Thursday, July 28, 2005

How do some people do it?

My daughter Joy moved from Florida to Texas two years ago, found an apartment and settled in. Her computer, an old hand-me-down, was suffering from apparent terminal obsolescence, so Carol and I bought her a brand new laptop.

It came with a wi-fi card for wireless internet access, but Joy couldn’t afford broadband so planned to use a dial-up service. Ah! But when we turned on the computer a “Wireless Signal Available” window popped up.

It turned out a neighbor in her building had broadband and a wireless router, and had never bothered with security settings to prevent outside access. So for over a year Joy enjoyed free high speed internet with no telephone interruption. Serendipity!

Now she has moved back to Florida and lives in one half of a duplex. When she first turned on the computer two weeks ago, her hopes were dashed: no wireless signal was detected.

Today she called to tell me she now is seeing a “Wireless Signal Available” window again. It says, “Signal Strength: Excellent.”

Her husband (who, by the way, is an entertainer who works under the stage name of Johnny Conch) said he noticed a local cable TV truck parked in front of the duplex across the street a day or two ago. They now assume that their neighbor has connected with cable broadband and has a wireless router.

Oh, important point: Whoever it is has thus far neglected to set up any security or encryption, so any neighbors within a hundred yards or so can use the signal. For free.

For most people the odds of living in range of someone with broadband, a wireless router, and no security would be very high. For that same thing to happen at two different locations in a row is approaching unbelievable!

Some people just seem to have a knack.

RELATED TOPIC: Wi-fi is becoming more and more available across the country. Carol and I just bought for ourselves a laptop with built-in wi-fi.

I knew that there were “hot spots” in various places like Starbucks, many McDonalds, many airports and a fast-growing number of hotels and motels. Most of those require a user to sign on with a credit card, and be charged from $2.95 to almost $7 per hour for connection. Or you can set up a permanent account and pay a flat rate per month for unlimited usage.

But now there are more and more FREE hot spots appearing. Examples are lesser known cafes and restaurants, and many public libraries.

Since we’re planning a driving trip in September through parts of 17 states, I did some research to find where we might run across some of these free hot spots. If you’re interested, check out this web site. Or this one.

Or you can Google “Free wifi” or something similar and find lots of info.

UNRELATED TOPIC — OSHA UPDATE: Our VPP audit was completed today. Yes, some items needing “remediation” were found, and we have 90 days to “fix” them.

But the bottom line is: we will retain our “STAR” status (the highest rating) for another 2-3 years until the next review.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A boring post. (Sorry, Joy.)

My daughter, Joy (a.k.a. Christina to some of you), has told me that she enjoys my blog except when I write about stuff at work. Then it’s pretty boring.

I ought to listen to her. At least she reads this page daily. Plus, she thought my novel was pretty good, so she MUST be a good judge of quality writing.

Well, OK, she told me that she liked it because she learned things in it about her parents that she hadn’t known before. But that’s the same as knowing quality writing, right? (Thank you for not answering.)

So, this post is about work.

Joy, you can stop reading now. It’s OK. I’ll try to come up with something humorous and interesting tomorrow.

I work at a continuous process industrial plant. Well, I GO there every day. Opinion is divided on whether or not I do any real work.

For the past 5 years we have participated in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program, VPP. This guarantees that we will not be subject to random safety compliance inspections. Instead, once every 2-3 years an inspection is scheduled to ensure we are maintaining standards acceptable to that agency.

Plus, our actual safety record of injuries, etc., must be better than our industry average. That keeps the angry public from deciding that we must be guilty of heinous unsafe practices and are hiding them from the watchdogs through the subterfuge of a voluntary cooperation.

I mean, EVERYBODY wants OSHA to spend its limited resources going after the companies who are getting their employees hurt, right?

Well, this week OSHA is at our plant doing its scheduled inspection.

In truth, it’s a very good thing. We can actually “consult” with these law-enforcement types to make sure we’re doing things right without fear of fines and penalties. And none of this stops them from coming in unannounced if an employee files a complaint.

So instead of dreading a visit from them, we now welcome it.

Twenty years ago, this was NOT the case. During my first year at this plant (1986) an OSHA compliance officer knocked on our door unannounced to inspect us. I asked why. I was told that they were targeting all plants in a certain industry type (SIC code), and we were one of those. I asked in innocence, “What code is that.” When he told me I was able to say honestly, “Oh, we’re not in that code; we’re code 2999.”

When he verified my information, he tipped his hat and left. I was a hero that week for having avoided an OSHA inspection!

What a change today.

Yes, they will find some areas where we are lacking, and some practices that we could improve. And we will take their suggestions VERY seriously! They will give us up to 90 days to correct any deficiencies they find. If it is at all feasible, we will try to have everything done in less than 30 days. We want to show good faith and a true attitude of compliance, not lip service.

Why am I rambling on about this? OSHA’s visit is occupying most of my time at work this week, and it’s pretty much all I thought about all day. And I just HAD to pass on to all my devoted blog readers this important aspect of a Human Resources Manager’s daily life.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about something you can all relate to. How about, “Progressive Discipline?”

(I know, Karyn. You’d prefer “Sexual Harassment.” Maybe on Friday.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A new toy

Ever played with GPS? You know, Global Positioning System. You can now buy a little hand-held device that will tell you exactly where you are within a few yards.

This is fine if you also know where you want to go. The GPS device will tell you how far your destination is, which direction to travel, how fast you are traveling, and thus how long it will take you to get there.

Pretty slick. Unless there’s a canyon, or a large body of water between you and your destination, and you happen to be walking.

Enter the laptop computer with a database of maps of the entire North American continent. And your car, with a power adapter to keep the laptop running.

We’ve all used MapQuest to find places we’ve never been to before. That can be pretty handy, except sometimes they’ll plot your destination on the north side of the interstate when it’s actually on the south side. Not usually a big problem; unless the next exit is 8 miles down the road.

But MapQuest is internet based, meaning you have to be online to use its interactive features (like zoom in or out, or move the map around.

Carol and I have been playing with Microsoft MapPoint software and a GPS antenna that plugs into the USB port on the laptop. No more internet connection needed! Now we can drive around and the map will move with the vehicle always in the center. We’ll never get lost again!

Well, actually ONE of us can drive around while the other one operates the laptop and offers directions. There’s no way someone could both drive and use this tool toy without either running off the road, or crossing the centerline and having a close encounter of the worst kind with an oncoming 18-wheeler.

