Friday, September 28, 2007

Campaign of Fire, Vote of Glory: The True Story of the 1992 Samson High School Student Council Vice President Election

Fifteen years ago this year, I walked the halls of Samson High School with 42 other people as 12th graders... Seniors. After having worked with students at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) for 8 years now, I've lost what it means to even be a Senior... I'll tell ya, Jennifer Lambert and Susan Ward looked a lot older at 17 than, say, Jamie Cartledge or Amanda Laughlin do now... but maybe that's cause I was 17 too.

Anyway, here's something I wrote a few years ago, chronicaling the heated election for Student Council Vice-Presidency, and the "By God!" controversy I was embroiled in...

October, 1992. I loved being a senior. We were the kings of the world, and the world lay beneath our feet. Samson High School was a small school in rural south Alabama, boasting only 45 people in our graduating class. The high school sat right next to the junior high, and everyone from sixth through twelve grades shared the same land at recess... within reason, of course. The "cool" seniors would be sitting on the breezeway, owning the sidewalk, practically daring anyone to walk through without permission.

The junior high kids resided on the opposite end of the yard, the run down end of the yard. Everyday, they would be seen throwing baseballs, running around frantically. I would sit on the breezeway and watching them, thinking back to how I used to throw baseballs and run around frantically. Back then, I would look across the yard at the breezeway, watching the seniors in awe, thinking of how far away 1993 was. Perhaps that year will never come, I'll be in school forever.

Students caught in between the group of commoners, i.e. anyone below ninth grade, and supremacy, i.e. seniors, would mingle in and out. The most popular girls of the sophomore class would always stand close to the lunch room, chatting, backstabbing, gossiping and such. The jocks of the lower classes would huddle together at the end of the sidewalk, discussing babe-bagging and the next week's game. There were a few privileged students whom we allowed to enter our space of rule, but mostly, we stood proud on our sidewalk at recess and lunch. We walked the halls with an air of confidence, borderline cockiness if you will. This was our year... this was my year. I was a senior.

I was a band geek. I admit it. I loved my saxophone, I played it everywhere. Our band combined the talents of 7th grade through 12th grade, and we still only had about 40 students in our band. Out of 500 students, I guess that wasn't bad, but we still were a small band.

It was in band that I dared to do what most seniors wouldn't... cross party lines and befriend the lower classmen. I'll be honest with you, some of my favorite people were in 8th and 9th grades. Some of the funniest guys I knew then were mere Sophs, some of the prettiest girls I knew then were only Juniors and sophomores like Julie Wise. My sax section consisted of myself, a frosh, two eighth graders and a seventh grader. They were like my kids, which was a funny title when you consider that I wasn't even first chair. Amber, one of the 8th graders, was. You'd think I'd feel humiliated by being at least three grades ahead of everyone and sitting in second place, but it didn't bother me any. She was darn good. They gave me laughter, I gave them leadership... they encouraged me with their humor and silliness, they listened to me when things got tough. It makes me feel old to know that everyone of these kids have graduated high school now, and some of them are out of college.

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Two of my sophomore friends, Beverly Day (l) and Jennifer Herndon (r), and part of my strategy. Beverly was always cute as a pumpkin, and Jennifer was pretty in a... well, in a... Jennifer... Herndon sort of way...

The fact that I would humble myself enough to talk to a Soph during recess or say hey to a frosh at lunch, or even high five a... dare I say it?... middle schooler... made me popular with the school. It was this that made me decide to throw my hat in for student council vice-president. I had won SC Rep for my class last year, but this time, it would be harder. It was this that allowed me to go head to head with a popularity juggernaut named Shannon Williamson.

Shannon was an upcoming senior who had joined our class when we were in 9th grade, looking up at the class of 89. She was funny, quirky and immediately popular. Her popularity had grown and grown until it was almost machine-like, when at the end of our junior year, she decided to run for student council vice-president for the following school year. And so did I. There was a third nominee, a guy by the name of Toby, but honestly, he never had much of a chance. Though Toby was a likeable guy, this election was going to be between Shannon and David, and everyone knew it. See, the thing about Shannon was that she was a lot like me in energy and personality... which is why we liked and respected each other a whole lot, but at the same time tended to rub each other the wrong way often.

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My political nemesis, Shannon Williamson... and that looks like a Michelob on her desk, and I swear its not... its some sort of peach drink.

The presidency was locked up by a girl in our class named Nicki. She dominated the Jr. High Student Council years ago and was poised to do the same as a Senior. Oh, don't get me wrong, I adored Nicki, she was a good friend of mine, but I just knew that there wasn't anyone foolish enough to run against her... as a matter of fact, I can't even remember if anyone did. The other offices, such as treasurer and secretary were only small skirmishes compared to the Shannon-Dave election battle of 1992.

My first task was to estimate how the classes were going to vote. The voting population would consist of the upcoming Frosh, Soph, Junior and Senior classes, and I had taken a long hard look at the power of each class. Toby's votes were going to be mainly the Junior class jocks that played football. He would have a few loyalists, but I knew he wouldn't go much beyond that. As for our class, I knew there was no way I could win over the entire Senior class, as Shannon was too huge with them. Yeah, they all liked me, but everyone in our class loved Shannon. There was no need for me to waste my time trying to win votes I knew I would never get. Another factor that came clear to me was the Juniors who didn't go Toby's way would likely go for Shannon.

So for a few days, I carefully staked out a small foothold in the Junior and Senior class, talking to the people that I knew would vote for me. I didn't try to win any Shannon loyalists over, but I needed to build a foundation in those two classes. Nicki and Shannon had clashed many times before, and the thought of being president with Shannon as VP didn't appeal to her... naturally, I took advantage of that fact and pulled her over to my side. She got a few of her best friends on the Dave Train as well. One of my best friends was a Junior, so he promised me his vote and the votes of some of his closer friends. Though the entire Senior class was buzzing about a Shannon'esque administration, I had managed to gather a handful of people in 11th and 12th grade on my side. Then, I discoverd, and began to exploit Shannon's fatal mistake.

Her mistake was the fact that she didn't take the upcoming Frosh and Soph classes seriously... she campaigned hard in the upcoming Junior and Senior classes, easily winning a high percentage of them, but the lower classes were largely ignored. What she forgot was that the lowest of lows, the skankiest of skanks, the geekiest of geeks had the same amount of votes as the most beautiful girl on the cheerleading squad (Stephanie Phillips, in case you are wondering--also on the Dave Train, thank you)... exactly one. Using the band as a foundation, I began to hit the Frosh and Sophs hard, talking to them, spending time with them at lunch. People, no matter how old or young, can tell if you are merely singing sunshine or if you truly care about what they have to say... so I used my ability to just be real with people and stormed the lower classes. I even worked my way in with Julie Wise and Jennifer Herndon and a few of the other popular Sophomore girls by the lunchroom at recess, and was able to get most of their votes.

With the election a few days away, I sewed up the frosh and Soph votes. My final task was to go after Toby's votes. Don't get me wrong, I didn't want to steal his votes... I liked Toby, and wouldn't dream of undermining his campaign. My purpose, however, was to become their clear cut second choice. If there was no Toby, I wanted them to turn to me, not Shannon. And there was a reason for this... after winning Student Council Representative the previous year in a run off with Misty Kimble, I knew this was a very good possibility.

Election day came and everyone filed into the auditorium. Samson carries a tradition that the Seniors come in last, and everyone stands as they march in to sit on the front rows. We proudly walked in, nodding and smiling at the standing underclassmen, as Shannon, myself and Nicki walked to the stage. Toby was already seated onstage, as was the opponents of the other races. Nicki gave her speech first, which wasn't very memorable. It didn't matter really, she could have told a bathroom story and still won the presidency. Then came the V-P speeches. Toby was up and he gave a small speech garnering a decent applause and much noise from the football team.

And then, I was up.

