Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Billy Joel performed this classic album track live in Birmingham, Alabama on 2/26/07. Check out those awesome horns, especially the flugelhorn.

Oh Susanna

Billy Joel, without the banjo on his knee, 2/26/07 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sweet Home Alabama - Billy Joel - 2/26/07

Billy Joel certainly played to the crowd when he covered this Lynyrd Skynyrd classic last night in Birmingham, Alabama.

I've Been Told...

I've been told that I resemble actor Anthony Edwards, who played Dr. Green on the TV show "E.R." I don't know. What do you think? Which famous person have you been told that you resemble?

Billy Joel in Birmingham, AL 2/26/07

Last night Billy Joel performed to a sellout crowd at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic center in Birmingham, Alabama. I have been a Billy Joel fan for 30 years so when I had the opportunity to see him perform live for the first time, I couldn’t turn it down. He is one of a handful of artists that I would kick myself if I didn’t see them perform live at least once in my life if I had the opportunity. He did not disappoint!

Later I will post the setlist and some information about surprises. The concert was everything I thought it would be and then some. Joel’s voice is still remarkably smooth and he hasn’t lost much, if any range.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Billy Joel

I've been a Billy Joel fan since Glass Houses was released in 1980 and subsequently bought all of his albums. Now, in 2007, 14 years since his last pop music release, he has released a new song.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Matt's Birthday

Recent pictures from Matt's Birthday party.

This Weekend

Last Thursday Joe helped me cook and we all did some house cleaning and played some games. Joe submitted our weather watcher report to James Spann. I have been teaching the boys how to do certain tasks on the computer. After that he complained about his stomach hurting when we went to bed. Well, during the middle of the night le lost his supper on two separate occasions. He was so brave and good about it. You just hate to see your child go through that.

The boys didn't have school Friday, so I stayed home with them and took care of Joe. He gradually got better over the weekend. He was just unusually low on energy. We spent some quality time visiting my parents. We watched Alabama defeat Kentucky with my Dad, played Monopoly, watched Star Wars III, and played football at the park in the snow flurries. Since I was off on Monday, we got to spend Sunday night in Huntsville. My Mom made spaghetti, which is always awesome. Saturday night she made hamburgers and macaroni and cheese.

Now it's back to the work grind.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What can we do when things are out of our control?

This could have been on the Bible Study Blog, but....

I was talking to a friend today about how to handle difficult situations that are truly out of our control, especially for a single parent.

It does not pay to worry about the aspects of things that are out of your control. I have learned this the hard way. We have to surrender our children to the Lord and realize that they belong to Him more than they belong to us. Nevertheless, we need to teach them that, although they should love the other parent, they need to be taught that certain behavior is wrong because God said it's wrong; not because we said it was wrong. Also we should teach them that people who do things the wrong way will face undesirable consequences, in one way or another, in the future.

I think the key, here, is the idea of surrendering. That doesn't always mean that we don't do anything. I like what John Wesley said: "Pray as though everything depended on God and work as though everything depended upon you."

Easier said than done....I know.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Brick

One more cool story for today:

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?" The young boy was apologetic. "Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," He pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother, "he said "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up."

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me." Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. "Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy! Push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.

It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very
noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side
door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: "Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!" God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It's our choice to listen or not.

Saying Grace

Attached is another cool email I received recently about having the faith of a child.

Last week, I took my children to a restaurant.
My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.
As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!"
Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman
remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't ! even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"
Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is
God mad at me?"
As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.
He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."
"Really?" my son asked.
"Cross my heart," the man replied.
Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is ! good for the soul sometimes."
Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment, and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.
He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."

Mean Moms

The following is a cool email I received recently, especially for all of you good Mom's out there.

Mean Moms
Someday when my children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will
tell them, as my Mean Mom told me: I loved you
enough to ask where you were going, with whom,
and what time you would be home.
I loved you enough to be silent and let you
discover that your new best friend was a creep.
I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours
while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15
I loved you enough to let you see anger,
disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must
learn that their parents aren't perfect
I loved you enough to let you assume the
responsibility for your actions even when the
penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.
But most of all, I loved you enough to say
NO when I knew you would hate me for it.
Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm
glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.
And someday when your children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.
Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the
meanest mother in the whole world! While other kids
ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.
When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat
And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was
different from what other kids had, too.
Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all
times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison She
had to know who our friends were, and what we were
doing with them. She insisted that if we said we
would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.
We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve
to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We
had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to
cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash
and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie
awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.
She always insisted on us telling the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time
we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had
eyes in the back of her head Then, life was really tough!
Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn
when they drove up. They had to come up to the door
so she could meet them. While everyone else could
date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.
Because of our mother we missed out on lots of
things other kids experienced. None of us have ever
been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's
property or ever arrested for any crime It was all her fault.
Now that we have left home, we are all educated,
honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean
parents just like Mom was.
I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan

A friend emailed me some famous quotes of Ronald Reagan, who would have been 96 today. Or, as he would have said, today was the 66th anniversary of his 30th birthday.

"Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I’m here to help."

"Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong."

"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."

"The taxpayer: That’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t take the civil service exam."

"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

"If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

"I’ve laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it’s in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

Where Have the Days Gone? (a.k.a. I'm Getting Old)

Yesterday in court a young attorney was in the courtroom asking if anyone had seen the judge's secretary. He was informed that the secretary was not in. As he was leaving the courtroom, he looked at me and said, "You look real familiar. What is your name?" I told him and he lit up like a Christmas tree. He said his name and I remembered him well. It all came together. I taught him seventh grade history back in 1992. I also went to the same church as his family. He reminded me that I took him to a Braves game versus the Cincinnatti Reds back in the summer of 92. He reminded me of how I lost my gas cap and used a rag to cover my gas pipe.

I had forgotten all of that! I remember him well in class as a very bright kid, but it amazed me that the thing he mentioned first was that he remembered me taking him to the game. It was good affirmation that I had given him a positive memory and maybe impacted his life in some small way. He graduated from college with a B.A. in history then went on to law school and now works for the D.A. That was so cool to me! The only problem is it makes me feel so old!

More From This Weekend

On Saturday the boys and I hung out at my parents home. We slept in a little bit. I have been under the weather so I needed a little extra rest. Joe and I went to Kroger and we bought some groceries and things for Matt’s birthday party. After we got back, I got everything ready for the party. We had frozen pizza, then Matt opened his presents and we all enjoyed cake and ice cream. Matt specifically requested angel food cake and vanilla ice cream.

After Matt’s party we watched the Alabama basketball team defeat South Carolina with my Dad. David watched the whole game but Matt played with his toys and Joe played a lot with him and also watched parts of the game. Alabama is now 17-5 and has regained first place in the SEC West.

Saturday night the boys and I watched some old videos. I showed them videos I made with some of my college friends in the late 1980’s. I also showed them the video I made of the 6" snow that fell in Tuscaloosa back in January 1992. The boys really enjoyed seeing this "historical" stuff and it gave them a glimpse into what life was like before they were born. I really need to transfer those to DVD before they wear out.

Sunday the boys and I watched the Super Bowl with my parents. Unfortunately, the Bears lost to the Colts. My Mom made us a really good meal Sunday night which we enjoyed. She made baked chicken, corn, baked potatoes, and crescent rolls (or as the boys and I call them, "tornado" rolls. It was a great evening and weekend.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Friday Night

Friday night the boys and I ate at Bob Baumhower's Wings Sports Grill in Huntsville (I know, another food post). David and Joe had the kid's wings meal with extra hot sauce. Matt had his wings meal plain and I got my usual large order of extra hot buffalo wings. Since I was in college in the 1980's this has been my favorite place to eat wings. You just can't beat their hot buffalo sauce. Oh, I almost forgot to mention: I had the chance to introduce the boys to beignets. It sure went well with that cup of coffee!

I then took the boys to Parkway Place Mall where I let Matt pick out a couple of his birthday presents. He picked out a football and a boxing kit. He has worn that boxing thing out this weekend.

We then went to Books a Million where the boys looked at sports and car magazines and books. I was pleasantly surprised to see my friend Johnny there. I probably shouldn't have been too surprised to see Johnny at the Books a Million, though. I have seen him there on more than one occasion in the past. I bought David a nice magazine about cars which he has spent a lot of time looking at this weekend. Joe didn't see anything he wanted and said that he would rather me put money in his account. That boy is smart about saving.

We then went to Best Buy where I bought myself something for a change. I've been borrowing David's digital camera for several months and I finally decided to get my own digital camera. My old one was worn out last fall. I purchased the Kodak easy Share C875, which I already knew was what I wanted before I walked into the store. The C875 is probably the best value on the market right now. It features 8 megapixels and a 5x optical zoom. The camera is relatively small, but it still has a 2.5" LCD viewfinder/monitor.

After leaving Best Buy, we stopped briefly to look at some cars at Suzuki of Huntsville (since they were closed and no one would bug us). I really liked the crimson colored XL7 and Grand Vitara. If I can get a new vehicle in the not too distant future, I would really like one of those. My car has 239,000 miles on it and I do not know how long it will last. One thing good about my vehicle, though, is that it is paid for.

We went on from there to my Mom's house where we hung out with her a little while. We talked about the terrible tornadoes in Florida that occurred early Friday morning. It was a great evening for us guys!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head

When I was five, the song, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," by BJ Thomas was released. At the same time I got my first record player. I wore out that 45 rpm record so bad that I begged my parents to buy me another one. I wore the second one out too. I had a "girlfriend" across the street. I would call her and play the record to her over the phone. It's no wonder that I became a weather geek, with that being my first "song".