(I guess if you ran off the road and had your cell phone, you could call the tow truck or the ambulance and tell them exactly where you were. Well, within a few yards. Close enough that you could hear their siren and direct them in from there.)

We just got this new toy (laptop with software and a GPS antenna) and haven’t tried it out yet. I’m anxious to do so. Up till now all we’ve done is plot our position in our back yard. If you zoom all the way in and walk around it actually shows you moving!

I envision a day soon when Carol and I are driving to a new destination, like our daughter Joy’s new apartment in Florida. I’ll be driving, and she’ll navigate.

Me: “So how far till I turn off the interstate?”
Her: “I can’t get the software to link up with the GPS signal.”

Me: “Why not?”
Her: “The computer is looking for it in Com Port 3 and it’s installed in Com Port 4.”

Me: “Try unplugging the antenna connection and plugging it back in again.”
Her: “I DID that. It didn’t work.”

Me: “Let me see the screen. Oh, OK. Try—“

Me: “OK, I’ll drive. You figure out the computer.”
Her: “THANK you! Ah, now it’s working. Let’s see… OK, take the next exit and turn left.”

Me: “No problem. OK, I’ve turned left. Now what?”
Her: “Wait a minute. This thing shows the time to destination increasing. OH! You turned the wrong way. I meant right.”

Me: “OK, I’ll turn around.”
Her: “No. Keep going. I see another way to get there up ahead. You’re going to turn right this time.”

Me: “Are you sure?”
Her: Scowl.

Me: “The sign up ahead says ‘Road Construction, Next 10 Miles.’ Are you sure this is the best way?”
Her: “Yes. OH!! You were supposed to turn back there! I didn’t know it was so close.”

Me: “Well, I can’t turn around here. How far to the next intersection?”
Her: “A long way. You HAVE to turn around.”

Me: “Well, I can’t. I think this road takes us to Orlando.”
Her: “Fine. We’re supposed to be going to Tampa.”

Me: “Why don’t you call Joy and ask for directions?”
Her: Extra-dirty look.

Like I said, we’ll never get lost again. We may not get to our destination, but we’ll always know right where we are!

Monday, July 25, 2005


(ADVISORY: I’ve read that people have been fired for writing about their workplace in their blogs. In this case, I don’t think what I’m about to report will cause any problems.)

As I reveal in the title bar above, I’m a Human Resources manager.

A very important part of that job is to make sure we comply with the myriad laws and regulations designed to prevent unfair or disparate treatment.

I’m talking about EEOC regulations in hiring, job action, discipline, layoff, and termination. Also laws like HIPAA, designed to ensure privacy of health care information. And there are state laws in addition to the better-known federal ones.

Until recently my little industrial plant was owned by a large corporation with federal contracts. That meant we fell under the OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs), and had to maintain an active Affirmative Action Plan. The goal of any AAP is to hire applicants in a racial/gender/ethnic mix that approximates that same mix (statistically) as found in your hiring area.

Even good-intentioned companies—and, contrary to popular belief, there ARE some out there—sometimes face the dilemma of choosing between a better qualified candidate (who may just be a white male) and a lesser, or barely qualified minority.

Anyway, our new plant owner has NO federal contracts! That meant that I no longer had to follow an AAP with minority hiring goals and timetables. While I could not legally discriminate, I was free to choose the best qualified candidate I could find without regard to race, gender, creed, color, ethnic origin, sexual orientation (I put that in for you, Karyn), and so on; a true EQUAL opportunity situation!

Thus relieved of my regulatory burden, I set out two months ago to hire a degreed accountant. In this area of rural South Texas, jobs at an industrial plant tend to be higher-paying than similar jobs “in town.” Thus I had a good number of applicants, including many with one or more kinds of minority status.

As you might suspect, the most prevalent local minority consists of Hispanics (or Latinos, as some prefer to be called). Blacks are next, followed by Asians (mostly of Vietnamese origin—quite a number emigrated to South Texas as the Vietnam War was nearing conclusion.) Other groups are mostly considered “statistically insignificant,” a term I would find insulting if I were one.

We conducted a scrupulously fair (and legal!) screening process to narrow the field. Throughout the entire time our focus was on qualifications. We never even spoke of any of those “EEOC” issues or factors.

Guess who the best qualified candidate was/is? Yep, a black female. If I had been “under the gun” (from my AAP Goals and Timetables) to hire a black female, my best qualified candidate would probably have been a young white male.

She started work today. She and we are delighted to have found each other.

Ironic! (But nice!)

OH! Btw, After fighting with Hotmail all weekend and submitting a trouble report, suddenly this afternoon it started working again. But now I don't trust it any more, so I'm exploring other webmail alternatives (like gmail). Until further notice, tho, please continue to email me at the address in my profile area.

(I wonder if any bloggers maintain an amateurfile, instread of a profile. Probably not.)

Friday, July 22, 2005


"n. A complex speech sound or glide that begins with one vowel and gradually changes to another vowel within the same syllable, as (oi) in boil or (i) in fine."

Somebody mentioned to me today the word “diphthong.” I had a vague recollection of knowing what that word meant. Sometime a long time ago. I imagine it was back when I was in school, in English class, where such things mattered.

I just knew it had something to do with pronunciation of vowel sounds, or something like that.

After I’d looked it up and found the definition above, I realized that my many readers would, no doubt, enjoy being re-introduced to this word.

Think how erudite you’ll sound when, in casual conversation, you drop this word in among more common ones.

If you don’t think you want to sound erudite, look that word up as well. You might change your mind.

Here’s an example: “Do you really think Brad Pitt is gay? Well, I doubt that very much! Say, did you hear that diphthong when I said the word ‘doubt?’”

And speaking of pronunciation, my print reference dictionary lists several alternate ways to say that word. The first syllable can either be “dif-” or, the “h” can be dropped resulting in “dip-.’ The second syllable can either have an “ah” sound (like “bong”) or an “aw” sound (like “wrong”).

I just threw that in so you wouldn’t say something like “diffthang” and sound like an idiot.

Which reminds me, do you remember the FedEx ad where the guy comes up to a FedEx counter and asks if they’ll deliver something overnight to “Puh – hoe – nex?” When asked where “Puh-hoe-nex” is, he says, “Well, duh! It’s, y’know, the capitol of Arizona?”

You wouldn’t want to sound like that guy, right?