I slowly walked up to the podium and unfolded my paper. "Fellow students, faculty, worthy opponents..." Is there somewhere in a secret code of speech writing that you have to acknowledge your opponents? I began to recite the speech as I had practiced it in my mirror, throwing energy and flair into it. I spoke loud, strong, confident... and like any election, it has to have a controversy. This one did, and wouldn't you know it, it was from me. I would go on a limb and say it was the most controversial speech of any election at Samson before or since.

Promising to do my best to look after the student body's interests, I actually said... remember this is Deep South, total Bible belt country... and these are my words exactly, "...and I don't care how crazy it is, I will take your requests to the administration! If you want your MTV, then by God, I'll try to get you your MTV!"

You just don't say the words "by God" in a speech unless you are actually talking about something that is "by God".

The teachers gasped. The audience went nuts. I don't remember anything after that because of the uproar of applause and cheers. As I headed to my seat onstage, I smiled at Shannon as she was getting up. "Thanks," she smirked at me. "Welcome," I replied, still smiling as I sat. Toby leaned over to me as Shannon began her speech and whispered, "You know you are going to win this election, don't you?"
"We'll see," I replied.

The totals were counted that afternoon, and in the middle of algebra, I heard the loudspeaker come on. "May I have your attention please, the results for the 1992-1993 election are in."

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Nicki Vann, the new Student Council President.

The voice went through the treasurer and secretary, and then announced the new president was Nicki Vann. Gosh, I loved her and all, but when she acted surprised it made me want to throw something at her. Then, the vice-presidency... I looked over at Shannon, she looked at me, and we looked around as the whole class had fixed their eyes on one or the other. "For the Vice President position, there will be a run-off between Shannon Williamson and David Dollar next week."

By the way, I got in trouble for the "by God" remark. The principle, Mr. Wells, and the SGA sponsor, Mrs. Rials, pulled me into the office and told me that remark offended just about every one of the teachers and some of the students. Mrs. Rials even tried to justify it saying, "I figured you meant to say 'by gosh' or 'by golly', and got carried away with your energetic speech."

"No, Mrs. Rials, it's actually written in my speech," I replied. I had to go to each high school teacher and apologize, which I did willfully. Most of the teachers were actually understanding and accepted my apologies, and some even told me "Who cares?"

(by the way, remember this is 1993... in 2007, you say "by God", you'd probably get in trouble not for taking His name in vain, but for mentioning "God" and offending those two students who don't believe, cause gracious, make sure those 1 or 2 students out of a studenty body of 700 are taken care of, right? I'll shut before I go off...)

As for the run-off, this is why I went after Toby's votes and this is why those Juniors who had promised me their votes were key. Toby was the Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader to Shannon's Al Gore and my George Bush. Toby cost Shannon the Student Council Vice President's spot. Having already made nice with all of Toby's voters, most of them now turned to me instead of Shannon. Those Juniors who were already on the Dave Train campaigned for me and began to turn persuade the class of 1994 to come on board. Again, I dominated the Freshman and Sophomore classes and now carried almost half of the junior class. The senior class remained unmoved, as very few of them had voted for Toby anyway, but with Toby's votes and my controversial speech, much of the football team was now on my side. When the election day came back around, the Shannon-David battle was nearing an end.

"May I have your attention please?" asked the loudspeaker voice. "The new vice president for the Samson High School 1992-1993 student council is..."

I held my breath. I looked over at Shannon who was doing the same thing. Just like the last time, all eyes were on us, but unlike the last time, this was it. There would be a name called in a matter of seconds. And when the loudspeaker voice finished, when the name was called, I looked at Shannon, she looked at me, everyone erupted in applause.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Condemned Movies (and other ramblings on a bright and cool Thursday late morning in September)

I figure, it's been a while since I just rambled on my blogsite... or at least on purpose

Just got finished watching "The Condemned". What a total piece of crap. It's like a modern day "Running Man", which is a great movie, set where these criminals are put on an island, and the last one left after all the others have been killed is the winner, and will be pardoned and go free.

Stone Cold Steve Austin is the star, playing Jack Conrad (why the name Jack? Have you noticed that every other character in every other movie and every other tv show is named Jack? I don't even know a Jack, and actually, have never known a Jack in real life, but they are all over Hollywood apparently.), and of course, he kills and blows things up and such, and there is this sleazy producer who is putting it all on the internet.

Its stupid, its implausible, its got incredibly bad acting and you know what? Thought it was great. Actually, to find out this was a great, well done movie would have been a shocker on par with Nick Saban not lying to the Tide and taking a better job in two years (yeah, yeah, I know, what could be better than Alabama, blah blah... go gators), but for what its worth, it wasn't bad. I will say, though, "The Marine" is better. John Triton is a much better corny name for a hero than Jack Conrad.

Does anyone over 18 actually watch MTV on a regular basis? (I just turned it on... "The Hills". Needless to say, I turned it quickly) For proof that it's diminishing relevence finally disappeared the minute Jesse Camp appeared in the late 90s, look no further than the fact there's an entire show based on "Yo Momma" jokes, Nick Cannon is a major star, Laguna Beach and Tila Tequila are in pop culture and the used-to-be-awesome-now-are-useless-MTV Movie & Video awards. And if see one more Next marathon, I'm going to drink bleach mixed with vanilla extract. Here's a great article about proof that MTV hates you.

In a nominee for "CBS Most Amazing Bad Idea Ever", "Kid Nation" premiered last night. And I liked it. So sue me. The premise is, you drop 40 kids in a western style ghost town (named Bonanza, a show I'm sure none of these kids have ever heard of) and make 'em learn how to run a town. Now, before everyone goes Team Bats*** on the idea, rememeber, in any reality show, there are always cameramen around. Some kid gets bitten by a snake or a wild jackalope, you'd be certain one of the guys would drop the camera and help. They wouldn't do it on Survivor, because these are adults, they can help themselves, but with kids?

Anyway, whats the best way to make them resemble real society? Put random kids in charge. Then break them up into gangs, er, groups, then pay them different salaries.

Of course, I'm wondering how scripted it might actually be. You naysayers out there will tell me its all scripted, just like they all are, but I think some aren't as made up as you think. This one, however? It intrigues me. There's Jared, 11, the weird kid who declared "I hope I don't have to take a poo, because I don't want to use that outhouse", and then there's Taylor, 11, who seemed like a good leader until she declared, "I'm a princess. I don't do dishes", then there's Michael, 12 or 14, who keeps making speeches that get applause, and then there's Sophie, 14, my favorite, who doesnt' seem like she's taking crap from anyone. Did I just declare a 14 year old girl as my favorite? Excuse me, someone is knocking at the door... oh, its Chris Hanson. I'll just right here on this stool....

For my money, I'm waiting for a Lord of the Flies all out war to break out... they get some sort of conch, and older boys Greg and Blaine lead a revolution, where the show ends after killing the host Jonathan, then dropping a rock on Michael's head (after making one of his speeches) and little Taylor running through the woods, being chased by Blaine and Sophie who have spears, only to run into Phil Kroegen and Jeff Probst who say "What's going on here?"

Tell me that wouldn't equal ratings.

Speaking of Kid Nation, here's a great article on Ten Child Characters We'd Send to Live in Kid Nation. Funny, funny stuff.

I'm 2/3 of the way through "Salem's Lot" by Stephen King. Its amazing. Its harder for me to read books like this, written in the 70s, because the communication ease of the internet, email, texting, cell phones and such have permeated my life so much that, when I do read such a tale written in such a time, its harder to comprehend Ben Mears not texting someone to say what's happening to the town.

But, I digress. The book starts slowly, dangling just enough in front of you to keep you interested (including a very strange, freaky prologue that only starts to make sense when you find out where the paperweight comes from). However, it's never boring, so you keep reading, not only because you've been teased by things like the strange requests of Mr. Straker, and the flashbacks of Ben Mears and the disapperance of Ralphie Glick, but because you know its a King novel, and you know the payoff is going to be awesome.

Another great thing about the book... if you had never heard of the book or the premise of the book (which any King fan would know, even if you hadn't read it) then you wouldn't have a clue what it was about until about half way through it.

