Saturday, June 30, 2007

Storm video and a new puppy

Last night after work I was doing a little storm chasing over in SE Limestone County, just noth of the Belle Mina community. I was on the phone with my boys at the time, and because of that I am posting this video here instead of on my weather blog. Joe is describing his new puppy.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dad on the computer

This picture was taken around 1963 or 1964, I think. My Dad was into computers before I was a gleam in his eye! Happy 77 Dad!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

President Bush in Alabama

Photo from
At approximately 12:20 p.m. President Bush arrived at the Huntsville International Airport. He is now travelling via motorcade to the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant up the road in Limestone County.

President Bush Tours Nuclear Plant in North Alabama - WHNT 19 Huntsville

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sammy Hits #600!

AP Photo from

A few moments ago Sammy Sosa became the fifth man in Major League Baseball history to hit at least 600 home runs. I tried to call David (who is with his mom), Sammy's biggest fan, to let him know. I called my Mom and Dad who were watching on WGN. I was watching on Fox Sorts Southwest (Rangers broadcast). Our family has been watching Sammy for years and we are all excited.

Kudos to Mom who called this shot this afternoon at 3:00. Never doubt anyone who has been a baseball fan for over 50 years!

Sosa becomes fifth player in 600-homer club<
June 20, 2007 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Sammy Sosa hit his 600th home run Wednesday night, making him the fifth player to reach the milestone. Sosa, playing for the Texas Rangers following a year out of baseball, hit a 1-2 pitch into the Rangers' bullpen in right-center for a solo homer. It came in the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs, the team he played for from 1992-2004. Sosa was the 1998 NL MVP and a seven-time All-Star while hitting 545 of his homers with the Cubs. Sosa bounced out of the batter's box with his trademark hop and thrust his right fist into the air before reaching first base. He was mobbed at home plate by his teammates while the scoreboard showed pictures of all five members of the elite club: Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sosa. No. 600 came off Jason Marquis, the 364th pitcher the 38-year-old Sosa has homered off in his 18 major league seasons. It was Sosa's 12th homer in 62 games this season since signing a minor league deal and making the roster in spring training with Texas, the franchise that gave him his start and for which he hit his first homer in 1989. Sosa also has 52 RBIs, which ranks seventh in the American League. He has homered against every major league team in his career.

Evaluating Sosa's HOF Candidacy ESPN

Sammy Sosa Slams No. 600 Chicago Tribune
Ex-Cub's historic blast helps sink old team; Marquis struggles againRANGERS 7, CUBS 3By Paul SullivanTribune staff reporterJune 21, 2007
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Former Cubs icon Sammy Sosa became the fifth player in major-league history to reach the 600-home run plateau Wednesday when he connected off right-hander Jason Marquis in the fifth inning of the Texas Rangers' 7-3 victory over the Cubs.Employing his familiar home run hop and wearing a huge smile as he rounded the bases with the theme from "The Natural" blasting over the sound system, Sosa accomplished something only Henry Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays had done before him.

No. 600 for Sammy
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Sammy Sosa's 600th homer resembled so many that came before -- except this time the Chicago Cubs were on the other side. Playing for the Texas Rangers after a year out of baseball, Sosa became the fifth member of the 600-homer club Wednesday night when he connected against his former team. After driving a 1-2 pitch to right-center for a solo shot in the fifth inning of Texas' 7-3 victory, Slammin' Sammy bounced out of the batter's box with his trademark hop and thrust his right fist into the air before reaching first base. He was mobbed at home plate by his teammates while the scoreboard showed pictures of all five members of the elite club: Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sosa. "It was something that cannot be explained," Sosa said. "Getting my 600th against the Chicago Cubs, and my first team (was) the Texas Rangers. It's like everything clicked. My emotions, I don't know what they are."

600 Club: Sosa hits a milestone Dallas Morning News
12:18 PM CDT on Thursday, June 21, 2007
By EVAN GRANT / The Dallas Morning News
ARLINGTON – For a moment Wednesday night, just before the fireworks exploded against an ebony sky and the music from The Natural wafted through Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, all of the turmoil that has nearly choked the life out of Sammy Sosa's baseball career faded.
Fans weren't polarized over his return to the game or his place in history. Instead, they were engrossed by his awesome power and charismatic on-field personality. They were once again entranced by Sammy being Sammy.

