOU!!!

Get real and give the people what they want, you greedy, money-grubbing bastards!!! (Imagine the voice of Jim Mora) PLAY-OFFS!