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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 334, Nov. 30: Short-Lived

10 Things I've Tried
That Never Took Off
I've tried a lot of different things in my life. Some have evolved into habits or hobbies, others haven't. I've always believed in taking risks - at work and in life. If you never take risks, you'll seldom fail. But if you never take risks, you'll also seldom soar or surprise yourself. This list is in chronological order of short-lived projects/ideas.
Snow skiing: I gave it a shot in high school and again in Idaho. Just wasn't up to it.
Drinking tea: For a few months in my early 20s, I drank quite a bit of tea. But I seldom touch it now.
Listen to Public Radio: There was a short stretch in my younger years when I tuned it in semi-regularly.
Playing boomer basketball: I started a league about four years ago and played for a couple. I could play pretty well, but it took too long to recover.
Playing church slow-pitch softball: Played one season about three years ago (went 6-for-6 in one game!) but it was too cut-throat for me (a church league!) and most of the teammates were younger.
Dancing: Kris and I took lessons once but didn't have fun enough to take any more.
Coaching girls basketball: When my son, Jay, was in junior high, I coached girls in his class for three seasons. I came back two years ago for one more season, but that'll be it.
Joining the YMCA: I was a member for two years when I first moved to Dubuque and took out a six-month membership two years ago. Never stuck with it.
Taking a spin class: In my most recent Y stint, I took a bike spinning class while my Achilles Tendons were too sore to run. It was fun, but I had to quit when I started coaching girls basketball!
Starting a philosophy club: I did this through my newspaper column and though it started out well, it lasted less than a year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 333, Nov. 29: Depp & DiCaprio

 My Top 10 Favorite
Movies by These Guys
I couldn't find 10 movies that I really liked for each of Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio, 
so I've combined the two for this post.
1. Inception (2010) DiCaprio
2. Edward Scissorhands (1990) Depp
3. Catch Me If You Can (2002) DiCaprio
4. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) Both
5. Titanic (1997) DiCaprio
6. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) Depp
7. The Aviator (2004) DiCaprio
8. Alice in Wonderland (2010) Depp
9. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (2005) Depp
10. Ed Wood (1994) Depp

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 332, Nov. 28: The Rolling Stones

 My Top 10 Favorite
Rolling Stones' Songs
I have a couple of friends who are huge Stones' fans and they would grimace at some of this list. But, as I've said dozens of times this year (in so many words), it's my blog and I'll blog how I want to, blog how I want to ... you could blog to if you wanted to blog. It's sort of like my Beatles' favorites - their biggest hits played so often on the radio, I guess I got sick of them and developed my own set of lesser heard favorites (in most cases).
1. Waiting on a Friend
2. Shattered
3. Angie
4. Start Me Up
5. Let's Spend the Night Together
6. Dance Little Sister
7. Sympathy for the Devil
8. Dandelion
9. Fool to Cry
10. You Can't Always Get What You Want

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 331, Nov. 27: Sprinting

10 Times I Remember
Running Very Fast
Chalk this up to one of my strange lists, but I was thinking about this the other day after realizing I seldom run very fast anymore - at least for very long. I miss it.
Hotel hallways: Strange list, strange memory. When the boys were young and we'd stay in a hotel, I would sometimes sprint down a long hallway, feet flying high and feeling as fast as I've ever felt.
My last cross country race: It was a high school sectional and to avoid finishing dead last, I sprinted as hard as I could with as much as I had left. I beat about 15 runners or so.
While being chased: On a Halloween night in high school, four friends and I got some bigger guys mad enough 
to chase us through a neighborhood.
Playing pickup football: My down-out-and-down move as a receiver led me often to my sprinting past my defender 
to catch the "bomb" pass for a touchdown.
Up-and-down the stairs: Chasing our new cats Leah and Woody (or being chased by them). I know 25 years ago I would have sprinted up and down faster, but I'm going as fast as I can which is enough.
The 50-yard dash: As part of the school physical fitness test, this was a pure sprint for time. I never was that fast, 
but I've always been "quick."
From garage to house: For the heck of it, I'll often sprint the 10-12 yards after bringing out the garbage or something. Really!
Racing kids in the old neighborhoods: I'd win a few, lose a few.
At the end of a run: Occasionally while finishing off a rare run where nothing hurts, I'll run as fast as I can down the last hill on Third Street. It reminds me of my last cross country race.
Chasing my dad: Though this happened rarely because he was usually too sore from work, it's a fond memory from my early childhood.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 330, Nov. 26: The Future

