Nov 292007

It’s unfortunate that some of the moments you’d most like to have captured on video can never be, simply because of the circumstances.  Often a more immediate need (like, oh, stopping the bleeding) must take precedence.

I stayed home from work yesterday.  Woke up, felt like I’d been through a combine, emailed that I’d be late, went back to bed for an hour, woke up again, felt like I’d been through the combine again, emailed that I’d be absent.  Low grade fever, fatigue, some respiratory symptoms, the bed, a bowl of Froot Loops, and a lot of Seinfeld DVDs.  We’ve all got crud of some kind or another right now, actually.  It’s a pathogenic extravaganza.

We had previously planned for Lea to go on a solo junket last night.  She asked if I felt up to watching the boys, I said yes, so she left.

They came to see me from time to time.  I could hear them fine, and I put my eyeballs on them every ten minutes or so.  They were playing nicely, which I appreciated.

Then Nathan ran in our bedroom and said “Daddy, Aaron’s nose is bleeding!”

This is not surprising.  Aaron doesn’t get a lot of nosebleeds, but he definitely gets more of them than Nathan ever has, particularly when he’s sick.  “Aaron, come here!” I called.

He came cheerily ambling in.  “Hi, Daddy!”

Oh, wow.  He looked like he’d run full speed into a wall, face first.  Ear to ear and forehead to chin, his little face was absolutely covered with blood.  It was a good gusher, and he’d been absently wiping his nose for three or four minutes, anyway.  Why didn’t he notice the blood on his hands?  The singular focus of a three-year-old lost in his Legos is a powerful thing.

Calmly, I said, “Aaron, come to the bathroom with Daddy.”


“Because your nose is bleeding.”

And then, blinking his blood-encrusted eyelashes at me, flashing me his you’re-so-silly smile (stark white against a crimson sea), and in a genuinely sunny and almost laughing voice, he said one of the funniest things he’s ever said to me:  “My nose isn’t bleeding, Daddy!”


Cleaned him up, stopped the bleeding, and added a hilarious memory to my stack.

 Posted by at 5:50 pm
Nov 272007

I know I’ve been talking about football a lot lately, and I didn’t plan to tonight. I may still blog about something else a little later, but I couldn’t let this pass.

Yesterday was a rather bloody day for head college football coaches. I understood all of the dismissals (to some degree) but one.

Southern Mississippi head football coach Jeff Bower “resigned” yesterday. He had been the head coach of the Golden Eagles for 17 years, and counting time as a player and assistant coach, had been with the university for almost 30 years. He has had regular opportunities for more prestigious and better paying jobs, but has always remained faithful to his alma mater.

Southern Mississippi has been a good mid-tier team with a fistful of conference titles. They go bowling regularly, and they jump up and beat a big dog occasionally. They haven’t had a losing season since 1993. They went 7-5 this season, and Bower will coach them in the Bowl.

My question to Southern Mississippi athletic director Richard Giannini: just who the hell do you think Southern Miss is supposed to be? I’m reminded of Steve Lawrence in the sauna in The Blues Brothers when Jake tells him they need “five thousand bucks fast”: “Five thousand dollars? Who do you think you are, the Beatles?!”

You’ve jettisoned the best coach you could have: a fellow with sufficient enthusiasm and ability to keep you winning, but whose loyalty to you was far greater than any ambition beyond your campus he may have had. This is the man you’ve shown the street. Congratulations.

So who are you going to get now? Are you now going to land a superstar hire from whom you will expect a national championship within five years? Ha! You might be the first head job for someone who is currently a good assistant, but I’ll tell you this: if he’s got a national championship in him, he won’t win it at Hattiesburg. He’ll be gone for more money and better facilities (and a BCS conference, naturally).

To Coach Bower: You are a class act, and my best to you, sir. I wish you much success. I’ll be a fan of wherever you coach in 2008.

To Southern Miss: I wish you dolts the same pox I wished on Nebraska when they fired Frank Solich. You’ve made an incomprehensibly bad decision, and several rotten years are all but guaranteed. You deserve them. Rest assured, we are pointing and laughing.

 Posted by at 9:20 pm
Nov 262007

Another December, another time to sit and consider how thankful we are that none of this stuff really matters, eh? Sigh.