Stephen King is such a master of making you feel the fright the characters feel. One of the best scenes in the book is when Royal and Hank are delivering a strange package to the old Marsten House, a house that is central to the plot. Both are terrified, and in their terror, you get the creepy crawlies. Because suddenly, you are just as scared as they are, as King gives you no reason not to be.

Make no mistake, its an older kids book (as in, adults and older teenagers, not for kids), because there is some language in it... but its brilliant so far.

I watched the updated miniseries of Salem's Lot, made in 1999, starring Rob Lowe and Andre Braugher, and Donald Sutherland (who, like Jon Voight, will appear in ANYTHING). It's a terrible piece of crap, and not like "The Condemned", where its craptastic. Its just crap.

Rob Lowe is terrible, the other actors are terrible, and from the opening scene, they butcher the book entirely. Even Samantha Mathis, who actually looks pretty hot, isn't worth the time you'll put into this. Stay away. Read the book.

Dale Jr picked the new number 88. Now, for all those people like my friends Scott Latta and DeLisa who have "8" tattooed on their back, all they have to do is add another "8". But, I'm guessing it might just make the 88 off center. Oh, the injustice.

So, Mary-Kate Olsen is pregnant. After hearing that news, I tried to care, I really did, but I realized after four seconds, it was a fruitless effort. Then she said she was kidding... nope, still don't care.

I've been shooting through Heroes Season 1, and it rocks. I tried watching it earlier, when it premiered a year ago, but I kept getting distracted, so I just turned it on to WWE Raw instead. Well, now that I'm paying attention to it, it makes more sense. I'm 8 episodes in, and am going to push to finish before Monday's premiere--though I might have to tape the premiere and watch it when I finish the first season.

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A fantastic show if you can stick with it

I'm also pushing through Grey's Anatomy Season 3. I'm 8 episodes into it as well. I kinda know some of the stuff coming up, though Steph has no idea, so I won't mention it here, but I'm excited. This show is just great, and its hard to even determine who my favorite character is... first its Christina, then its George, then its Izzie, then its Meredith... the hottest chick on the show is by far and away Addison, but my favorite character right now is Callie. That will probably change by the next episode. Steph loves George and Bailey. And George Bailey, when's she's watching old movies.

Here's something that my buddy Mikey, and other Seinfeld junkies, will enjoy. Click on the link to look at the poster, and try to find all 38 references to Seinfeld. Three or four will jump out immediately... some are much more hidden.

Okay, so that trailer that everyone's been buzzing about, the one where they are taking video at the party, and explosions happen and the head of the Statue of Liberty lands in the street? The one with no title, only "01-18-08" on the screen. Here's the website.

The project is titled "Cloverfield" for now, because that's JJ Abram's hometown. On the website, stick around for six minutes. It's fun if you do. (Make sure your volume is up)

Remember the Go-Bots? Here's a list of "The Poor Man's Versions", as in, the Go-Bots were the poor man's Transformers... I usually refer to this as "welfare version", as in, you stand in the welfare line, they hand you government cheese, butter and Go-Bots, but you get the drift.

I actually like Neal Cavuto in #2, and would take him over that windbag Lou Dobbs, but I love #1.

Well, thats it for me... I'm off to the showers, then off to give coffee to the masses. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Men of Troy Rise Again

If you are reading this on The Blogspot Page, and wonder why all the links are below instead of on the right, its because you have an older version of Internet Explorer. If you have the new one, the links will lay right over the pictures. I could reduce the size, but I like it like it is.

So, Friday night, my buddy Mikey and I drove down to Troy to see the Men of Troy take on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. This is big simply because this is only the 2nd time a school from a major BSC conference (both times now being The Big XII) has visited Troy, Alabama. Generally, Troy Trojans go elsewhere to get blown out (ie, several trips to Nebraska, a trip to Florida, another to Arkansas) or to almost have an on-the-road upset (ie, Florida State a few years ago).

Last time, Missouri rolled in with Brad Smith, their early season Heisman candidate. They left, getting their heads handed to them, with the crown chanting "NO MORE HEISMAN" to the sullen Missouri Tiger line. Brad even turned around and glanced in the direction of the seats that Mikey, Drew, Big Tom, Tommy Mc, Wookiee and I were seated (not that he was staring at us, but in our area).

And this time, Oklahoma State rolled in with big aspirations, thinking that their early season loss to Georgia might have been an anomoly, only to leave losers by the score of 41 to 23. The score actually should have been something like 56 to 10, as Troy left two touchdowns on the field, and gave up two late, due to stupid penalities and missed tackles... I think that they were just getting jittery over the fact they were about to beat down another Big XII school.

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Mikey, enjoying the game, with Jessica the Chi Omega drying out from the rain. I'm partial to Alpha Gams myself, but Chi Omegas are nice too.

I did get to see my friend Leah, she worked with me at Starbucks at Cahaba Heights, only to realize the job wasn't for her, and left to go work with CCM Magazine, or something like that.

Our seats freakin' rocked. We were five rows up, about on the 40 yard line. It was great. The rain also made for a great night. It was downpour all day, cleared up on the way down, then started again when we got there. We parked, had to walk across the campus (which isn't that huge) and had to walk around the stadium to get to will-call. The rain came pouring down, we walked around with our rainjackets on. I had my NBC13 jacket. It was a terrible job, but the jacket and meeting Wendy Garner were two good things came out of it.

Had some fun with the people around us... highlights:

  • We stood on row 5, in front of three older guys, and behind an attractive Chi Omega and I'm assuming her date for the evening, and another couple, the chick with short blond hair and loud screams and a guy who looked like he listened to David Allen Coe and Eminem while mudriding in his 4x4, at the same time wanting to be a baller.
  • The old guys behind us were hollering at us to sit down. We were forced to stand on the seats, not the concrete walk, because the tall dude in front of us was, well, tall. I told the guy behind us that I couldn't sit, or move because the guy in front of me. So the older guy leaned over me, tapped on the shoulder of the tall dude and asked him to move. What ensued was a war of loud words about how the whole section would have to sit down and the old guys had season tickets and...
  • Loud Blonde Chick quietly asked him to move, and he wouldn't do it. After the war of words ceased, I leaned forward, and quietly said to the guy, "Hey man, you're pretty tall. If you stepped down, you could still see, then I could see, and everyone behind me could see too."
  • Eventually, the guy stepped down. I only mention all of this because for the entire rest of the game, he was actually pouting. Pouting. POUTING. As in, he didn't clap, he didn't cheer, as the touchdowns mounted for Troy, he just stood there.
  • Loud Blonde Chick leaned over several times and whispered "Don't be mad, baby... don't be mad... I want you to have a good time.. come on sweetie, be happy..." Mikey and I thought it was hysterical.
The Chi Omega was actually named Jessica Williams, who lives her in Birmingham. Its funny how, in games and competitions such as this, you develop small communities with the people around you. The game was full of one liners, comebacks, cheering and high fives with the older guys behind us, Jessica the Chi Omega, the Guy with Jessica the Chi Omega and a few others.

Funny, Loud Blonde Chick and Pouty Boyfriend disappeared after halftime, only to return with a coke for each, and two small bottles that resembled syrup bottles from Cracker Barrel, though I'm sure that pancakes weren't what they were enhancing.

Speaking of halftime, we got a nice show from a guy in the flag guard. Sweet Sweetback was wearing great velvet pants, and looked like a gay Keenan Ivory Wayans. It was rather amusing. He wasn't even that good.

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Sweet Sweetback's BadA********* Song

Some of my favorite chants for the night:
"Boomer Sooner!"
"Troy, Alabama! Where Big XII dreams come to die!"
"Put in Lemon!" (one of their players who didnt see any play time)
"I love Robinson! He's our hero!"
and of course, the favorite: "You suck!"