10 Things I I'd Like to Do
When I Get Old
This is another Al suggestion. If anyone else wants to suggest some Top 10s, I will be glad to use them.
1. Admit that I am old so that I accept it and slow down.
2. Write a fictional novel (maybe before I get old?)
3. Play with some grand-children
4. Revive the kind of golf game I used to play.
5. Travel with Kris to at least two other continents.
6. Make a return trip to Idaho Falls 
to show Kris my old stomping grounds.
7. Run (walk?) a marathon.
8. Sky dive (maybe just go up in a hot-air balloon!)
9. Run a fantasy league at the old-folks home.
10. Find peace before I die.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 329, Nov. 25: 5,000 Milestone!

 A List of Fun iTunes Facts
As I've Reached 5,000 Songs
My new iPod can hold about 40,000 songs, so I've got a ways to go (which I'll never reach since I still don't indiscriminately download every CD I own). But this first milestone is worth writing about. Here are some fun facts about the artists in the list of 5,000. There are 194 artists on my iPod with five or more songs.
Groups with the Most Songs
1. The Beatles, 107 (Kris has every one of their CDs,
which keyed this high number)
2. Fleetwood Mac, 85 (I own a 4-CD set)
3. The Moody Blues, 77 (I own a 5-CD set)
4. Simon & Garfunkel, 57 (I own a 3-CD set)
5. John Lennon, 38
6. The Faces, 38 (I borrowed a 3-CD set owned
by co-worker Erik Hogstrom)
7. The Eagles, 37
8. Paul McCartney & Wings, 36
9. The Rolling Stones, 34
10. Robert Johnson, 29 (I recently bought a 2-CD set to help boost my numbers and since the songs were all short, I broke my rule and downloaded them all)
1990s-2000s Groups with Most Songs
1. Death Cab for Cutie, 25
2. Enya, 25
3. Barenaked Ladies, 23
4. The Killers, 22
5. Whiskeytown, 21
6. Sufjan Stevens, 20
7. The Decemberists 19
8. Jack Johnson 18
9. Cake 16
Top Soul/Blues/Reggae Groups
1. Stevie Wonder, 18
2. Bob Marley, 12
3. The Reggae Cowboys, 12
4. Ray Charles, 11
5. Blind Mississippi Morris, 10 (From a CD I bought at his live show in Memphis while on vacation)
6. Aretha Franklin, 8
7. The Temptations, 7
Top Country Groups
1. Elvis Presley, 20 (I know, a stretch in this category)
2. Wayne Hancock, 14 (From a CD I bought
at his live show in Dubuque)
3. Marty Robbins, 13 (for my dad)
4. Patsy Cline, 12
5. The Oak Ridge Boys, 11
6. Johnny Cash, 8
7. Hank Williams, 7
8. Willie Nelson, 6
9. (tie) George Strait and Vince Gill, 5

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 328, Nov. 24: Thankful

 10 Things 
I'm Thankful For
Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who reads this. 
Many of these are cliche, but they're true.
1. God
2. Family
3. Friends
4. Health
5. A job
6. A home
7. My ability to write
8. My interests
9. My past
10. My future