Come to think of it, “Phoenix” contains a diphthong, doesn’t it? The “oe” in the first syllable would be one if you pronounce it slowly, and don’t just say “Feenix” like most people do.”

So, that’s your language lesson for today. Try throwing around the word “diphthong” and see how impressed people will be.

But be careful how you say it. If you choose to drop the first “h” and pronounce it “dip-thong,” some people might think you’re talking about a really skimpy swimsuit. (An alternate definition from “DotM.”)

Thursday, July 21, 2005


When was the last time you upgraded something major on your computer? This could include getting a whole new machine, switching operating systems (Windows 98 to Windows XP), or maybe installing a large new piece of software like Microsoft Office XP (2003).

This week at work, our “I.T.”(Information Technology) department upgraded my computer. I used to use Windows 2000 Professional and Office XP (2002). Today they brought back my upgraded machine with Windows XP Professional and Office XP (2003).

Everything has a new “look and feel.” Even the colors on the screen are different. I approached things with a sense of anticipation, hoping for enhanced capabilities and ease of use. I felt somewhat like a child with a new toy.

Then I started up Word. My I.T. guy was watching me. The following is how our conversation went.

Where are my data files?

“Oh, they’re on a network drive now so they’ll be backed up every day. It’s safer that way.”

But they’re arranged differently, and the program doesn’t know where to look for them automatically like it used to.

“Yeah, you’ve got to set all the defaults to the new values. It won’t take long.”

OK. I’ll work on that later. I guess I’ve got to put all the icons back on my desktop and set up the “quick start” bar over by the system tray (the place where the clock sits), right? How do I do that? Windows XP is different from Win 2K.

“Here. You just right-click on the program file, hit “send to…desktop” and that will put a shortcut on the desktop. Then you drag it down to the quick start area.”

Wait! You did that too fast. Show me again... OK, I think I’ve got it now. I’ll do the rest of them. Let me check my emails... Uh, where are my old email files?

“They’re on the network drive too. Let me show you how to access them…”

But now my address book is messed up. Where are all the contacts?

(Frustration beginning to show) “On the network drive, like everything else. Remember? That way it’s backed up.”

Yeah, yeah. OK. But what happened to the “Calendar Creator” program I use? I need to update our shift schedule for the rest of the year.

“Oh, that application is obsolete. You’ll have to find some other way to do that.”

But it worked fine, and I was used to it. (Here I got a sour look.) OK, OK! Progress is good… I guess. But how about Microsoft “Org Chart?” I use that to update our organization charts and I need to do that this week.

“I don’t know about that program. It’s from Microsoft, you say?”

Yes. It’s part of Microsoft Office. It creates a file with a “.opx” suffix.

“Well, let me look through the knowledge base. Oh, OK, it says here they discontinued that with the 2003 version. But don’t worry; you can re-create those charts using this engineering flow-charting software we’re licensed to run. It’s pretty high-end, but you’ll figure it out. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.”

(MY frustration beginning to show) Why can’t I change the defaults on these programs like I used to?

“Oh, only an administrator can do that. It’s a new security feature.”

But I just want to do it on THIS MACHINE, not the network. Are you telling me I’m not listed as an administrator on my own MACHINE?

(A skeptical look) “Well, I GUESS I can set you up on your own box. But I’m not supposed to.”

Look, this is supposed to be a personal computer. It’s supposed to be a tool to help me do my job. Why are all these changes making it harder and take more time than the old setup?

“C’mon, man, get with the program. These new apps have a lot of features the old ones didn’t have. They’re BETTER.”

But look at this! I can’t access Lydia’s computer like I used to. We set up some shared folders so I could save stuff directly to her machine. Fix it so I can do that again, please.

“Sorry. You’ll have to email those files to her as an attachment, and then she can open and save them. It’s all part of our security measures to make sure there’s no unauthorized access to our network.”

But we can password protect my access! How could anybody get unauthorized access to anything important if all I want to do is save stuff to certain folders?

“Well, I don’t know, but we can’t take a chance.”

I composed myself. It took a while.

Several hours later I was still struggling to get some of the same functionality and “ease of use” I had enjoyed on my old system.

I’m all for progress. I’m just not sure that my Dictionary of the Moment would define it the same way as my I.T. Department folks right now.

The “DotM” definition might be just a little off-color.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Thank you, Emily.

There are few blog topics less exciting than the weather. Well, unless you’ve just been picked up by a tornado and suddenly find yourself not in Kansas any more.

According to the statistics in our local paper this region has not experienced a dry spell sufficient to break any records, but when the cracks in the ground become big enough to swallow a golf ball you know you’re short of rain by at least a few inches.

After about three weeks of hot days and no rain, the fairways get to be like concrete. For short hitters (like me) this is a good thing. Then I can actually reach many of the greens in regulation and have some birdie putts.

But when six or more weeks pass with no significant moisture falling other than the sporadic sprinkling from the irrigation system, this black Texas “gumbo” soil begins to crack. I have (no exaggeration!) seen a golf ball roll down the fairway and disappear, only to be found a foot below the surface wedged in a crack that defies extraction of the ball. I wonder how many moldering golf balls lie interred under the fairways in Riverside Park. More than a few, I’d bet.

That’s the condition we were approaching last weekend. Emily has solved that problem for us.

Victoria was far enough north of the hurricane’s landfall to avoid any strong winds, but we did benefit from the spiraling bands of showers that are still (today) dumping water on this parched region.

We appreciate it. The golf course appreciates it. The farmers trying to get their maize and corn harvested do NOT appreciate the timing, but as Ricky Nelson sang, “You can’t please everyone.”

Btw, yesterday’s post was only about vacation PLANNING, not actually GOING yet. We don’t plan to leave until Labor Day weekend. I must have given several of you the wrong impression. Must have been unclear writing. Sorry.

(It couldn’t have been that you were scanning through the post in a hurry and missed a few key points, could it?? NAH!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Vacation Planning

Carol and I haven’t taken a real vacation since I started this blog.

Oh, we’ve been out of town on long weekends, and that seems like a vacation. But I’m talking about a real, go to a whole different part of the country, be gone at least a week or two (or maybe three), visit people you don’t see very often VACATION!

You know, like Chevy Chase.

No, don’t worry. I’m not leaving next week.

What? You weren’t worried, and you don’t CARE when I leave?? FINE! BE that way.

I’m leaving anyway, and no amount of pleading will make me stay home, so just hush.