Robinson was OSt's QB, and was terrible... which lead to this exhange from me and Mikey: Mikey, after seeing Robinson run: Oh, so he's a running quarterback now?
Me: Well, he sure as heck ain't a passing quarterback

After the game, of course, the goalposts came down. We went onto the field, but decided against the rush of people. Like the Mizzou victory, Troy University gave up one goal post, but police officers surrounded the other one. As we walked out on that end of the field, I said, loud enough for the officers to hear me, "Hey Mikey, let's take down the other one! You and me!" The officers chuckled.

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I love college football.

As we left, walking across the campus, I was reminded about how much Troy University had changed... new buildings, new dorms, old dorms refurbished, one torn down, old fields once used for flag football and ultimate frisbee at 3am now made into parking lots... I felt right at home being there, and look forward to going back in a few weeks for the BCM Alumni Reunion (that I finally decided to go to, after wavering over and over).


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rebecca Miller & the Divine Do Over

Wrote this in March 2005. Thought I'd share with an audience that probably hasn't seen it (at least in a while). Just remember that when reading it... take a 2005 perspective.

Earlier today, I was walking through the hallway, and I passed by a TV in the lobby. On the TV was The Goddess, and so of course, I stopped, because she's The Goddess.

But the words on the screen weren't "Ashley Judd--Movie Star" or "Ashley Judd--Hot Kentucky Fan" or even "Ashley Judd--Hot Chick with Oscar Winner Morgan Freeman and Oscar Winner Tommy Lee Jones in Another Crappy Chase/Wrongly Accused Movie" .... no, the words were "Ashley Judd, Global Ambassador". Say it slowly. Ashley. Judd. Global Ambassador. I haven't looked yet, but I'm sure that's one of the seven seals in Revelations. This has nothing to do with anything. Just thought I'd share.

(author's note from 2013--Ashley Judd is no longer my Goddess.  She was my favorite for a long, long time, but she got a little flaky and a lot left wing nut job for my tastes.  Now?  Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with.)

Its kinda long, so buckle in or read it later... On with the show...

I had a childhood friend named Chad Ward.  When we were about 13 or so, I was playing HORSE with him on the basketball court one Saturday afternoon, and I had him all but beat. We were both at H-O-R-S (for you spellers out there, that meant the first one to get the E would lose), when I made an unbelievable behind-the-back, bounce-the-ball-off-the-court-into-the-net shot from the arc. He tried it, and failed miserably.

Did he say, "Dude... that was awesome... you got me."? No, he began to complain that the wind (!) caught the ball and that he needed another shot. South Alabama is known for its July wind. More tired of hearing him fuss at me more than anything, plus convinced the game was over, I told him go ahead... and of course, he made it. Then, after he did a simple lay-up, to which I missed, he proudly declared himself the HORSE champion of the day. Even after I told him I needed another shot, because the court was too hot, it was to no avail. He got his do-over. I didn't get one.

It was a sign of things to come for me, I think...

One of my biggest pet peeves right now is credit card mail. I don't mean the things I actually owe on, I mean Bank of America, Citicard, Chase Bank and the mack daddy of all "YOU ARE PRE APPROVED!!" mailings, Capital One. According to Capital One, not only do d$ and The Lovely Steph Leann live at our apartment, Stephanie Campbell lives there, Ruth Campbell lives there and Velma Dollar, my aging, credit-card less mother also lives there. I know that from the fact that we are inundated weekly with all sorts of mail from every card company you can imagine, all wanting us to get their low interest cards.

I've tried a few things. At first, I called them, one by one, and said "Please remove me and fill in (pick from above names) from your mailing list immediately." Nothing changed. Then someone told me that they knew someone who opened up the letters, shredded the application, put it in the return envelope and just sent it back. This was a great idea until I tried it. When you shred it and stuff it back in the return envelope, it makes a big, bulging envelope that does not in any way resemble a flat, completed credit application. When the novelty of this wore off, I made some return stickers that said "Return to Sender... We Don't Want Your Crap!"

I got a kick out of slapping this sticker on all credit letters, until I read an article on about how one of the leading causes of identity theft is by people swiping credit applications out of mailboxes. So the sticker idea ended quickly.

Now I'm back to calling them again. One rep actually asked me why I was giving up such a great deal on credit, and I told him that they had to be a totally inept and completely unethical to actually offer me any kind of credit, and therefore, I could not, in good conscience, do business with such people. I laughed. He didn't.

I'll be honest with you, I have horrible credit. I got caught at an early age in college by those tables sitting outside of the Adams Student Center, with clubs peddling card applications. I went out with a girl named Rebecca Miller in college. She was an Alpha Gamma Delta girl, and extremely attractive at that... nothing serious, we went out a few times here and there... well, I remember seeing Rebecca Miller sitting outside of the Adams Center, asking me while blinking those pretty green eyes to sign up for a card, because with every card application they had, her Science Club or whatever got $10 from Chase Visa. Wanting to impress what could be a budding relationship (and my chance to actually go to a sorority function--things we hold important tend to evolve, I think) I naturally signed up for it, because she told me, with that big cute smile, "Oh, you can just cancel it when you get it!".

Coincindentally, I used that card when she and I went to dinner at Darryl's Restaurant and a movie (the immortal classic "Two If By Sea" with Sandra Bullock and Denis Leary.)

In my first two years of college, I went on to sign up for four cards--an Chase Visa, a First Nat'l Bank Visa, a Discover Card (the card that pays you back!) and an AT&T Universal Mastercard (which they quit making about eight years before I finished paying the darn thing off). As a matter of fact, I still have one of the Slinkys that I got as a prize for signing up for Discover. Currently, that plastic rainbow Slinky has cost me a little over a thousand dollars lifetime. It now resides in a box with other trinkets that I will slowly toss a little at a time as Stephanie's Creative Memories spreads like kudzu, taking over the entire universe.

And somehow, I maxed out four cards averaging $500 to $1,000 limits per card. Of course, I used some of it sensibly during college--books for school, tuition, fees, dinner with Katherine Gates--but otherwise, I would look around my room and try to figure out what I own from those cards. A Harry Anderson book, my Pulp Fiction soundtrack and my Monkees 4-cd Box Set. That is about it. The rest? *Poof*. Nothing to show for it but a credit score lower than John Kerry's approval rating around Rush Limbaugh's house.

Thing is, I now have a record. Every time I would apply for anything that actually made sense, like credit at Goodyear to get tires or for a better interest rate on my student loan, I was not just rejected, but met with a "That's pretty funny... wait... you are serious?"

Of course, God truly blessed me in a bazillion ways with Stephanie, one of which is her financial brain. Oh, she's not an accounting guru or anything, but she is the budgeter of the Casa de Pesos and her own good credit is helping my credit make a slow comeback. (As a matter of fact, through the grace of God and the fact that when we got married, my debt became OUR debt, I just wrote the check last Thursday, paying off the Discover Card, the final of the four that have haunted my bank account for over ten years. Curse you, Rebecca Miller, and your green eyes too!)

Here's another thought... let me tell you about my pal Cari. You might know her as the former Cari Kates on 93.7 WDJC. (I'm personally a big fan of 104.7 The Fish out of Atlanta, but don't tell her... she does tell me, however, my crush on Wendy is kinda creepy. Steph just rolls her eyes. Where was I?).  Now she is world famous Cari Kates on the airwaves  Now without going into a long recap of the full story, apparently she said something--in a comical fashion--about President Bush and the Secret Service agents that came with him when Dubya came to town a couple of years ago. A few visits by the Secret Service and FBI at her home, and she's red-flagged at the White House, meaning she can't visit many places in Washington because she now has a record. Its kinda funny, when you think about it.

Here's the gist... Things that we do follow us around. Be it credit, or a radio stunt gone awry, or even if you are known as a "certain type of person", whatever that means to you, we are remembered by things we do. And most notably, the bad things we do. I have been working at Starbucks for two years now, and I can probably count on two hands the number of times I've heard someone say--not in defense, but just bring it up--" You know, (insert barista name here) is fantastic. Let me tell you what awesome thing they did the other day." But combine all of the hands in Starbucks (at least 40 hands) and triple it, and it might come close to half of the times I've heard "You know (insert barista name here) really stinks. You know what offense they committed?".