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 327, Nov. 23: Worshipping

10 Interesting Places
I've Worshipped
Chalk another one up to Al for this suggestion. Not sure if I'll get 10 interesting ones or not.
1. A Boston Cathedral: I was visiting my friend, Mark, over Easter weekend when he lived in Boston. It was a huge Catholic church that really left an impression.
2. In a farm field: We had some Masses in the fields during the Richard family reunions when I was first married. It was a nice bonding experience.
3. Dubuque St. Luke's Methodist Church: It's known for its amazing Tiffany Glass windows and historic organ. Its recent remodeling has made it even more beautiful. I was married here.
4. Dubuque Arboretum: Our St. Luke's holds an annual service here and, though Kris and I don't always attend it, the setting is quite beautiful.
5. Dubuque St. Raphael Cathedral: The oldest Catholic church in town, it's also a very powerful place to worship.
6. At basketball camp: I joined hundreds of high school athletes joined together for worship in the bleachers of a football field at St. Olaf College.
7. Doniphan, Mo., Baptist Church: While visiting a girl friend when I worked in Fulton, Mo., we went to church and I was exposed to a very charismatic service.
8. Stoughton's "second" First Lutheran Church: After going to church in an old building for several years, it was very cool attending services at the newly built building.
9. Kieler Immaculate Conception: I was married there and its modest interior has its own charm.
10. Asbury Lutheran Church: I attended this small facility a few times when I first moved to Dubuque, before converting to Catholicism, before converting to Methodist.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 326, Nov. 22: Dreaming

My Top 10
Recurring Dreams
There are many things I dream about more than once. Most of them I enjoy; some I don't. I wonder if they mean anything?
1. Tornadoes: I have a dream involving a tornado every other month or so. I think it's because 
I want so much to see one in person (never have).
2. Running a race: Sometimes, I feel stronger than ever. 
Most of the time, I'm struggling.
3. Back at school: It might be college, it might be high school. Almost every time, I've either forgot to study, forgot what class I'm going to or forgot my locker number.
4. Playing basketball: I've played in NBA games and I've played as a kid with nerf balls or even wadded up paper. Almost always, I star!
5. Flying: These are my favorite of all. I wish I dreamed them more often. It's especially fun when I know it's a dream 
and I fly all over the place.
6. Visiting the ocean: Lots of times, it's just a beautiful blue color - s
o inviting and relaxing.
7. Being attacked: This comes in the form of a war, robbery in a house or on the street. I'm always able to force myself awake on these.
8. Public exposure: I'll find myself at a party or at work with no pants on (usually in my boxers). Nobody notices 
and it doesn't seem to bother me, either.
9. Approached by women: It's almost always just an innocent look or comment from a young woman that makes me feel noticed. But I always realize I'm married.
10. Seeing late relatives: It can be my dad, my sister or my first wife, Jane. It's usually a nice feeling, but sometimes it's sad.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 325, Nov. 21: Talking Civil War

10 People I Would Interview
If I Could Go Back to the Civil War
Another fine suggested topic from my friend, Al. Very thought-provoking. 
I'm looking forward to creating this list.
1. Abraham Lincoln: He's a no-brainer. To just hear what his voice sounded like would be cool.
2. Frederick Douglass: The former slave who became the intellectual and emotional spokesman against the evil.
3. Robert E. Lee: Did he really believe he could win? And why did you send out Pickett's Charge?
4. Ulysses S. Grant: I'd like to know the differences between leading an army and leading a country.
5. An older slave who was set free: Just to listen to his story and see the relief in his eyes.
6. Stonewall Jackson: He would make me nervous, but I'd want to try to determine if he was a bit crazed or not.
7. A common soldier from Stoughon, Wis.: We could exchange stories of living in our hometowns.
8. James Longstreet: With no malice meant to General Lee, could he have won the Battle of Gettysburg?
9. A common soldier from the South: What did he think of slavery and the rich in their Southern mansions?
10. George McClellan: I'd like to find out just how conceited and egotistical he really was.
Honorable mention: George Armstrong Custer: I wonder what his aspirations were 
at that young of an age.