Photos from Dallas Morning News

Video from Dallas Morning News

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Vacation Day Six - Friday June 8, 2007

Vacation Day Five - Thursday June 7, 2007

We started the day off by spending a good deal of time swimming in the pool at the hotel. I thought I'd never get used to that cold water. I think it bothered me more than it did when I was younger. Once I got used to it, the four of us had lots of fun. We would pair up, and do sneak attacks on each other when we said the code words. Joe's code word with me was "hamburger" and David's was "macaroni and cheese". Imagine that. After getting out of the pool, we made a sign for David to take to the game about Sammy Sosa.

We then left, got gas in the car, and ate pizza at a convenience store down the road called "Pouty's Pizza" the pizza was fine, but the wings were awful because they were so dry. from there we went on to the game.

We had lots of fun before, during, and after this game. It was probably the most fun we have ever had at a ball game. All three boys got a major league baseball. First, Curtis Granderson of the Tigers threw one over to me which I gave to Joe. Matt and David were together behind the dugout.

Rangers pitcher Robinson Tejada signed autographs for the boys. Here he signed one for David. Before he left the area, I asked him if he thought Sammy Sosa might come out. He kind of doubted it. I pointed at David, who was standing behind the Ranger's dugout holding his Sammy Sosa sign, and told him how big a fan he is of Sammy.

Another pregame highlight was meeting Detroit closer Todd Jones. Before Todd came over, Curtis Granderson threw two more balls to kids. Guess who he threw them to? That's right it was David and Matt. They were not right with Joe and I at the time. I became a fan of Mr. Granderson right then as he had "treated" all three of my boys to a major league baseball. The cool part of it is that he probably had no clue that the three kids he threw balls to were all brothers!

On to the Todd Jones story. As he was walking around the batting cage I got his attention and he walked over to where Joe and I were standing. I told him that we were from Alabama too. He shook my hand and asked us how we were doing. I would have been able to talk to him more except for the next little distraction! David got my attention and threw his baseball to me for Todd to sign. Todd signed it then Matt decided that he would do the same thing. The only problem was that Matt inadvertently fired his ball out onto the field! It wasn't until after Todd Jones left that I was able to convince the security guard to give us Matt's ball back.

As if that wasn't enough fun, we had a little more excitement just before the game started. Our seats were just off the right field line so the boys stood close to the field while the Rangers players were stretching and running sprints before the game. David got a thrill because Sammy Sosa saw his sign and acknowledged him twice. First he nodded and pointed and then a few minutes later he gave David the "thumbs up", before he ran into the dugout. I wish he had come over so David could have met him, but it was the next best thing I suppose.

Also before the game, right after the National Anthem, Kenny Lofton signed a couple of autographs for the kids on his way to the dugout. That was thrill to the boys who also really like him. Joe got Kenny to sign his new Ranger's jersey.

Sammy Sosa on deck. He was 0 for 5.

Gary Sheffield hit another home run.

Tigers coach Andy Van Slyke and second baseman Placido Polanco, who was 2/6.

Rangers closer Eric Gagne. He lowered his ERA to 0.64.

The rangers ended up losing the game 11-4.

Mark Teixera hit a ninth inning home run off Yorman Bazardo.

This was Sammy's last at bat. We were able to move right behind the Rangers dugout by the ninth inning.

Tigers first baseman Sean Casey.

Kenny Lofton. After the game, at the last minute I decided to stop by the Rangers souvenir shop before we left. As soon as we stepped in the door the staff treated David like a celebrity! Everyone in the store (clerks, security, etc.) kept going on and on about how they just saw him on TV behind the Rangers dugout holding up his Sammy Sosa sign. We stopped at another store and the same thing happened. David bought a Texas Sammy Sosa tee-shirt/jersey, Joe bought a Rangers hat, and I bought a rangers hat. I kept telling David that he was the "talk of Texas!" We had a great time and we were all on cloud nine as we walked to our vehicle. David had to call my mom again and tell her all about it! Thanks, Lord for a very special evening with the boys!