Now that both of my daughters are living in new (to them) quarters out of this state, we have a ready-made excuse to go check out their current domiciles. Plus my mother (who lives with my sister in Maryland) just turned 89 this month and I’d like to see her as often as I can. Ergo, long trip ahead!

As of now the plans include driving to Central Florida to see Joy, Johnny, and grandson Trevor. We’ll spend a weekend with them and then head north toward Maryland. Since we’ll be driving close to and through some prime golf destinations, we’ll just HAVE to spend a few days in that activity on the way to Maryland. (Yeah, it’s a tough task. But darn it, we may just HAVE to.)

Following a few days of getting caught up on that branch of the family (and as the old saying about relatives and fish goes, two days is probably plenty, and three’s the absolute limit), we’ll head northwest toward Chicago and check out Amy and Tom’s high rise apartment inside the Loop.

Before (hopefully) we’ve outstayed our welcome there, we’ll turn southwest toward Texas. Depending on our mood and dwindling resources we MAY try to find some additional golf venues on the way home. Or we may just boogie to get back in time to rest up before I go back to the office.

Our timing? Oh, we’re thinking about leaving just before Labor Day weekend. That’ll put us in Chicago in the middle of September, which is (I’m told) the best time of year there. (Viki? Any comment about that, you Chicago-dweller?)

We’ve got plenty of time to plan, prepare, and gather all the stuff we’ll pack along.

Oh, speaking of that, we’ll be “packing” our new laptop computer and looking for wireless hotspots or other opportunities to get online along the way, so this blog will not be without fresh postings from time to time. I’ll try to keep all (both?) of you regaled with tales of our travels.

Just for Karyn’s insomnia I’ll try to include some golf scores and stories.

Meanwhile, the planning is almost as much fun as the trip. In some cases, it’s more fun. Especially if something bad happens on the trip. Like a breakdown; or a wreck.

Or overstaying our welcome with relatives. (Pee-yew!!)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Kids need their parents forever

If you read this blog and don’t read Hamel’s, you’re missing a good thing.

I try to keep my writing style grammatical with some good vocabulary words from time to time. I also try to throw in some humor and a casual, conversational feel. Hamel just writes well.

Check out his poignant recent post entitled “Fear and Trembling.” In it he discusses his desire to keep his young sons at a place where they feel they need him. If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye or otherwise evoke emotions, then… Well, it will.

That said; I want to tell you about a phone call I received last night. It was Christina. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that’s my older daughter whose real first name is Joy, and who recently moved to Florida with her husband and their son—my only grandchild.

(She’ll kill me when she reads this, but it’s not intended to ridicule.)

“Dad, I’m having computer problems. Can you help?”

“Maybe. I’ll try. Whatcha got?”

“I hooked up the computer and printer and everything, and I’m trying to print 4 documents but they won’t print.”

“Well, what happens when you select ‘print’ and hit ‘OK’?”

NOTHING happens.”

“Is the printer turned on?”

“Da-a-ad! DUH! Of course the printer’s turned on.” (Then, in a patronizing tone) “And yes, it’s plugged in. There’s a little green light on the front that tells me it’s got power.”

“OK. I hate to ask dumb questions, but is the cable between the computer and the printer plugged in right?”

(Exasperation) “Yeeees. But I’ll check it again.” (Sounds of things being bumped and moved in the background while she keeps talking) “I clicked on this little printer icon on my screen, and then went through this HORRIBLE ‘troubleshooter’ routine that had me try everything you can imagine, but nothing did any good, and then… Wait. Something’s happening… OMIGOSH! The printer is spewing out paper fast. But it’s not printing anything… Wait, now it’s printing something.”

(There’s a slight pause before she continues) “I wiggled the end of the cable that’s plugged into the printer and it felt like it went in farther. Now it’s printing pages with nothing on them but three lines of… Question marks? Yeah, just nothing but question marks. What is this all about? Is it ever going to stop?”

Stifling laughter, I told her to turn off the printer power switch before she wastes any more paper or ink. When it stops, she asked me, “Why was it just printing question marks.”

I couldn’t resist, so I told her, “Well, obviously it didn’t know what you wanted it to do so it was trying to ask you.”

Then I explained that probably when she went through each of those troubleshooting steps the program tried to get the printer to print a test page of some sort, and it was now trying to respond to all of those stored commands.

I had her clear her print queue before turning the printer back on. Everything now worked perfectly.

(Joy, I’m NOT making fun of you! Anybody could have plugged in that cable and not pushed it together quite hard enough.)

So even thought my daughters are in their 30 (plus or minus), they still call Mom and Dad for advice, help, and just general support from time to time.

And Hamel’s right; it does feel nice.

(Joy, call again ANY time. Please! I mean it.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


This morning I saw Karyn’s comment on my post of yesterday. In it she had the nerve to accuse me of having a big head!

Can you IMAGINE??!

Oh. You can? Well Phtb-b-b-b-tt to YOU!


Anyway, I thought about that all day today. I bounced back and forth among feeling defensive, abashed, irate, humiliated, haughty, and humble. I began to think that the topic of PRIDE (and humility) might make a good blog post.

THEN I thought it might be fun to put it into rhyme.

Here’s what I came up with:


Some say that I can often act a little bit too proud—
That when I toot my horn I toot it just a mite too loud.

In fact some people tell me, “It would be much more genteel,
If you would tone it down a bit; stop acting like a ‘wheel.’”

They tell me folks who elevate themselves and act so brash
Will often later come to grief and topple with a crash.

Well, no one likes a braggart or a strutting peacock type,
From whom you never hear the facts, but only get the hype.

Unless he truly IS the best, and everybody knows it,
And during all his long career he never really blows it.

For instance, men like Cassius Clay, who though he’s not the latest,
First changed his last name to Ali, then shouted, “I’m the Greatest!”

He proved his greatness through his deeds, and reigned as champ for years,
His pride was OK. People praised him. All you heard were cheers.

So clearly there’s a difference between being braggadocios,
And being someone really good, or young and real precocious.

The difference can be miniscule and hard to see at first,
But over time it hits you, kinda like a cosmic burst.

I guess I should be humble and let others make the choice
About my “greatness,” and not let them hear it from MY voice.

But darn it, from the time when I was little—a mere youth,
My Mom and Dad would spank me if I didn’t tell the truth!

So though I’m sorry that my bragging seems uncouth and crass,
I call it like I see it, thus avoiding a red _____.