Day 324, Nov. 20: Woody Allen

My Top 10 Favorite
Woody Allen Movies
I watched the first part of a PBS documentary on Woody Allen's career last night and it inspired me to write this post (a day late, however!)
1. Annie Hall (everybody's favorite, right?)
2. Sleeper (very funny slapstick scenes)
3. Take the Money and Run
4. Match Point
5. Radio Days
6. Midnight in Paris
7. Purple Rose of Cairo
8. Hannah and Her Sisters
9. Crimes and Misdemeanors
10. Vicky Christina Barcelona

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 323, Nov. 19: Roger Whittaker

Roger's Christmas album includes my nos. 5 and 6 songs on this list.
My Top 10 Favorite
Roger Whittaker Songs
Yes, this old crooner has enough songs on my iPod to create a Top 10. His voice is just beautiful, if you can get past the image (and, besides, I'm old enough now not to be embarrassed about liking Rog)
1. The Last Farewell
2. I Don't Believe in If Anymore
3. Durham Town
4. The First Hello, Last Goodbye
5. Christmas is Here Again
6. Momma Mary
7. Summer Serenade
8. Mammy Blue
9. Hard Road
10. Should've Had Dogs

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 322, Nov. 18: Hair Today, Gone ...

of My Hair
There's not as much as there used to be, but it's hanging in there - especially on the sides and in the back. On top? Not so much.
Early haircuts: I barely remember the Brylcreem - that "little dab will do ya" stuff that kept hair in its proper place. (Hair MUST know it's proper place in this world.)
Buzzcuts: I don't recall these cuts as much because 
they went pretty fast.
"Bangs are for sissies!" My dad's exact words when I tried to emulate John, Paul and George (not Ringo!)
The last short cut: I remember my mom cutting my hair too short and me, teary-eyed in front of the bathroom mirror, trying to stretch those sissy bangs farther down on my forehead.
Gum: It made its way from my mouth to my hair one night when I forgot to take it out before falling to sleep.
Oily: It's a scientific fact that long, thick hair has a tendency to get oily. That's all I'm going to say about this.
First scalp burn: I spent all day outside covering the Idaho State Track Meet in Boise. It wasn't too hot, but it was sunny. When I got back to my hotel, I had a top-of-a head burn - and it wasn't even thin yet!
"Oily's going bald!" A classmate named Kort exclaimed this during our 20th (or was it 25th) class reunion. Not sure who he was really talking about ... 
Blowin in the Wind: I love the song, but my "thinning-out" hair doesn't appreciate the feeling as it tries to maintain "its proper place." Guess I could surf for Brylcreem on the Web.
The Big Cut: One of these days I vow to get a short, short haircut so there is no question that I am not purposely striving for the perfect comb over. It's still natural so far, though :-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 321, Nov. 17: Meow

Tabby, approaching his last days of a nearly 18-year life.
Cats I Have Known
Or Have Known Me
Some of these won't have names I remember, but I'll always remember them. Thanks to my friend, Al, for this suggested Top 10, as well as the past two posts.
Abby: My mom's last cat, she was a big girl who had an even bigger heart for my mom. It was a tough loss for her just a few years ago.
Bootsie: I asked my mom about this black-and-white cat we had when I was very young. She didn't remember it. But I'm sure we had it. Not too memorable, I guess.
Bubblehead: A sad, but memorable, kitten I knew owned by my friend Mark's family when we were in high school. It didn't live long with its over-sized water head or whatever it was.
Chang & Chang: Our first two of several Siamese cats we had when I was young. I was in junior high and we lived on Page Street in Stoughton when we had these two.
Chong: We gave this name to a giant Page Street neighborhood Siamese cat who would hang out near our house and meow in the deepest cat voice I've ever heard.
Farm cats: I've known several at the farm owned by my brother-in-law Jay. None of them really wanted to come to close to me, and they probably would have beaten me up, anyway.
Leah: One of our current cats, she's a jumper who flails after toys and leaps onto kitchen counters with the greatest of ease (and she gets in trouble for the second one)
No-name: I'm sure we gave her a name, but I forgot it. I do remember she and her kittens were ambushed by a coon or fox and all eaten while my first wife, Jane, and the kids and I were out of town for a night. (Obviously, they were outdoor cats :-)
Shrek: This was a cat that lived with my son Jay and his roommate in Davenport. I saw him only twice, but he was the biggest cat I've ever seen. Shrek was a good name.
Tabby: He came after no-name and not only survived wild animals as an indoor/outdoor cat, he lived to be almost 18. 
My favorite cat of all time.
Woody: Another of our current cats, he's a strapping young guy who loves drinking out of a faucet. Not one for a lot of affection, his time to seek it is in the middle of the night - in our bed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 320, Nov. 16: Neglected Food