Vacation Day Four - Wednesday June 6, 2007

We ate lunch at the Trail Dust Steakhouse, which was only a block or so away from our hotel. It was o.k., but not really worth the price, especially since we were eating lunch. The boys really enjoyed the slide, though!

Joe had the steak kids meal. David had the macaroni and cheese kids meal, and Matt and I split a half slab of ribs plate. They have ties hung up on the walls. Supposedly, if you wear a tie into the place they cut it off and attach it, along with your name, to the wall. It was pretty quiet while we were there nut they have a place for karaoke and a band along with a dance floor. I tried to get Matt to show us some moves on the dance floor but he refused!

After lunch we took a long ride out to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, northwest of Fort Worth. The trip was a lot farther than I expected. The Dallas, Arlington, and Fort Worth area is really spread out.

We were all fascinated by our visit to the Bureau. We learned a lot about how bills (a.k.a. notes) are made these days. The Western Currency Facility, as it is called conducts free 45 minute tours which are very interesting and educational. Besides learning how notes are made, we learned how they go to great lengths to help citizens redeem notes that were shredded or mutilated. They start the tour with an interesting tour and have an interactive museum. It was well worth the long drive!

After a brief stop at the hotel, we drove over to the ballpark for the Ranger-Tigers game.

One of the Rangers announcers was interviewing fans.

Matt and Joe




We hung around the Rangers dugout as long as we could before the game, just in case we had a chance to get an autograph.

Rangers dugout.

This was the view from our seats. David bought some cotton candy. It was also $1.00 hot dog night, so we ate supper at the park.

Joe bought lemonade. There was a group of fans in the left field bleachers that were singing "Sweet Home Alabama" late in the game (complete with the "Roll Tide Roll" you typically hear inserted at Bama games. That was so cool to us Bama guys. The Rangers stink and they lost 10-0, so I guess the fans had to find ways to entertain themselves. David really likes Gary Sheffield and he got to see him hit two home runs and get five RBI's.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Vacation Day Three - Tuesday 6/5/07

Before we left Galveston the boys really wanted to stop at a souvenir shop. Matt got a toy turtle, Joe and david got shark tooth necklaces, and they all got a few shells. We shopped at the Mermaid Souvenir Pier. This was a really cool place on the Gulf.

So many shells to choose from...

There were some great views of the Gulf at the back of the Mermaid Souvenir Pier.

Joe was just chillin' on the pier...

Before we left Galveston, I had to stop at Starbucks. No, not for the expensive coffee! June the 5th was the day of Paul McCartney's latest release and the Starbucks record label was carrying it.

David is checking out the new CD. After buying David and Matt root beer and a strawberry drink for Joe, we went over to Little Caesar's and ate pizza before leaving Galveston on our way to Arlington.

We're on our way...back on the road again...

Approaching Houston...good photo, Joe!

After checking into our hotel in Arlington, we didn't waste much time heading over to Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. Our room was less than a mile from the park.

We were there so we could get in when the gates opened; two hours before the first pitch. We hoped this would give the boys a chance to get some autographs. Matt has one of his new Ranger's jerseys on. I found four practically new (some still with tags) Rangers jerseys for the boys recently on Ebay.

Joe is ready, sporting his new Rangers jersey. The promotion for this game was Rangers tee shirts for two dollars. I bought us each one.

David is sporting his Cubs Sammy Sosa jersey.

Here we are in line near the first base on deck circle hoping to get an autograph. A nice lady from Tyler, TX offered to take our photograph. David was over behind the dugout at the time.

This is David, with the Rangers' dugout and the right field stands behind him.

Some guy standing over to our left seemed to know a lot of the players and coaches who periodically went over to greet him. This is Magglio Ordonez of the Detroit Tigers.

Tigers manager Jim Leland seemed to be in excellent shape as he was hitting ground balls to his infielders. He was also very nice. He came over and signed autographs for Joe and Matt.

David (of course) took this photo of Sammy's sign down the right field line.

David also took this photo of Sammy's sign as we walked to our seats.

The guy in front of us wore the bag over his head the entire game.

We had pretty good seats in section 215. I heard an advertisement on the Rangers broadcast selling tickets for half price in this section. The Rangers have the worst record in baseball, mainly because they have the worst pitching staff in baseball. The Rangers actually won this game, though, 7-4.