Nov 302017
  • There are not-so-far-fetched scenarios that will probably put Alabama in the playoff. I’m fine with whatever happens. I was castigated earlier this year for suggesting that Alabama was missing the X-factor this season, but I still don’t think it’s such a silly view.
  • You know how if you drink 2%, 1%, or skim milk long enough you become accustomed to it and you don’t miss whole milk anymore? The same thing has happened to me with natural peanut butter. Give it a shot sometime. In my experience, Smucker’s is the tastiest. To deal with the oil separation, set the jar on its side a few minutes before you want to use it. Then you can stick a knife all the way to the bottom and stir it up much more easily.
  • Life is too short for cheap playing cards. A decent plastic deck is about double the cost of a paper deck, but it will last ten times as long, and it’s so much more pleasant to use. (This is an excellent example of just a few more dollars actually increasing the quality of your life.)
  • Warren Zevon has begun popping up on one of my Pandora stations. I didn’t appreciate him while he was here. As I begin my exploration, I’m finding his music engaging, occasionally dark, and frequently hilarious. (Turns out “Werewolves of London,” the only song most of us can name, is an accurate capsule.) I think he must have been a fun guy to have dinner with.
  • Lea came home with some eggnog-flavored Little Debbie cakes this week. They got mixed reviews, but I’m OK with the concept. Eggnog kind of tiptoes into ancillary products a bit here and there, but it’s never going to be the ubiquitous menace that is pumpkin spice.
  • Two weeks to Star Wars.
  • We’re keeping the perfect temperatures through early next week, and then it will be wintertime. Enjoy these few days.
 Posted by at 10:34 am
Nov 282017

So how long has the two-Joseph nativity scene been a thing? It’s all over my Twitter, so I’m presuming it’s a relatively recent development.

(A thoroughly obnoxious relatively recent development.)

When I saw it, first I thought “hey, this post will write itself.” Then I thought “no, that would call more attention to it, which is exactly what they want.” Finally, I pivoted back to “I want to add what I have to say to its Google footprint.”

This is an excellent example of antagonism, not progress. It’s an inaccurate depiction, saying nothing productive. It’s only meaningful as a finger in the eye of those whose religious sensibilities it offends.

(Of which I am not one.) I’m definitely offended, but not on a religious basis. I’m offended simply because this is the exact opposite of promoting understanding.

I have friends all over the political spectrum. Most of the time I can understand their views, even when I don’t agree with them. And I know plenty of fine Christian people who don’t share my views on homosexuality. I’ve written to them, sometimes specifically. I think of them when I see this mocking display, and how it feeds and reinforces all of their worst beliefs about gay people. I imagine the potential for persuading them, however meager it may be. And then, I imagine it withering.

I think the people who put this up, and the people who celebrate it, are no better than the shrieking, Bible-thumping, fire-and-brimstone Christians who seemingly delight in informing gay people of their ultimate fates. And I believe they are just as unhelpful.

Freedom of expression? Oh, absolutely. I wouldn’t dream of calling for its removal. But if you think it’s a nifty thing to do, don’t you say one damned thing to me about intolerance.

 Posted by at 11:05 pm
Nov 262017

I stopped drinking on Halloween.

I’ve been considering it for some time. But in the end, neither my doctor, nor my wife, nor anyone else told me to. I just decided to.

Did I quit for the rest of my life? Well, I don’t know. I hope that’s a very long time, and a lot can happen in a very long time. But I have no plans to resume.

I did read a book, on the recommendation of a friend. I started reading This Naked Mind and was only about a third of the way through it when I quit. Annie Grace is an interesting person who has some fascinating things to say about alcohol and the links between our conscious and unconscious minds. If you’re interested in examining that relationship, whether you think you’d like to stop drinking or not, give it a read.

Why did I quit? Insufficient ROI. No more complicated than that. What have I noticed so far? I’m sleeping better. I have more money. I get more done in the evening. I feel calmer. I feel happier. And after a slight delay, which I was warned to expect, I’m beginning to lose weight.

To my friends and family: this changes exactly nothing about the ways in which I want to interact with you. If we’ve been out regularly for Mexican food and margaritas, we’re still going out. If we visit over a beer once in a while, we’re still going to do that. (And so forth. I’ll just have unleaded.) I’m not asking you to change your behavior in the slightest (and, in fact, would feel awkward if you did).

Now if you’re curious about it and want to talk, then we will. But know that this is not a contentious issue for me in the slightest, and I request no consideration of any kind. This has nothing to do with our relationships. It has to do with what I believe is a better choice for myself. That’s it!

 Posted by at 6:06 pm
Nov 222017

Well, barring a revolutionary change in the next several months, this Saturday’s Iron Bowl is my last one. I’m glad it is a game of consequence—its winner taking the SEC West and almost certainly controlling its destiny for the national title—and I’m looking forward to watching it.

I’ve attended five Iron Bowls in person in my life, though I haven’t been since I was 14. Uncle Don used to have a recurring block of fantastic tickets, and Dad and I were frequently beneficiaries. I got to go in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1985.

Of those, only 1980 was unremarkable. The 1981 game was Coach Bryant’s 315th win, passing Amos Alonzo Stagg to become the winningest college football coach in history. The 1982 game was Auburn’s first win since Punt ‘Bama Punt. The 1983 game, played in an absolute deluge and another Auburn win, was the day we came home to the aftermath of the Oxford tornado. And 1985 was The Kick, which my stepbrother Chris and I watched from the opposite end zone, having left our seats when Mike Shula was sacked.

What a great memory. I remember the moment for two things, primarily. First, I’ve never heard 70,000 people be that quiet. It was weird. Second, I remember thinking the scoreboard operator must have been an Alabama fan, because the digits ticked off 23-24-25 way before the ball went the 52 yards to the goalposts. It was indeed a phenomenal kick that might have gone 60. Looked like an extra point, really.

(And oh, had Tiffin missed, he’d have gotten another try from five yards closer. Auburn was offside.)

Drama this year? Sure, I’ll take it—as long as it ends correctly. I’m sure I’ll have to watch Kick Six four or five times during the day, but hey, you know what? Auburn hasn’t won since that game. (I’m happy for it to join Punt ‘Bama Punt in Auburn lore in that regard, because Alabama won the next nine after that game.)

Enjoy the game. I’m planning to. Whatever the outcome, please be kind to one another. I know it’s hard to remember this, but we’re talking about kids playing a game. Nothing that happens on that field Saturday is of any legitimately significant importance.

For my prediction, I’ll say Alabama 31, Auburn 27.

 Posted by at 11:41 am
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