Top 10 Things That Don't 
Get Eaten in the Fridge
Most of these things are from my past, but some still tend to sit so long, they spoil.
1. Sour cream: I couldn't count the number of old sour cream containers I've opened to find mold inside.
2. Pickles: Regardless of what kind, we'd always seem to eat them when we first bought them, then they'd sit and rot.
3. Sandwich meat: Ditto to No. 2. I guess I ate so many cold meat sandwiches as a kid, I can't handle too many now.
4. Salsa: This often ends up getting moldy before I am able to finish it or throw it out.
5. Lettuce: It doesn't have a long fridge life, so if I forget to eat it a couple of days, it gets all slimy and brown.
6. Leftover casseroles: There's only a few I even like fresh, so these have often been eaten by the garbage disposal before I finish them.
7. Frozen ice pops: I know, it's the freezer, but these seemed to always outlive their welcome.
8. Apples: I never put them in the fridge before marrying Kris. Now, if we get a big batch, some will sit in there for a long, long time.
9. Hot dogs: Fortunately, these things never seem to rot.
10. Sherbet: Another freezer item, it just always got too tangy after one or two bowls, so it would be forgotten.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 319, Nov. 15: Feet First

Most Memorable Things 
I've Worn on My Feet
Most of these are sports related, but that's me, I guess.
Bowling socks: Yes, it says bowling on them and they were a gift from Kris when I revived my bowling career for a year a couple years ago.
Swimming flippers: Haven't worn them often in my life, but they're the goofiest looking things ...
High-top, 1960s era football cleats: They were hand-me-downs for us early 1970s junior high football players.
An awkward contraption overnight to help heal a bout of Plantar Fasciitis
Water skis and snow skis: Similar, but quite different, they're tough to get used to at first (haven't worn them in decades)
Blue crocs: Strange-looking soft shoes with holes in them. Never really got into them as a habit.
Medical tape and wrap for a couple of weeks for a broken bone on the top of my foot
First real authentic pair
of competitive basketball sneakers. They felt so cool and I could cut and jump and run so fast.
Cross country racing shoes: They weighed about an ounce and had very sharp spikes beneath the toes.
Heavy winter boots: I've got this pair I've had for probably 20 years that don't require shoes. My feet fit snugly in and make it a joy to shovel snow (at least the first few snowfalls!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 318, Nov. 14: Hitting the Wall

10 Reasons Why It's Tough
to Finish a Year-Long Blog
It's getting tougher and tougher to do this daily blog. Here's why:
A. Running out of ideas
B. Interrupts other things I'm doing
C. Hardly anybody is reading it
D. If they are (other than a couple of loyal people), 
they're not commenting
E. It's not much fun anymore
F. I know many posts have been boring
G. I underestimated the challenge
H. It's becoming work more than play
I. I imagined it would be more popular (feeling sorry for myself)
J. But I WILL get my second wind and finish it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 317, Nov. 13: Sports Moments

My Top 10 Favorite
Sports Moments
Though I haven't even seen all of these moments happen, they are my top 10.
1. Straight steal of home in a baseball game (it's so rare)
2. Half-court or longer, game-winning shot in basketball
3. Punt return for a touchdown in a football game
4. Hole in one in golf
5. Twelfth strike in a perfect game of bowling
6. Hail Mary TD pass in football (this would have ranked higher, but watching Wisconsin lose twice on this play this year takes some of the fun out of it)
7. Goal in soccer that is longer than 20 yards
8. Game-winning home run in baseball
9. Game-winning goal in hockey overtime
10. Behind the back pass in basketball (it's so rare)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 316, Nov. 12: Morgan Freeman