There. Those are my thoughts on THAT subject.

Yours? (If you have any. I mean, just because I have thoughts on the subject doesn’t mean that mere mortals also do.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Since I'm sure you're all dying to know, the public speaking opportunity today went very, very well, thank you.

I am basking in a glow of contentment, remembering that this group of about 38 people (most of them retired, but some still employed and all politically active) applauded with enthusiasm and urged me to stay and tell them more after about 45 minutes of after-lunch speaking.

Talk about your perfect audience! And I wasn't doing a stand-up comedy routine, I was talking about my workplace! What a boring, go-to-sleep topic right after a big meal!

I can do this! I'm pretty good at it, too. (Ha! What modesty? If you got it, flaunt it!)

The president of the organization said I was the best speaker they'd had in over a year, and they want me to come back.

Lantz, if you're reading this, make sure the publishers all know what an effective marketer I can be for my novel! And look at this writing style—lots of white space and almost no "ly" adverbs! (I just about wrote "hardly any 'ly' adverbs," but that would have included one.)

Hype aside, it was fun today. I was a little nervous at first, but once I got started it flowed very well. The audience was excellent, asking lots of good questions and leading me on.

The president also said she was going to write my boss a letter and tell him how much they appreciated me speaking instead of him. No, wait. That didn't come out right. Greg, they would have enjoyed you, too. Really! I meant they enjoyed me since you couldn't make it.

(My boss reads my blog. Gotta be careful!)

And, to those of you who wrote comments or emails about earlier posts:

VIKI: Victoria, TX, is a small town. My "local college or university" is a community college. Or I drive 120 miles to Houston to find one of those "open mic" opportunities you spoke of.

But it's a good idea. Chicago this is not!

HAMEL: You had an invitation to do a book signing? My goodness, I thought those had to begged for, sometimes with significant bribes.

No, I wouldn't call you dumb. You're obviously very intelligent. Had I been in your place, however, I would have told all my friends that I did not expect them to come, much less buy my book, but I'd be grateful if they told all of their friends to come and buy several copies as gifts!

Schnoodlepooh: I did have fun. As for the "soon-to-be-published" part, that remains to be seen. What convinced Lantz to represent me was my assertions that I planned to actively and aggressively market any book of mine that made into commercial print. Plus he met me and saw that I could be personable, articulate, and (I hope) effective in meeting others and presenting myself and my work. Maybe some publisher will give me a chance to prove that I can do all that and help them sell enough copies to make us both some money. (Oh, bad writing style there. I used TWO "ly" adverbs in the same sentence!)

FIN: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I don't know you and your profile can't be viewed, so you are a mystery person. Stop in again and send me an email sometime.

And, MICHELLE: You are so sweet! All such flattery is gladly accepted and will get you everywhere!

Remember Tom Cruise in "Top Gun?" That was me. (Well... Almost. I'm better looking. And more modest!)

Tell you what... If you get that "beeg book store" to buy my book and let me come do a book signing, I'll come! (Hey, it'll be tax deductible if it's a "business" trip!)

Good night, all. The Duke is retiring (to bed, not from the day job. I've still got bill to pay.)

(See that, Greg? I'm NOT retiring from my job! NOT!!)

Monday, July 11, 2005

The phobia of public speaking

Tomorrow I get to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and talk for 15-20 minutes about my workplace.

It ought to be fun. I’m actually looking forward to it. But I didn’t always feel this way.

I remember going to debates in high school, and being in awe of those with the courage to get up in front of their peers and present their side of a proposition. How do they think there?

I would get the stammers just trying to answer a question in class, and I knew that if I were in front of a crowd I would completely freeze. Deer in the headlights, big time! I’ve read that fear of speaking in public is one of the strongest phobias out there.

So, what changed? I think it was my time in the Navy as a jet flight instructor. I had to get up in front of a class of students and give lectures about the various stages of training. I soon realized that I knew more about my subject than my audience did, and my confidence rose.

Since then I’ve conducted countless training classes in an industrial environment, led singing and worship either alone or with others) in several churches for about 15 years, and even had a (tiny) speaking part in a movie!

No, don’t bother searching through Net Flix or some other movie database for my name. The movie was called “Carrier” and was made in 1968 by a British film company, but was never released. Long story!

Public speaking is like a lot of things in life. Most of us can do far more than we think we can. The trick is getting up the nerve to try it the first time, and then again, and again. Soon it’s not only possible, it’s easy!

That’s one reason I would dearly love for Lantz (my agent) to get a book contract for me. I relish the thought of arranging appearances in any venue to talk about and promote my book. No, I’m not talking about Oprah! I just mean as in book signings at the local Hastings or Borders.

Or doing a reading at the local public library. I’ve already been promised that opportunity if I get published. Hey, I live in a small town, remember? They don’t get many local authors at the Victoria County Public Library to present their work.

My problem now is NOT in gathering the courage to get up and speak—it’s in knowing when to shut up and sit down. My younger daughter Amy is called by her peers (and she’s proud of this!) the “Queen of Bullshit.” She acknowledges the title, and claims she came by it honestly, stating to any who will listen, “My father is the king.”

I’ve been known to take a 10-minute topic and expand it into an hour. But you, my myriads of faithful readers (both of you) already know this. So I’ll sit down now, and shut up.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Another rest-less day.

No day of rest—not this Sunday. Oh, no. We had more work to do on the arbor.

I tried “encouraging” Carol all week, but she always seemed to find other things to do. I mean, how much encouragement should it take?

I expected that she’d AT LEAST have all the measurements done and marked for me to do the cutting, but NO. She felt compelled to do OTHER things all week, like yard work, and laundry, and cooking meals.

I mean, come ON! Where the heck were her priorities?

We were at the stage where we had to notch out the long lateral “roof” supports, and then notch out the cross-members (joists) to fit so the whole thing would have a “fitted together” look.

I could describe the structure again, but if you go back two weeks to the post of the last Sunday in June you’ll see one (description). Eventually I’ll have some pictures, but not yet. We still haven’t entered the digital age with regard to cameras, so when we get the film developed you’ll have a chance to see several shots of “Bambi” from the golf course, and our back-yard arbor.

Today the Hades index in our back yard approached 100%, but didn’t quite get there. The closest it came was right after Carol measured a board for notches, marked them off, and I cut them. Then we found that she had mis-measured. Hoo boy, you shoulda seen the steam rising from HER!