Not only are we remembered by the bad things we've done, sometimes all it takes is one bad impression to brand someone forever as irresponsible... trampy... geeky... arrogant... sinful... pompous... and we're that way forever. When it comes to records and reputations... many times, there is no do-over. We can whine all we want our reasons or excuses, no matter how legit, but "the wind caught it!" just doesn't cut it in real life.

Imagine if God kept a record? A record of sins. I know, some of you are laughing, thinking "Wow... I'd be in trouble", but honestly--we would all be in VERY serious trouble. Some of us would have a couple of volumes, some of us would have a shelf devoted to us, and I'm thinking I would have a wing with my name on it in the Sin Book Library. "Yes, this is the d$ area of sins. Over there is the lust area--might I recommend this volume of Ashley Judd pictures--over here is pride, if you go upstairs to the third floor, you'll find selfishness and gossip, and the entire fifth floor is dedicated to how he's destroyed the book of James.   And on these 71 bookshelves, you can read about the Attempted Justification of Scripture Interpretation of All Actions.  Oh you want to know what he did right? Um... ah yes, here's a pamphlet."

Wouldn't it be great to able to call up Visa, Discover and MasterCard and say, "You know, I really goofed up. Rebecca Miller's smile just got me, so I had to sign up. I'm really sorry. I've been paying back for seven years now, I've got some of you taken care of, can we just make it a clean slate? Can I have me a do-over?" and they would say, "You're right. You've worked hard at this. And we know that Rebecca is such a vixen, so we understand. Your debt is paid, we're back on square one, and you still have the ball."

Or maybe if Cari could call up Donald Rumsfeld and say, "Hey, that was all a joke, I was just kidding. Please let me visit the Pentagon. I voted for Dubya because... well, I have common sense. A do-over, maybe?" and Rummy would say, "You're right, ma'am. We were overreacting. Come visit us, spend your hard earned money on our overpriced snow globes with plastic famous monuments in them. Do-over granted."

Or if we could start over with people, and say, "Hey, I know I came across truly arrogant the other day when you met me. Please don't think that about me. Give me a do-over and I'll do better" and they would say, "Oh, you're right. I jumped to conclusions... I'm willing to form my opinion of you only after I've known you a little more."

Isn't it great that God doesn't keep records? Once we realize our bad credit with Him, we have the freedom to repent... and then He wipes it clean. Once our jokes go awry, He takes it away like it never happened. There are no first impressions with God, because God knew us before we did.

Here's the encouragement I wanted to share.... its in Psalm 130, verses 3 thru 7.

"If you, oh Lord, kept a record of our transgressions, who could stand? But with you, there is forgiveness... therefore, you are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than the watchmen wait for the morning, my soul waits for the Lord. Put your hope in the Lord, for the Lord, with his unfailing love, and with Him is full redemption."

If God kept a tally of sins... no one would make it. Not you, not I. Not tobyMac, not 50 Cent, not Martin Luther, not Britney Spears, not Billy Graham, not Paul, not Peter, not Mary, (the folk band OR the apostles and the Mother of Jesus), not anyone. None of us would make it. But in Him... in Him there is TOTAL forgiveness.

I wait for the Lord. I wait for Him to direct me. I wait for Him to hold me. I wait for Him to forgive me. I wait for Him.

Watchmen in those days... they loved the morning time. They got to work when the sun went down, watched the horizon all night long, keeping watch over the town they were protecting. If someone attacked, they could be killed... and they waited for the morning. When morning came, they would be free, they would be safe, they would be able to rest and be at ease.

I wait for the Lord MORE than the watchman waits for the morning. And in His Word I place my hope. In His promise to me, His guide for life, His written Word, I place my hope that He will fulfill all of His plans that He promised us.

Be encouraged that you have a second chance... maybe you can't buy a house because of your bad credit, maybe you can't visit the Pentagon because you are a suspected terrorist in the form of a cute Christian DJ with a hoopty car and quirky glasses, maybe you can't start over with some people because of things that have happened in and out of your control... but with God, there is always a do-over... but more than a second chance... its a second chance with four of the most beautiful words a sinner can know... Unfailing. Love. Full. Redemption.

Its the Divine Do-Over.

Through the death of His Son, we have been given the ultimate Do Over. Be it starting back from the point you messed up yesterday, or going back years at how your life has completely falling apart... with God, there is a do-over that no one can offer but Him. Now with your Divine Do-Over, that doesnt mean you won't have messes to clean up, but when you are in the midst of your cleansing, He'll be right beside you, loving you, directing you and blessing you. And waiting to give you the next Divine Do-Over, because He knows you will need it.

When you fall, remember your Divine Do-Over. Clean up your mess and keep moving, steady on. And you know what? Here's to hoping (raising my glass) that somehow, somewhere, Rebecca found hers.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

College Football Fan Rules

In one of the funniest articles I've read in a long time, aside from Nick Saban's daily schedule, I found this on a list of rules for college football fans. I would direct you there, but I'd rather you just read it here, so I took the liberty of putting it on this page, just for you. Oh yeah, and GO GATORS!!!

Let's face it: Life requires rules. Precepts to live by, laws to abide by, dictums to follow, lest civilization devolve into a Hobbesian state of nature, "Lord of the Flies," with all of us grasping for the conch and no one agreeing if it takes one or both feet inbounds for a sideline catch to count.

College football fandom is no different.

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If you win the whole darn thing you can pretty much do what you want. Well, almost anything.

Is it OK to root for two schools? Is it ever OK to root for a rival? As a fan, how many Freedom of Information Act requests can I file before it seems creepy? Such are the questions that try boosters' souls. But fear not: Page 2 is here to help.

After months of careful deliberation and a two-week retreat to the College Football Hall of Fame, Page 2 has compiled a list of 57 rules for college football fandom. Learn them. Love them. Step out of the confusing darkness, and into clarity's* sweet light…
* Note: Clarity does not apply to BCS debates


1. As a fan, you have to pick a school, one school, same as if you were filling out applications to, you know, go to school there. You may not be a fan of a conference, teams from a specific state, "West Coast football" or college football in general. Nobody is a fan of college football in general, not even Lee Corso. Nor may you root for Harvard and Yale, any more than you could matriculate at both places, unless you're really, really smart, in which case you're probably building prototype military surveillance nanobots in your MIT dorm room, and/or devising a computerized ranking system* to shame Jeff Sagarin.
* Note: In scenario No. 2, you are allowed to root for the spread. Just make sure Skynet never becomes self-aware

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The trendy team? Only if you went there, or someone you married did.

1a. Under extenuating circumstances, however, you may have up to three Division I-A rooting allegiances, so long as the schools meet the following criteria:
(a) Your birthplace/family school – especially if an inheritance is at stake, or if a campus library bears your last name.

(b) Al(most)ma mater – the school you transferred from.
(c) The school that actually handed you a diploma. Or would have, if you hadn't finished three credits short.
(d) Your spouse's school, especially if the program is vastly superior to your own, or your spouse cares waaaay more than you do, in which case: good call on getting married!
(e) You're a bandwagon-jumping, low-self-esteem weenie and scurry from Notre Dame to Miami to Ohio State to USC to Boise State depending on the year, the polls and the amount of water flooding into the ship.

If you can't be true to a school, at least be true to your own weaselly nature.

2. Your schools of allegiance must be in different conferences. Unless the conference in question is the ACC, in which case you may root for Duke and anyone else, since the Blue Devils might as well play in another conference – like, say, the Patriot League.

3. If your schools of allegiance ever play each other, you must pick one to root for, before the game, and put your preference in writing, ALL CAPS, preferably in blood. No sitting on the fence, no qualified endorsements, no switching sides at halftime, and especially none of this:

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4. If you attended a lower-division or NAIA school, you're allowed to pick a D-I school of your choice. But you must consistently root for that school year in and year out, and it's preferred that the school be geographically close to you.

4a. Or you can just root for Appalachian State every week.

4b. Notre Dame? How very original.