 My Top 10 Favorite
Morgan Freeman Movies
One of my favorite actors for sure, he seems to get some perfect roles for his personality and style (he played God in two of these!) The top 3-4 of these films would rank in my Top 50.
1. Glory (1989)
2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
3. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
4. Lean on Me (1989)
5. Invictus (2009)
6. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
7. Bruce Almighty (2003)
8. Evan Almighty (2007)
9. Amistad (1997)
10. Kiss the Girls (1997)
Honorable mention: March of the Penguins (2005) as a great narrator.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 315, Nov. 11: Rod Stewart

 My Top 10 Favorite
Rod Stewart Songs
He has one of those unique voices that you either like or don't. I really like it, and have since I heard his first songs back in the Maggie May days.
1. Some Guys Have All the Luck
2. The First Cut is the Deepest
3. Maggie May
4. Reason to Believe
5. The Killing of Georgie
6. Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?
7. Mandolin Wind
8. Tonight's the Night
9. I Was Only Joking
10. Stone Cold Sober

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 314, Nov. 10: Current Politics

10 Things About Politicians
That I Wanted or Want to Believe
I’m slowly losing my faith in politicians, left, right and center (I know many people who have lost ALL faith by now). As I weigh my options with the Iowa Caucuses just a couple of months away, my faith isn’t exactly invigorated and I have real problems believing any of the following:
  1. I wanted to believe that President Obama would offer real change through more transparency, non-partisanship and less rhetoric.
  2. I wanted to believe at least some members of Congress would defy the party line on at least some important issues to get something done.
  3. I want to believe someone else in the Democratic Party will run against Obama to offer another option.
  4. I want to believe Mitt Romney is not a flip-flopper.
  5. I want to believe Herman Cain is telling the truth.
  6. I want to believe his accusers are telling the truth.
  7. I want to believe Rick Perry is more polished away from the debate floor.
  8. I want to believe some of Ron Paul’s better ideas will be implemented.
  9. I want to believe the Congressional Super Committee will get something done.
  10. I want to believe that somebody, somewhere will actually make a difference as our next president and change the dire direction our country is heading.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 313, Nov. 9: Presidents I Forget

These Guys
Were Presidents?!?
Even though I consider myself a student of history, I've never memorized all of our presidents. But I have tried writing them all down a few times and these are the ones I tend to forget.
9th William Henry Harrison
10th John Tyler
12th Zachary Taylor
14th Franklin Pierce
19th Rutherford B. Hayes
21st Chester Arthur
23rd Benjamin Harrison
25th William McKinley
27th William Howard Taft
29th Warren G. Harding

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 312, Nov. 8: The Beav' and More

 My Top 10 Favorite
TV Show Kid Characters
This list is aimed at kids between 8-13. Some on this list got older as their shows continued, but for the most part, I enjoyed them best at their youngest.
1. Opie Taylor: What a neat kid with a great dad on "The Andy Griffith Show." And I looked like him when I was a kid and even as a young adult!
2. Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: The younger he was, the more I liked him. They didn't allow him to mature very much in the later seasons.
3. Danny Partridge: He was such a sneaky kid and I loved his strange red hair.
4. Timmy Martin: Lassie's best friend and such a nice role model for little tykes like me.
5. Winnie Cooper: Kevin's cute girlfriend on "The Wonder Years," I once liked a girl who looked like her.
6. Eddie Munster: He seemed so cool and what a great family.
7. Eddie Haskel: After the first couple of years - when he was great - he started to get a little old.
8. Arnold Jackson: The little wisecracker from "Diff'rent Strokes" could be pretty darn funny,
9. Jan Brady: Oh those middle children, she just couldn't seem to catch a break.
10. Wayne Arnold: One of the meanest brothers around (to Kevin), he always seemed to make me laugh.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 311, Nov. 7: Paul McCartney