We had to go buy another board! It was under $6.00, but you’d have thought her mistake had cost us thousands. She probably won’t get over that for weeks.

But at the end of the day (6:10 P.M.), the structure was complete except for the trellis material we’re going to screw on as a “roof,” to support the Jasmine and encourage it to grow across it and cover the whole thing.

It really looks nice from ten feet or more away. Any closer and you can tell that the ends of the boards don’t exactly line up. At least Carol says she can tell. I can’t. As I keep telling her, “A man on a fast horse won’t notice it.” She remains unconvinced and unamused. Go figure.

Guess I’ll have to go back to “work” tomorrow to get some rest.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Oh dear. No deer!

Carol and I made our weekly trek to the local public golf course this afternoon. Since we were out of town last weekend, it’s been two weeks since we last saw Bambi. I wondered if he’d still be lounging between fairways in the shade, or if the passage of so many humans would have finally driven him into the woods nearby.

We saw no sign of him. Or of any of his relatives.

Of course, it was 97 degrees in the shade with a heat index of 110 today, so maybe he found it cooler in the woods.

Oh, for those of you who may be interested, the Hades index was only about 95% today. According to my sources, Satan has been jealous lately of all the reports that it’s been “hot as Hell” in Texas, so he’s raised the level Down There to somewhere around the midday temperature of Phoenix, AZ. I mean, EVERYbody knows that it’s ALWAYS as hot as Hell in Phoenix this time of year.

We wimped out today and rode in a golf cart. But to our credit we DID spend two hours this morning, and two more hours late this afternoon, working on the arbor we’re building in the back yard. And yes, to those of you who have asked, we WILL have some pictures for you some day soon. Just not yet.

Patience is a virtue. Like personal responsibility. (See previous posts!)

Now, to answer those of you who have commented or emailed me:

1. Viki — To my shame, I HAVE taken golf lessons to try to be more competitive with Carol. But old habits are hard to break. More than one instructor has coached me and then told me to work on his tips and come back when I’ve “got it” and he’ll take me to the next level. Seems like I never quite “get it.”

And yes, I’m glad to see you’ve emerged from the “commentlessness” state you were in. But clearly you’ve never spent much time in Texas. There’s rarely a day when I would WANT to be outside using the laptop. Between the heat, humidity, and yes, the insects, inside with air conditioning is my usual evening habitat.

2. Karyn — What!? No innuendo? My goodness, woman, I thought you could make innuendo out of ANYthing! (Btw, that Freaky Friday post was... well... interesting.) Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize you were asleep. Must have happened when I mentioned “golf.”

3. Michelle — Thanks for your support! Keep clicking that “refresh” button, OK?

So, no deer today. But “deer” rhymes with “beer,” and I think maybe it’s time for one of those!

And no, I’m NOT going to report on golf scores or who won. Use your imagination!

Friday, July 08, 2005

I’m OK, you’re OK. And it’s nobody’s fault!

I’ve been doing some more thinking about personal responsibility (or the lack thereof) since my post of two days ago.

A number of you weighed in with either comments or emails. (I ought to publish some of those emails, but then you wouldn’t send me any more because if you’d wanted them published you’d have written a comment on the blog. So I guess I won’t. Although… I COULD do it anonymously… Maybe…)

Some of those comments were insightful. Others, like Karyn’s, were just fluff and sexual innuendo, but that’s Karyn. (That’s my way of getting back at her for delaying her weekly Freaky Friday post today. Imagine… I had to WAIT for my gratification! Hmmph!)

Remember the book back in the 50s by Thomas Harris, “I’m OK—You’re OK?” There were a whole series of books on “Transactional Analysis” that talked about negative life positions, negative self-feelings, and the like. An emphasis developed on Positive Self Esteem. Educators were trained to avoid attacking a child’s self-esteem, lest that child develop a negative life position.

Bro-THER! The result of all that psychobabble was the pervasive notion that NOTHING is truly “my fault.” If it were, I must be “bad” (or incompetent, or a loser, or…). Gee, whatever happened to, “I’m human. I made a mistake?”

The jails and prisons are full of people who honestly believe they’re locked up because society failed them. It was all because of their childhood environment. If you point out that they made some bad choices, they’ll blame other influences for that as well.

When (or if) they get out, many go make some of the same bad choices all over again. They remain convinced that either they are somehow predestined to make those choices—always because of some influence outside of their control—or, that their choices aren’t really bad; the problem lies with “the system” that’s out to get them no matter what they do. Sound familiar?

The comments I received about lawyers brought to my mind several of the lawsuits I’ve had to defend (as a company representative) against accusations of unlawful discharge. It didn’t matter WHAT act or omission led to the final decision to terminate employment. It didn’t matter how many times the employee had been warned and otherwise disciplined. According to them and their attorneys, it was not their fault.

I was taught as a little boy that if I did something bad, I would be punished. The punishment was not to show me I was a bad boy, but to teach me not to be bad again. The fact that I did something bad didn’t make ME a bad person. And Mom and Dad still loved me.

You’ll hear in some church circles, “God loves the sinner but hates the sin.” Same idea.

The trouble is, if I’m not ultimately responsible for my actions, deeds, omissions, and so on, then the logical extension of that is there’s no reason for me to act like a “responsible adult.” I might as well be irresponsible. Hey, “If it feels good, do it!”

And thus many people act irresponsibly, and without any guilt about it. The rate of criminal recidivism is high. But we’re all OK!

There. I’ve vented. Thanks for visiting. I’ll try to be in a lighter mood tomorrow.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The bullet has been bitten

No, this has nothing to do with the gun mentioned in yesterday’s post. Nor with the demise of personal responsibility. Unless, that is, you count personal fiscal responsibility. (Meaning “money management,” for the vocabulary-challenged among us. Ordinarily that might include me, but I have my fabulous reference, the “Dictionary of the Moment” to help me along.)

No, the “biting of the bullet” of which I speak refers to the fact that Carol and I, after many months of talking about and thinking about buying a laptop computer, have now done the deed. Our new Dell Inspiron was delivered yesterday evening.

We tend to be very tight with our money when a major purchase is involved; “major” defined as anything over a couple hundred bucks. As a case in point, it took Carol nearly two years (along with some favorable economic conditions) to decide to buy our TrailManor pop-up camper/trailer/RV.

Anyway, we agreed that having a portable computer to take on our trips would be a good thing for a lot of reasons. With the ever-expanding availability of Wi-Fi, much of it free, internet access will be handy. Add a GPS receiver and some mapping software and we’ll never get lost again!