5. You may not bet against your favorite team unless you're:
(a) trying to purge it of a rotten coach; (b) in Vegas and about to sell bodily fluids or organs to cover your previous losses (thanks, Michigan!); (c) looking at a huge spread and you think your team will win but not cover, probably 'cause its coached by Phil Fulmer.

6. You may use the Freedom of Information Act once per decade on your favorite team. This is America , after all.

7. Unlimited use of the Freedom of Information Act is permitted for your rival schools. America: [Expletive] Yeah!

8. If a team from your conference makes the BCS title game and is a sworn rival, you cannot root for that team. Not now. Not ever. Not even if under duress, gunpoint or waterboarding in an Eastern European black site CIA detention center.

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Movie-based trash talk is always welcome.

8a. Michigan fans should not have been rooting for Ohio State in the national title game. That's just wrong. And, frankly, a little sick.

9. You are allowed to root freely against the following schools for no specific reasons:
--Notre Dame
--Notre Dame in their puke-green jerseys
--Notre Dame when playing on "Triumph of the Will"-shaming propaganda house organ NBC
--any school that plays its fight song approximately 4,387 times per game like USC
--Ohio State
--any school like Ohio State with a pretentious "the" in front of its name, because otherwise how would we know which Ohio State university they were talking about?
--any school coached by Steve Spurrier
--any school coached by Nick Saban


10. Please observe the following age limits on male attire:

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Kudos to these Longhorns fans: Shirtless but wearing body paint.

• 25-and-under: Team jersey or shirtless (body paint mandatory)
• 26-35: T-shirt, jersey, shirtless if you work out at least three times per week and/or have a BMI reading of less than "morbidly obese"
• 36-50: Polo shirt
• 51-75: Sweater vest with polo shirt underneath; sweatshirt from bowl victory two decades ago
• 75-over: Shirtless, alcoholic steam rising from graying chest hair

11. Please observe the following age limits on female attire:
• 25-and-under: Baby-doll tank top, or sports bra if spelling out letter with body paint; cowboy hats; short shorts with team nickname on rear; nothing but a letter of intent and a smile (recruiting hostesses only)
• 26-35: T-shirt, jersey or sweatshirt
• 36-50: Any outfit accented by bead-heavy team necklace
• 51-75: Any outfit accented by glittery hat or electric glasses
• 75-over: Hair must be dyed school colors; polyester pants to match.

12. If your team changes its uniform, go ahead and buy the new jersey – as long as it's on your parents' credit card.

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Politically correct? Come on! This is college football!

13. University of Oregon fans are exempt from all jersey-wearing rules.

13a. When using crayons, University of Oregon fans also are exempt from having to color within the lines.

13b. University of Oregon fans are permitted to put on a jersey, look in the mirror and proclaim: My god, it's full of stars.

13c. University of Oregon fans wearing jerseys may qualify for federal Superfund status. Contact the EPA.

14. Team hats should never contain more animal hair than the family pet.

14a. Unless you're a Tennessee fan.

15. If you weigh less than 150 pounds, you can spell out only the following letters when shirtless and wearing body paint: I, L, T.

15a. If you weigh more than 275 pounds, you can spell out only the following letters when shirtless and wearing body paint: O, W, M.

15b. If you're a hot coed, paint yourself with Chinese characters for all we care

16. Southern frat boys not wearing khakis and a tie to the game must forfeit one bourbon and Coke.

16a. Southern fans wearing team-colored seersucker suits with matching bow ties drink free for the season.

17. Midwestern adults not wearing jersey of favorite white player to the game are penalized one Old Style.

18. Los Angeles fans really ought to have a tan.

19. "COCKS" hats? Good one, brah!

20. "Property of School Athletic Department" sweatshirts are acceptable, but they work best as an ironic comment on the state of student-athletes.


21. You must know the rules of beer pong. Even if you're "retired."

21a. Dude, no one ever retires from beer pong.

22. You must be willing and able to sing the school fight song at any moment, in any location, under any circumstances.

22a. You must be able to remember the always-forgotten second/third verse of the school fight song, but only when utterly intoxicated.

23. You may have a school license plate if you are not an alum, but only if your car horn also plays the school fight song.

24. It is OK to deny the existence of your school's male cheerleaders.

24a. Even if they someday become president.

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It is against any and all rules to dis the USC song girls.

25. It is never OK to deny the hotness of the USC song girls.

25a. Not even if you attend UCLA.

26. Please observe the following age guidelines on appropriate thoughts to have while ogling the USC song girls:
• 11-15: What is this strange tingling feeling?

• 16-18: College is going to be awesome.
• 18-24: I wish she'd wear that skirt to sociology class.
• 25-35: College was awesome.
• 36-50: I wish she'd wear a burka or something. That could be my baby daughter!
• 51-75: Gee, what a lovely young lady. I hope she meets a nice boy.
• 75-over: What is this strange tingling feeling? Do I have to go to the bathroom again?

27. You are allowed to start tailgating six hours before kickoff.

27a. If you want to remember the game, do not drink heavily during those six hours.

27b. Four hours of drinking is more reasonable.

28. Always yield to the rich alumni driving the decked-out Winnebagos.

28a. They mix the best drinks.

28b. And they might be hiring you in six months.

29. If you have a TV at your tailgate, you must expect and allow other fans to congregate around your area and sneak a peek. Share your bounty!

29a. Especially if Notre Dame is on and is getting its golden little teeth kicked in by Georgia Tech.

30. If tailgating at South Carolina and there are more than six people present, one must be wearing a real, stuffed gamecock on his/her head.

30a. Sorry, PETA.

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If anyone has an extra jaguar, Southern is looking for a new one. (Sorry PETA.)

31. You must leave your tailgate at least 20 minutes before kickoff and be in your seat for the national anthem.

31a. Unless you're getting digits.

32. Never leave a game early, unless: (a) it's a blowout and there's a great game just starting on TV; (b) it's time to use those digits.

33. When arguing with fans from another conference, you are allowed to cite the accomplishments of rival schools within your conference.

33a. Grudgingly.

34. You must have at least two bobbleheads or stuffed animals on your office desk, or a combination of one bobblehead and one stuffed animal.

34a. No refrigerator schedule magnet? Then the terrorists have already won.

35. If your significant other went to a rival school, no sex on rivalry game day.

35a. If your significant other went to a rival school, all wagers should involve sex.

35b. If rule 35a is in effect, waive rule 35.

36. You must buy a letterman's jacket to display the letter you won in band.

36a. You must not write Page 2 to explain how band members are really athletes.

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Friends don't let friends date body painters. In fact, real friends don't let friends date Ohio State fans.

37. (For men): Never hit on a woman while wearing face paint.

37a. (For men): Always hit on a woman who is wearing face paint.

38. (For women): Never hit on a man spelling out the following letters in body paint: O, W, M.

39. Anyone who calls Division I-AA by the new name "Division I Football Championship Subdivision" must receive one punch directly to the throat.

39a. If you are giving the punch, remember: This hurts you more than it hurts them.

40. You must make at least one road trip while in college without tickets or a hotel room lined up ahead of time.

40a. Bonus points if you spend the night in a sorority house.

40b. Double bonus points if you spend the night in a sorority house wearing nothing but a stuffed gamecock on your head.


41. Observe the following statutes of limitations:
(a) Bragging about national title: 25 years

(b) Bragging about a top-five finish: 15 years
(c) Bragging about a top-five finish if you are Ohio State, USC, Florida , Miami, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida State, Texas, Oklahoma: 0 years
(d) Bragging about a BCS bowl win: 10 years
(e) Bragging about a blowout BCS bowl win over Notre Dame: one year, or until someone else joins the club
(f) Bragging about Heisman winner: 10 years
(g) Bragging about Heisman winners whose last names rhyme with "Baretta": six months
(h) Bragging about Heisman winners named "O.J.": null
(i) Bragging about a big upset of your rival: Five years on a daily basis, for eternity at least twice a year
(j) Bragging about a victory, any victory: Two years*
* Note: Applies to Duke only

42. You must never be proud of your 6-5 bowl team.

42a. Unless, of course, it's Duke.