 My Top 10 Favorite
Paul McCartney & Wings Songs
Sometimes I forget how much I've enjoyed this group over the years. I like Lennon, Harrison and Starr, but McCartney's fun songs are just more my style.
1. Listen to What the Man Said
2. Junior's Farm
3. Mary Had a Little Lamb
4. Love is Strange
5. Uncle Albert & Admiral Halsey
6. Jet
7. Helen Wheels
8. Band on the Run
9. Hi Hi Hi
10. Let Em In
Honorable mention: Bip Bop, Bluebird, Venus and Mars Rock Show.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 310, Nov. 6: Homework

My 10 Favorite
School Subjects
These are all from high school or junior high school. I'm one of those rare people who have fonder memories of those school years than of college.
1. Algebra: I loved the way the numbers worked, and it was more challenging than regular math, but not as tough as advanced math.
2. History of the West: Taught by a wonderful teacher named Mr. Lawrence, this class was so cool and fun.
3. Myth & the Bible: A fascinating class taught by Mr. Fortney. He helped me realize that there was nothing wrong with contemplating my faith beliefs, which helped me to grow.
4. Creative writing: You'd think this would rank higher, but my recollection is it was more stringent than I liked.
5. Journalism: Also lower-than-expected, I took it as a sophomore and was surrounded by juniors and seniors; took some of the fun out of it. But I did become the sports editor of the school paper
The Parrot when I was a senior.
6. Mystery Novels: Yes, all we did was read Poirot and Holmes stories, then take tests on them. 
7. Gym: I love being athletic, but too often in this class, the sport wasn't to my liking and we had to shower after getting all sweaty
... a big hassle.
8. Typing: It provided the "keys" to my future!
9. Civics: I not only learned so much about government, but I also was taught how to organize note-taking - another valuable asset 
to my entire life.
10. Music: Up through eighth grade, I really enjoyed singing in class. Then my voice changed and I became too self-conscious.
Honorable mention: Shop class: I was horrible at making things, but putting on goggles and watching classmates goof around was fun.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 309, Nov. 5: Old-Time Athletes

 My Top 10 Favorite
Athletes: 1900-1939
This one should be fun. I have several in mind, but I'll see how it turns out after some research. 
1. Ty Cobb: He's been on other posts during the year, so you know I detest his racism, but am totally in awe of his drive and talents.
2. Jim Thorpe: An amazing athlete in every sense of the word. I wish more Native Americans would rise to the top.
3. Lou Gehrig: Probably my favorite "person" on this list, he also was just a powerful man ironically taken down by disease.
4. Jesse Owens: I need to read more about him, but he represented so much in the 1936 Olympics.
5. Red Grange: Another icon I need to read more about, this football player helped give the NFL respect.
6. Babe Ruth: He changed the game with his home runs, could also hit for average and pitch. And what a knucklehead.
7. Paavo Nurmi: A fantastic distance runner, I read about him when I was in junior high. He's Scandavian! Love the name, too.
8. Jack Johnson: The first black heavyweight champion, he not only overcame racists, but he also fought in a time when matches 
could go 40 rounds.
9. Shoeless Joe Jackson: Never deserved to be banned from baseball in the Black Sox scandal. Could have been as good as Cobb had he been allowed to play past age 34.
10. Babe Zaharias: The only woman on this list, Babe was as good as most men in many sports. An Olympian and champion golfer, she ranks 1 or 2 in most respected all-time female athlete lists.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 308, Nov. 4: Neil Diamond

 My 10 Favorite
Neil Diamond Songs
He's had some good ones and he's known for his live performances. I've never seen one and it might be too late now to get the full effect (he's not getting any younger!)
1. Walk on Water
2. Song Sung Blue
3. Play Me
4. Sweet Caroline
5. Gitchy Goomy
6. Cracklin' Rosie
7. Solitary Man
8. Shiloh
9. Beautiful Noise
10. Kentucky Woman
Honorable mention: Holly Holy and Cherry Cherry.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 307, Nov. 3: Being a Boss