Plus (and don’t tell Carol this), I’ll be able to write and publish blog posts while we’re on the road! I’ve not mentioned that benefit, because she might see it in a slightly different light (as in “liability”).

There WAS one condition, though. I had to agree to let her participate in the new computer setup at her own pace. And I had to be patient with her.

Last night we began.

I gave her the mouse and watched as she turned on the new machine. Before Windows even loaded we first sat through all of the Dell “Welcome” screens and requests to register everything. We couldn’t do that, I explained, until we actually got Windows running and set up the wireless network connection to have internet access.

Carol: “Why can’t we do that now?”

Me: “You have to do that from within Windows, and Windows hasn’t started yet.”

Carol: “Why?”

Me (in a patient tone): “Why do we have to do it from within Windows, or why hasn’t Windows started yet?”

Carol: “Yes.”

Me (in a still-patient-but-slightly-strained tone): “Windows is the operating system, and you have to have it running to tell the computer how to connect to the—”

Carol (in a not-quite-patient tone): “Yes, I know that, but why doesn’t Windows just start? It always starts first on our other computer.”

Me: Sigh.

Once we made it past the Dell messages and Windows actually loaded, I told her I wanted to turn off the default sounds that accompany start up and exit, logon and logoff.

Carol: “Why”

Me: “Well, they’re annoying. They take time to load and run, and I’ve gotten used to not having them.”

Carol: “I never heard them on our other computer.”

Me: “That’s because I turned them off.”

Carol: “Ok, but are you sure it won’t hurt something to turn them off?”

Me: Sigh.

Soon it was time to actually start loading software. Carol uses Adobe Photoshop a lot on our desktop and wanted that loaded first. We put in the CD and made it to the screen asking for the product key. These groups of numbers and letters had to be entered in just the right order or the program wouldn’t install, I explained.

Carol: “Why?”

Me: “To make it harder for people to just copy the CD and spread the program around for free.”

Carol: "Ok, let me do it. Are they case-sensitive?”

Me: “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

Carol, waiting: “How can we find out?”

Me: “Just type them in; I don’t think it matters.”

Carol: “But what if it does?”

Me (a little strained, but still patient): “If it does, we’ll retype them in upper case.”

Carol: “Why not just type them in upper case first?”

Me (not much patience left): “Please, just type them in any case you like.”

Carol, still waiting: “So which one, upper or lower?”

Me (jaw tightly clenched): “Please. Just type them.”

Carol: “So, is upper OK?”

Me (about to lose it): “Yesssssss.”

Upper case worked just fine. As, I’m pretty sure, lower case would have also. But we’ll never know.

Next we came to the EULA. (No, that’s not related to “euphemism” or “euthanasia,” and has nothing to do with mercy. There WAS no mercy last night!) That stands for the End User License Agreement. It’s a bunch of legalese about 10 pages long that nobody ever reads. Below it are two small check boxes: one for “I accept,” and one for “I decline.”

Carol: “What’s that?”

Me: “Just click the ‘I Accept’ box.”

Carol: “But what’s it say?”

Me: “I don’t know. I never read them. Something about the software not being guaranteed for any specific purpose, and you won’t sue Adobe if it messes up your pictures.”

Carol: “What if it does mess up my pictures.”

Me: “It won’t.”

Carol: “Maybe I should read it.”

Me (a hint of sarcasm creeping in): “Did you read the one on the copy in our other computer?”

Carol (innocent): “Well, no.”

Me: “Did it ever mess up your pictures?”

Carol: “No. But still... maybe I ought to glance through it.”

Me: “Why? If you want to use the software you HAVE to click the ‘I accept’ box whether you like what it says or not. Do you want to use this software on this machine?”

Carol: “Yes.”

Me (voice rising): “PLEASE. Just click the ‘I accept’ box.”

Carol (accusing look): “You SAID you’d be patient!”

There was more, but you’ve read enough for now.

Yes, we’re still married. For now. But tonight we get to set up the desktop resolution and other settings. (Sigh).

This might have been a bullet better unbitten. (Oooo. More good consonance.)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Hummer, a golf ball, and a gun

Dateline: Killeen public golf course, Sunday, July 2, about 11:45 a.m. 14th tee.

We had been following a foursome of men around the course. The morning was hot, but a good steady breeze of about 20 mph kept conditions somewhere between unbearable and comfortable.

I was playing about average for me—some good shots among the bad ones. But the last two holes had gone well and I had visions of finishing strong. (That’s not germane to my story, but I wanted you to know. I don’t always hit trees and rocks.)

We finished the 13th hole and noticed that the group ahead had not yet left the next tee area. In fact, several of the golfers were standing beside the road that ran adjacent to the 14th fairway. They seemed to be looking at a shiny new Hummer H2 that had stopped there. On closer inspection we saw that the golfers were talking with two young men who had been in the vehicle.

When we pulled up at the tee area, one of the four golfers told us his buddy had hit a tee shot out over the road where it knocked a side window out of the Hummer! We assumed that apologies were being made, along with an exchange of information so the golfer could pay for the damage.

Carol has some experience in this area. A number of years ago one of HER (not MY—that’s important!) errant shots hit an oncoming car’s windshield and ruined it. Of course, the car was brand new and still had temporary tags on. We immediately admitted responsibility and arranged to pay for the windshield, only to learn (from an insurance agent we happened to be playing along with) that our homeowner’s insurance would cover the damage! Who knew?

OK, back to the Hummer. It seems that one of the young men was driving Dad’s new car, and was talking to Dad on the cell phone about the accident. Normal, right? But meanwhile the golfers were disclaiming any responsibility!

Their attitude was, they didn’t do it on purpose (well, DUH! None of them was good enough to hit a moving car if they’d aimed at it!), and the kids were taking a “known risk” by driving along a golf course.

Well, the golfer gave the “kid” (Hummer driver) his name and phone number, and we figured that was the end of it.


About 15 minutes later we still paralleling the road, and saw the Hummer drive slowly past us, with the occupants staring out over the golf course. They found the men ahead of us on the next hole and pulled over.

As Carol and I approached the area we could hear shouting. The two “kids” from the Hummer were yelling at the golfers, all of whom were now waving their arms as in disgust and yelling back. A short time later the golfers passed us going to the last hole. One stopped and told us in complete disgust that, “Them kids still think we ought to pay for the window. There’s no way in hell I’m going to pay them anything! It ain’t MY responsibility!” He rode off in his cart fuming.