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Uh-oh, Notre Dame ... here comes Navy!

43. You must always overestimate the strength of your favorite team's conference.

43a. You must always overestimate the strength of those plucky service academies, if your favorite team is Notre Dame.

44. You must cheer at the stadium when the public-address announcer reveals that your rival school is losing.

44a. You must let out an "oooooooh" when the public address announcer alerts you to an upset in progress.

44b. You must let out an "ooooooh … ahhhhhhh!" when the public address announcer alerts you to an upset in progress involving your rival school.

45. If your team wins the national championship, you are allowed to spend $1,000 on commemorative items with absolutely no questions asked.

45a. No questions means no questions, not even about the leather hardbound Sports Illustrated just-add-water Chia book.

46. You must change the bumper stickers on your car every five years.

46a. Note: Please remove the "1985 Orange Bowl champs" sticker immediately.


47. Always assume that your league rivals are cheating. Always assume your school's great kids epitomize throwback student-athletes, with footballs under one arm and textbooks under the other.

47a. Pay no attention to the fact that said textbooks are for: (a) physical education; (b) sociology; (c) theory of football; (d) theory of ballroom dancing.

48. If you root for an SEC school, you are not allowed to act sanctimonious when a rival conference program is busted for academic fraud, dirty recruiting or any other NCAA rules violation. Instead, give thanks for your see-no-evil compliance department.

48a. You are, however, allowed to snicker.

48b. You may also file a FOIA request.

49. Feel free to spread a rumor that your rival's head coach is having an affair. You heard it from a very reliable source at a frat party.

50. You must always deny – with great conviction – that there are patsies on your favorite team's schedule when attacking the schedules of rivals. Youngstown State is a formidable opponent! And there are no American tanks at the Baghdad airport!

51. Never call to taunt a rival fan when the game is still in progress, unless your team holds a lead of 28 points or more in the second half.

51a. A snarky text message works fine.

52. Never answer the phone after your team loses a big game.

52a. Better still, unplug your phone.

52b. Even better still, throw your phone out the window. Then run it over.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAnd always be willing to take your I-AA medicine.

53. Never skip work the following Monday after your team loses a big game. Take your medicine like a real fan.

54. If you get on the message boards and/or call talk radio demanding that the coach be fired after your team loses the opener, you must stick with it and continue to pay the domain registration fee for for the next five years.

54a. Even when they turn it around and go 11-1.

54b. Or when Carr is fired.

55. Statute of limitations on ripping Lee Corso for not putting on the headgear of your team, and then having the nerve to pick the other guys instead: one year.

56. You are allowed one e-mail per season to a media outlet – local or national – bitterly complaining about the lack of respect for your school and the obvious media bias against your conference.

56a. More than one such e-mail makes you a paranoid crybaby.

56b. If you're a Pac-10 fan, just shut up already.

57. Do not call the opposing punter a wuss from the safety of the stands. He's probably tougher than you are. And if he's from Northern Colorado, he might have to cut you.

57a. Besides, throwing a ziplock bag of urine works much better

Someone on the page added, "If you are an Alabama fan, you are obligated to yell "Roll Tide" at least every 30 seconds. Even if it is the middle of your friend's wedding/important presentation/birth of your first child."

Summer Reviewin'

I was lovin' my summer, let me tell ya... movies, books, music, friends, food, even more! So, before I forget it all, here's a quick rundown of things watched, read, eaten, spent time with and so on:

Summer Movies:
Surf's Up... actually not a bad movie. It was second in a double feature, so we watched it for free, and was pleasantly surprised. Shia LaBeouf is the voice of Cody, a penguin who loves to surf.

Transformers... speaking of Shia, he did quite well headlining this feature, based on the 80s toys. Sam (Shia) buys a car to impress a chick (Megan "She's a Total" Fox) only to find out the car is a robot, an Autobot, to be exact, one of sent to Earth. This movie freakin' rocked, surpassing all of my expectations.

Spiderman 3... Ehh.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End... Much better than the second one.

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix... This movie was awesome. I had high hopes for the movie, as it was my favorite of the books, and it delivered. Evanna Lynch was perfect as Luna Lovegood, and the climax of the film was great.

The Bourne Ultimatum... My favorite of the Bourne movies. Well paced, fast action, great plot, great turns by both Matt Damon and the supporting cast, including Joan Allen, Chris Cooper and Julia Stiles.

Live Free or Die Hard... John McClane is just awesome. He kills a copter with a car. A car. He runs out of bullets, you see... Bruce Willis is an icon. This one is better than the third one.

Knocked Up... Raunchy, but funny. Really, really funny. Katherine Hiegl is worth the price of admission.

Superbad... Raunchy, but funny. Really, really funny. Seth Rogan is worth the price of admission.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer... this was kind of a crappy movie, but crappy in a good way. It was only 90 minutes, which was a perfect length. Jessica Alba is still a terrible Sue Storm.

Bug... Holy crap. I only went to see it because My Hollywood Goddess was in it. However, if someone who's seen this film calls you and says "hey, you should come over and watch it!", you say no, then you quit being their friend, because they don't love you.

Oceans 13... Not a bad flick. Not quite as much of a inside-joke movie as Oceans 12, thereby its a little funnier, while Oceans 11 is still the best of the three.

Books I've Managed to Read:
To Catch a Predator by Chris Hanson... perhaps you've heard of the Dateline NBC running show of the same name--well, this is that show in book form, but more in depth. Not only does it give you some background to some of the sting operations, but tells some other personal stories of people who've faced internet predator tragedies.

King Dork by Frank Portman... Ya know, I really wanted to like this book, but ended up being halfway through it, and forcing myself to finish because I'd invested several hours into it. The ending wasn't too bad, but I was glad this high school tale of loserdom and friendship and music was over when it was.

Don't Eat This Book by Morgon Spurlock... Its the same guy who did the fantastic doc "Super Size Me", and he relays alot of this into this movie. Its starts out great, documenting the days leading up to his movie, but it bogs down greatly in the middle, playing politics and placing alot of blame on various entities and government organizations.

The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart... I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but I really liked this chick book. I mean, its the story of the friendship between Cameron and Sonia, and how it all goes bad years later, but I found it not just amusing but... touching? Sweet? Poignant? I'm going to go slam my hand in the car door now.

Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton... a book I read for work. My strengths? Postivity is number one, followed by strategery, then communication, beliefs and connectedness. Sounds like me, I reckon.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows... might have been the best book I've read in years. Absolutely stunning and brilliant.

The Shining by Stephen King... as a teenager, this book scared the begeezus out of me. Rereading it in one weekend this summer, I found that it didnt scare me like before, but it was a lot smarter, and the characters much richer and in depth than I remember. Great book.

Two books I tried to read, but couldn't finish, though I may try again soon:
Unlikely Angel: The Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero by Ashley Smith... when I feel like I might be smarter than the author, it's not a good thing. I'm halfway through it, so I'll probably end up finishing it.
The Innocent Man by John Grisham... I love me some CSI, and Cold Case Files and all that, but this book is a little trying on my short attention span.

Summer Music:
"Taylor Swift" by Taylor Swift
"Wake Up Laughing" by Martina McBride
"The Part Where You Let Go" by Hem (the new Liberty Mutual commercial)
"Give It To Me" by Timbaland, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake
"The Story" by Brandi Carlile
"The Game" by Motorhead (Triple H's theme song)
"Trapped in the Drive Thru" by Weird Al (you've GOT to see the video)

TV Shows That Nabbed Me This Summer:
Mythbusters. I've always liked this show, but its gotten better over time
Solitairy. Its a show on Fox Reality, and I have to watch it on iTunes. Its like a car wreck... I can't turn away
Greek. Another show I watch on iTunes, airing on ABC Family. Its clever, funny and sweet.
The Starter Wife. It was a limited series, but it was fabulous. Debra Messing is like standing next to Ashley Judd, ready to step in as My Hollywood Goddess if Ashley is unable to fulfill her responsibilities.
Pardon the Interruption. Wilbon and Kornheiser might be the best sports duo since Latta and McRee

New Things Discovered This Summer:
Wendi Deckermiller's desk photography. Its fun. Its simple. Its good.
Meredith McQ's blogpage. She just started it, so this is more promotion than anything
Amy Farris. Country chick with bluegrass influence

So, that's been my summer. Expect some of these things to show up on 100 Coolest Things About 2007, coming in December. And coming this weekend... the Dave100 continues with #94 through possibly #85 (gotta get this thing going!)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Why I Love Fall (and my adulterous affair with Florida)

We'll get to the Florida Gators in a few minutes...