5 Good Things and 5 Bad
About Me as a Boss
I enjoy being a manager and can list more good than bad qualities. But I wouldn't say I was the best one around. Still, I can look myself in the mirror and say that I've tried to be fair in running things in a Christian-like manner. And, I don't believe I've ever had an employee who really disliked me. I'm happy about that.
Good qualities
1. I am willing to cut some slack.
2. I'm not afraid to point out problems that recur.
3. I do my fair share of the grunt work.
4. I keep a sense of humor.
5. I go to bat for my employees.
6. I'm organized.
7. I'm willing to allow risk-taking.
Bad qualities
1. I don't praise enough.
2. I delegate a little too much.
3. It's hard for me to lay down the law.
4. I can be forgetful.
5. I don't get to know the personal lives of my employees as much as I should.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 306, Nov. 2: Movies by the Number

 My 10 Favorite Films
With a Number in Their Name
This list doesn't include sequels that carry 2, 3, II, etc. It's just a fun list that took a few minutes to research. I've put them in numerical order.
"The Sixth Sense:" I was completely fooled the first time I saw it and found a couple inconsistencies the second time.
"Eight Men Out:" Doesn't quite make my favorite sports movie list but is good enough to make this one.
"12 Angry Men:" Just an awesome drama, set in the confines of a jury room. It's between this one and the next one if I had to pick 
a No. 1 in this list.
"Sixteen Candles:" No matter how often I see it, I laugh out loud at some of the parts. Though it gets a bit crude, it's also sweet in the end.
"28 Days Later:" A modern horror flick (2002), this one had my heart pumping and my mind racing.
"50 First Dates:" There are all kinds of holes in this Adam Sandler film, but there's also a lot of fun and sentimentality.
"61*:" A very good sports movie about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle and their attempt to beat Babe Ruth's single season 
home run record of 61.
"101 Dalmatians:" A great animated flick, it was one of the first I ever saw in a theater. I loved all of the puppies, but was freaked out 
by the wicked witch.
"3:10 to Yuma:" One of my favorite Westerns, it was cool watching how a modern director (2007) would handle it.
"(500) Days of Summer:" A creative 2009 chick-flick type of film, it followed the relationship of a young modern couple going back and forth to the days they were together.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 305, Nov. 1: Women's Work?

Things I Enjoy Doing
That Women Used
to Always Do
I don't believe there is such a thing as women's work. I'm not exactly the most liberated male around, but somehow, my parents raised me to believe women are equal and should be treated with respect. To that end, I've never - in two marriages - assumed that my wife does certain things because she's a woman. We have our "jobs" that just sort of evolved.
1. Doing the laundry: Kris and I each do our own, and I enjoy folding the clothes. I also try to help carry Kris' heavier loads up the many flights of stairs when I'm around.
2. Making the meals: I'm pretty bad at this, though I do enjoy making the few meals I'm capable of doing. I try hard to do other things around the house to make up for my weakness here.
3. Doing the dishes: We have a dishwasher, so it's usually not too tough. Kris tends to wash some the old-fashioned way quite a lot. (I did them for her tonight, and I used to always do them in my first marriage.)
4. Cleaning up after meals: As often as possible, I try to do this as I know I don't prepare them often. But I tend to forget to fully wipe off the countertops :-(
5. Vaccuming: I would say this is not one of Kris' least favorite chores around the house (maybe I'm wrong). But I like it a lot and have no problem taking it on when it's needed.
6. Mopping the kitchen floor: I prefer to get down on my hands and knees to do this (which, as you'd guess, isn't often), but I like doing it more than you might think.
7. Hanging up the laundry: Kris and I don't do this, but I did it every time I was around in my first marriage.
8. Wash the carpets: Not a favorite - mainly because it tends to hurt my wrists - but I always help as much as possible the rare times it needs to be done.
9. Dusting: No, this isn't fun, either. It only makes the list because I'm willing to take my turn to do it when we really have to make the house look clean.
10. Make the bed: It's my "job" (or, as Kris calls it, the "gremlins" job, since she usually doesn't see me make it). It's part of my bigger ideal of trying to be organized. (But Kris almost always washes all of the bedding when it's needed.)