I mentioned to Carol that if I’d been the kid, I would have called the police to file a report and let them and later the insurance companies sort out who had to pay for what. No good could come out of an argument and a shouting match.


By the time we had played the last hole and returned to the pro shop and clubhouse, there were two Killeen police cars in the parking lot with a small crowd of people around them.

It turns out (we learned a bit later) that Dad had shown up to confront the golfers who had damaged his new luxury SUV. In the ensuing discussion he had produced his hand gun! The police quickly determined that he had a legal permit to carry the gun, but ordered him to take it off the golf course property as it was a location where alcohol (beer) was served.

This municipal course had very recently moved its pro shop operations to a brand new building, and had failed to post their sign announcing that firearms were prohibited. Had the sign been posted, the police said they would have arrested the man, confiscated his gun and voided his permit to carry!

The man took his gun and left, and within 15 minutes the required sign was prominent in the pro-shop window.

To me, all that SHOULD have happened was an apology by the golfer, a promise to pay along with an exchange of identity and contact information, and an insurance claim. End of conflict.

That’s what I would have done.

But nobody, not even those in the clubhouse restaurant talking about the incident for the next hour or so, thought the golfer had any responsibility at all.

I don’t know what the law would say, but I’d feel a moral responsibility for the broken window (not to mention some acute embarrassment) if not a legal one. Am I nuts? Na├»ve?

Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Whatta Weekend!

I hope all of you reading this had a great holiday weekend. Carol and I sure did.

Thanks to those of you who commented on last week’s posts and emailed me with good wishes and advice. I’d like to respond to a few of those here.

To Kenju and Nankin: C’mon, ladies! Do you honestly think I’d go camping as in camping?" In this heat!? MOI!?

“Camping,” in this usage, is a euphemism. The correct term should be “RV-ing.” We pull a hard-sided pop-up trailer behind our Dodge van. This trailer becomes our dwelling. But we DO park it in a space in a campground, so that’s why we call it “camping.”

After parking it, leveling it, and popping it up, we connect the water supply and electricity. The first electrical item we turn on is the air conditioner. Later in the set-up phase we connect the color TV-VCR combination to both the electricity and (if there’s no cable hook-up) (drat it!) to the power-amplified outside TV antenna. Unlike many, we do NOT travel with a portable dish antenna to receive all the DirecTV channels.

Of course, we activate the water heater and the refrigerator. Under the gas range is a combination oven/microwave unit. After moving the cold items from the ice chest into the electric/gas refrigerator, we usually sit back, pop a cold beer, and “rough it” with the best of them.

Oh yes, sleeping is quite comfortable in our king-size bed. Thanks for asking.

At this particular campground and RV park there WERE about a dozen folks staying in tents. In 100+ degree heat. All hardier souls than I.

To Michelle: Although I suppose I’m happy to have provided you with some amusement, I assure you there is no laughter in my mouth when my golf ball caroms off a tree and ends up farther from the hole than before I swung at it.

In fact, if you laughed at that story, on this particular weekend of golf I hit one stroke that would have had you hospitalized, had you seen it. The ball struck a rock, shot straight up, grazed a tree limb deflecting it slightly backward as it continued up into the sky where I lost sight of it momentarily. I next saw it screaming down from the clouds straight at my head! Only by extreme athleticism was I able to avoid an almost certain death blow. The ball whizzed past my ear, slammed into the ground, and rolled just enough to stop about six inches behind where I had struck it.

I thought of my post Friday and my joking comment about hitting a tree and going backwards. I muttered a few choice words under my breath and swatted at it again. This time it missed the rock but hit the same tree. It ended up deep in the trees and weeds and was never seen again. Not one of my better holes.

Once you pick yourself up off the floor (and get your breath back) you may continue reading.

I’ll try to regale you with camping stories tomorrow, if, as Candace says, I can get my groove back.

Meanwhile, I had to look up “euphemism” in the Dictionary of the Moment (DotM). It’s defined as a word that sounds nicer than some other word with similar meaning. The root is the Greek “euphos” which means “mercy.” We also get the word “euphanasia,” often spelled “euthanasia,” which means “young people in China and surrounding areas.”


Friday, July 01, 2005

It’s Too Hot, Too Hot, Too Hot Lady…

“Gotta run for shelter, gotta run for shade.”

I heard that playing on the oldies station on my way to work this morning. Then the Morning Show Personality (we used to call them a DeeJay, remember that?) announced that the forecast heat index for today was 110 degrees.

He didn’t mention the Hades index, but I’m guessing it’s well over 100%. That means it’s NOT gonna be as hot as Hell, it’s gonna be HOTTER than Hell out there!

What’s worse is, the forecast for where we’ll be playing golf all weekend is for a high temp each day right on the edge of triple digits. With bright sunshine. And with little air movement.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Hades index, it’s not an exact, constant ratio. You see, Satan is in charge of the heat setting in his own abode. Sometimes he makes it hotter there than parts of this country. But sometimes the country manages to achieve a temperature higher than his setting.

Further, I don’t maintain constant communications with that region so I don’t always know the setting down there. But rest assured that when I report an index it’s based on some discrete information I’ve managed to make up find.

What? You say you’re concerned about me and Carol out playing golf all day in such heat? No? Oh, you’re concerned about her, but NOT about me. I get it.

Please do not worry. While it’s true that on these outta town golf trips we typically play two rounds (36 holes) per day; we “wimp out” in this hot weather and ride in a cart. That allows us to create our own air movement sometimes, and carry plenty of ice water. We know enough to hydrate well and often.

Of course, Carol gets more advantage from riding than I do. She hits the ball far down the middle, hops back in the cart and smiles sweetly at me, ready to ride forward to her ball.

I, on the other hand, swat the ball, say a few choice phrases under my breath, walk a few paces forward (most of the time it's forward, although if I hit a tree it’s sometimes backwards) to its new resting place, and swat it again. Repeat. I don’t get to ride that much.

I’m writing this post at work, something I don’t usually do. (And since my boss reads this blog: Greg, don’t worry. I’m writing it on my lunch break. Honest!)

Well, lunch is about over. Hope y’all have a great holiday weekend! I’m off. Sing it with me…

“It’s too hot, too hot, too hot lady.
Gotta cool this anger, what a mess we made.”

(Kool & the Gang)