I'm sitting here watching Auburn fighting hard in a game that they should be dominating, that being Kansas State. And, of course, Brandon Cox, the QB, just went down. Of course.

I'm flipping back to the California/Tennessee game, a barn burner that has 52 points scored already.

At Starbucks, we started serving pumpkin spice lattes. I don't actually like pumpkin spice, or coffee for that matter, but the fact we're serving it means one thing... Fall is in the air. And its approaching fast.

Reasons I Love Fall, in No Particular Order

ESPN College Football coverage. That tune that comes on (you sports fans know the one I'm talking about), when Rece Davis is behind the counter, makes my heart warm and my stomach jittery. Seriously. I know for the next four months, I get to watch college football... I get to watch Auburn, ranked 18th, run the table and be shut out of the BCS because they were ranked to low preseason (they finally showed up, after 58 of 60 football minutes have been played--somewhere, in celebration, Garrett Cheney is kissing a Kappa Delta he doesn't even know).

I get to watch Troy almost win big games against Georgia and Oklahoma State. I get to watch teams like Appalachain State beat #5 ranked Michigan. I get to wonder who's going to be Boise State this year? Boston College? South Florida? Boise State?

Its college football. And who doesn't love the Pontiac Game Changing Performance highlights? I think I'm going to cry.

The Deuce Football Championships. This is year number eight for a game that we figured we'd do two or three years and we're back again. Its a simple "I send you an email with some games on it, you pick the winners and send it back, and I keep up with it"... well, this year, we'll be picking our 700th game overall. Every year, I think "do I want to do this again?" and every year, we start and I'm just giddy.

It's the NFL. Sigh. The teams I root for: The Denver Broncos, the Tennessee Titans, the Cincinnati Bailbonds, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Teams I root against: The Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Browns, the Oakland Raiders, the New York Jets. And Chris Berman and NFL Primetime? And Howie and Terry and Cris on the Fox Pre-game show? Happy sigh.

WalkAbout. It's a new season for the drama team, new kids come on, new skits are brought out, new relationships are made, new willing bodies ready to be molded by God to do whatever. Plus, this year, I got P-Maddox helping out. Not bad times, its good times, good times.

Starbucks Countdown to Christmas. There's not an actual "Countdown to Christmas", but as an ASM, you know its coming, you know what a big deal it is, and it just starts getting exciting.

The New TV Season. Now, it's new episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, Cold Case, CSI and so on. Years before, I anxiously awaited new episodes of everything from The Wonder Years to Doogie Howser to Home Improvement to Friends to Scarecrow & Mrs. King. The new TV season, plus all the magazines that tell me what new shows I should watch (I'm thinking Pushing Daisies and Life look intriguing this year)

Vacation time. My one true vacation every year, the only time I get to take a week to do anything is Thanksgiving week. My wife's family goes to the beach every year to stay in a condo for a week, and we take in shopping, reading, napping, walking, relaxing, movies, and more. This year, however? Going to Walt Disney World. Who's excited? (waving my hand crazily)

Cool, crisp air. Its coming. By Thanksgiving, suddenly I'm able to wear my favorite outfit... a pair of comfy shorts and a sweatshirt or a long sleeve t-shirt. When the air is slightly below 60, maybe 62, the breeze is blowing, and its the perfect weather to be standing in the bleachers of a Troy game, or an Auburn game, or an Alabama game or even a high school football game.

High School Football. Auburn Football. Troy Football. And yes, Gator Football. Love watching high school ball. I went to Troy, I've been an Auburn fan since 1986... but Florida? Sigh... its time to open up.

My illicit affair, my secret affair, my adulterous love affair with the University of Florida football Gators. See, I'm from Orlando... well, I was born there, anyway.

Got shipped to Texas in 1979, then we moved to Samson, Alabama, in October of 1984. The first Iron Bowl that I was a resident for, Alabama won 17-15. I initially rooted for Alabama, because I was kinda supposed to do that. That's what most people did, anyway, except for a select few... well, except for Misty Kimble, who was in my homeroom. In all my 9 years, she was the prettiest girl I'd ever seen. And she rooted for Auburn. So, I did too, for a year.

Then I was an Alabama fan--remember, my parents didn't care anything about college football, unlike most families I know. Then I was an Auburn fan. Then I was an Alabama fan, cheering for Alabama when some guy named Van Tiffen did something big, which made Alabama win in 1985, 25-23.

So, by 1986, my friend Greg Avant told me that I had to make a decision. Either I was an Alabama fan, or an Auburn fan. Pick one. Stay there. There is no in-between. So, I declared whoever won the 1986 Iron Bowl would be my team. If Alabama won, then Roll Tide and all that crap. If Auburn won, then War Eagle, baby. And on November 29th, 1986, my choice was made in Auburn's 21-17 victory.

And so, for 21 years, I've rooted for Auburn because of the outcome of one game. Don't get me wrong, I've been a true fan... I watched in agony as they blew game after game, I was pumped in Terry Bowdoin's undefeated season that counted for nothing due to probation, I watched in horror when they were ranked 3rd several years ago, only to finish something like 384th in the country, then watched in delight--then horror--as they were rooked out of a title shot (they'd have lost, but deserved to be in that title game, admit it)... I've been an Auburn fan.

But I've led a secret life, a secret I can't hold anymore... I've also been a Florida fan. I think Spurrier is a genius. I think Meyer is a genius. I've rooted for the Gators all along... is this wrong? Is this like trying to be a Tennessee fan and an Alabama fan at the same time? Can you love Ohio State and Michigan at the same time? I don't root for any of the four of those teams (I frickin' hate OSU), but you get my point... I've led a double life, trying to balance two entities that cannot co-exist together.

My problem now is that Florida is the defending national champs. Any admission of fandom to the Gators will be seen as bandwagon jumping... but for fear of sounding like every Atlanta Braves fan I know, "I've always liked them! Even when they sucked!!"

I'm out of the football closet. I cannot lie to myself anymore, I have to be who I am, who God made me to be, I'm tired of hiding it and being ashamed...

So here we go... I'm a Florida fan. I love the Florida Gators. There, I said it.

Whew... I'm so proud of getting that out.

I don't care what Scott Latta says about not being a true fan, and only jumping on the wagon because they're the champs and off of Auburn's wagon because they're about to lose (again). I don't care what Tyler Campbell says about it being bad enough I married into an Alabama family as an Auburn fan, admitting I'm a Gator fan as well might get me cast from the Campbell clan (if I was a Vols fan, I might get shot by Daddy Campbell). I'd rather be a fan of a team because I have a true connection (born there, visit often, lost of family there) then because I put my destiny on the outcome of a game. I can only hope tha NYCJenni embraces me as at least a part of the extended family.

No, I'm not foregoing my allegience to the Auburn Tigers... heck, I'm a Troy fan first and foremost--but let's face it, they are going to be well paid punching bags for the next ten years. And I won't take any celebration or pride in Florida's championship, because I wasn't a part of it, not openly anyway.

What happens when Auburn plays Florida? I'll probably root for Auburn--because that's what 22 years of instinct has taught me. My fear is that I will be forced to decide, to choose a side, to make a stand at Jordan-Hare or in The Swamp. But if you see me in a Florida shirt, hat or gear, you'll know why. I'm a Florida fan.

GO GATORS!!!! (wow, that felt good)