Alabama occasionally overachieved this year. Whatever else is clear, that is. A thriller against Arkansas and a pounding of Tennessee enabled the Crimson Nation to dream of at least the West, and maybe more. And as nuts as the SEC was this year, why not? Seemed as likely as anything else.

Alas, no.

The media has taken all of its expected shots about what is the university getting for its millions, where does Saban get off comparing a game to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, and what have you. It’s predictable, banal, and ultimately of no consequence.

It’s frustrating to be here again, licking the wounds of a .500 season with only the promise of things to come as comfort. On the other hand, it’s heartening to believe it a lot more convincingly this time. Attitude adjustment takes time, as does recruiting damage (on the lines, in particular). And I think we’ve now bled as much as we’re going to bleed. It should be healing from here on out.

At times, it looked as if Alabama might play above its problems consistently enough to have a special 2007. That it didn’t happen doesn’t mean the restoration isn’t ongoing. It’s not ahead of schedule, as it looked for a game or two like it might be, but it is on schedule. Don’t lose sight of that.

See you guys in Shreveport, Nashville, or Memphis. Maybe we’ll get another shot at Oklahoma State and Mike Gundy. He’s a man. He’s 40.

Roll Tide.

 Posted by at 7:43 am
Nov 252007

I am not freaking out this year.  I had one of those headaches at one point last year, and that’s just not going to happen this year.  Work will be fine.  My shopping will be fine.  Not knockin’ me off this cloud this time, season.

To be sure, my list of standing family Christmas responsibilities is fairly short.  I do the cards, the outside lights, and whatever pointed shopping tasks I’m directed to do.  I’ve got the making a living thing, of course.  I do as I’m told when we’re preparing for our party.  And I’m a putter-togetherer and battery supplier on Christmas Eve.  But beyond that, for the most part, my home is transformed for Christmas without me having to do much of anything, thanks to Lea.

For example, my Christmas tree detail consists only of moving it from and to the attic.  She works her magic and turns it into this:

 Posted by at 10:03 pm
Nov 232007
  • Well, with Darren McFadden slamming the door on LSU this afternoon, no SEC team is going to the big dance. The SEC certainly has bloodied the holy hell out of itself this season.
  • Speaking of, LSU better pull hard for Tennessee tomorrow. If they lose, then Georgia wins the East, and they are playing some nasty, high-power ball right now. Up against the Bulldogs in Atlanta, LSU could easily go from the crystal football inside track to not even winning the conference.
  • As poorly as he handled his departure from Alabama, and as sleazy as his newsletter was, and despite the substantial evidence that he’s just really not very good, I still feel a little bad for Dennis Franchione. Who knows? Maybe he’ll turn up at SMU or Baylor.
  • The Zooker finished 9-3 at Illinois this season, and they have an outside shot at an at-large BCS berth.  Fantastic, guys; congratulations!
  • A persuasive case can be built either way, but I kind of think Tommy Tuberville won’t be taking that A&M job.
  • With no SEC or ACC team in the national title hunt, I’ll be a Jayhawk. Kansas is the best Cinderella story this year, and I can muster some enthusiasm for them. I can muster almost as much for Missouri, if they win tomorrow night’s showdown. But then Oklahoma could take the winner out, and then what? I’d jump to West Virginia, simply because I picked them as something of a dark horse to win it all when we made our predictions at work at the start of the season.
  • OK, raise your hand if before the season started, you thought Kansas vs. Missouri would be Top 5 vs. Top 5 with national title implications.  Liar.
  • Mike Bellotti has done a fine job at Oregon for the most part, but it’s always a warning sign when a single player goes down and the performance of the team worsens so severely (as happened with Dennis Dixon against Arizona last week). I understand the concept of an explosive playmaker and the difference he can make on a football team, but Bellotti was clearly going to him like a rat hitting the bar for more heroin (apparently even knowing of his ACL injury). Urban Meyer’s gotten away with doing the same thing with Tim Tebow so far, but that’s the same sort of time bomb down there too.
  • Rebuilding hurts, and even for those of us Alabama fans with reasonable expectations, the year has been disappointing.  It’s tough to win a thriller against Arkansas and pound Tennessee mercilessly, then drop one to UL-Monroe.  But even though it would only result in a record of 7-5, a win over Auburn tomorrow would put ’07 back in the “fine, just fine” category.  Come on, guys.  Y’all get down there and grind out a W.
 Posted by at 10:13 pm
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