Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some Reading for the Politically Inclined

Rally for Romney
Who Hijacked the Primaries?
Rudy Could Pave McCain's Road to the Whitehouse
Arise, Ye Favorite Sons

If you only read one article, read the last one.

Funny Video

Go check out the blog of all around good guy Neil Tullos. Watch the video in his "Future Jr. High Game" post. I had a good old fashion belly laugh when I saw it. Seriously...do it...it's good for your health.

I Came Across an Old Picture


video

There's a reason I avoid taking pictures. They have a tendency to rear their ugly heads and come back to haunt you. See Exhibit A above. You'll note that I'm on the back row, on the left end, and Jamie is on the back row, right end. Oh my!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Becoming The Millionaire Next Door While at Brookshire's


Last year, I had the opportunity to read The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. Although a rather dry read (but far from intolerable), the content of the text conveys facts that most of us wouldn't suspect: the characteristics of millionaires aren't what we suppose them to be. Here's the first chapter of the book. Do take the time to read it! It's particularly timely as the drive-by media is sounding "the world is coming to and end, the market is about to crash, banks are screwing people" death knoll. So...

Jamie and I went to this grocery store the other day because they were running a special: 10 2 liter cokes for $10. Yes! So we be bopped up in the store and grabbed a buggy. But when we arrived at the display, we discovered the caveat: limit 10 bottles per customer. Arghhhh! So what's a frugal guy to do? Glad you asked.

Jamie and I split. We divorced (for the purposes of acquiring the cokes, that is). Jamie loaded up her 10 diet cokes in the already present buggy, and I went and retrieved another buggy and loaded up 10 cokes myself. And we just dared anybody to tell us we were "one customer together." We were prepared to voraciously deny it - and would do so to the death.

We checked out, separately, basking in our cleverness as we chuckled to ourselves. As I unloaded my cokes in the check out line, the young male cashier looked at me and said, "Sir, you and your wife didn't have to check out seperately. We would have let you buy 20 cokes." My response, "I hate to inform you of your hilarious blunder, but the young lady to which you refer is not my wife." The remainder of the transaction was finished in silence and without eye contact.

Now technically, I'm right - Jamie isn't my wife. But our guise didn't' really work. I told the story to Jamie after we left the grocery store parking lot. I told her how poor my soul and pocket book felt as I had to deceive some young pip squeak at Brookshire's just to save a buck. And Jamie replied to me, "Don't feel poor, honey. We think how rich people think." Ahhhhhhhh.

A tip of the fedora to Jamie. I don't think she's read The Millionaire Next Door, but she has picked up it's theme.

Angst Doth Abound

Again, I'll remind you why I started this blog: people need to know what I think about things. And I know that angst will abound until I write something about the current political landscape. Be patient. I will do so. But not today.

This article explores the demise of Fred. Read it and, yes, weep.

Ever Wonder...

Ever wonder where the human race will be in ten years? Here is an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal that explores what technologies and conveniences will be commonplace in the next decade.

I was channel surfing the other day and stopped to watch an old cartoon on the Cartoon Network. As a part of the plot, the story was set in the year 2075. It was humorous...the technologies and "futuristic devices" that the writers demonstrated in the story line are already common place today. The times, they are a changin'.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Nerve of Some People

This is scary!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lego!


Today, Google informed me that the Lego brick is fifty years old (the patented product, that is). Oh, the memories!

I spent many an hour as a young child playing with those simple blocks. What's so fascinating about interlocking plastic devices? I don't know, but I do say they are magical. I mean, you can find just about anything these days made out of Legos. One of my favorite Lego items is the little humans (they're called minifigures). I remember the time, as a younger lad, I engineered, built, and maintained a small Lego community. And Jonathan smashed it while I was asleep. If you see Jonathan around, ask him how he got the scar above his lip...

In exploring the world wide web about Lego, I came across this: Lego Serious Play. This outfit claims to unleash the untapped potential of your organization through Lego product. Do you have a deadbeat employee? You fool...don't discipline them...give them legos. Do you have repressed, deep seated emotional issues? Forget paying $100+/hour to a counselor...simply tap into the therapy that is the Lego brick. Lack confidence when meeting new people? Carry a Lego brick in your pocket and harness its fortifying power! Now that's what I call giving your brain (and soul) a hand!

And let's not forget, fine folks of Lego, the opportunities you have created for adults to shirk real life responsibilities: Exhibit A, Exhibit B, and Exhibit C. Yes!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Satisfied

As Jamie and I have explored and sifted though music to be in our wedding, I've come across several delightful hymns (you may know that I'm a hymnophile (lover of hymns)). Many hymns express the truths of the Christian faith so eloquently. Songs will fall by the wayside and each new generation must find ways to express its worship, but there a few beloved songs, that regardless of syntax, rhythm, or instrumentation, are simply timeless.

Below are the lyrics to "Satisfied" by Clara Williams. What poetry! How refreshing!

All my life I had a longing
For a drink from some clear spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.

Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,

Longed my soul for something better,

Only still to hunger on.


Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,

Through His blood I now am saved.

Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,

But the dust I gathered round me

Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!

Jesus satisfies my longings,

Through His blood I now am saved.

Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life so rich and free,

Untold wealth that never faileth,

My Redeemer is to me.


Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,

Through His blood I now am saved.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

BMW

I had occasion to be at the local BMW dealership last week. When I parked my vehicle, I came across this sign. And I snapped a picture of it on my cell phone.

Tonight, Jamie saw the picture on my cell phone and noted it was amusing. I told her I thought so too...and that I planned on getting one like it she could wear around her neck.

After muttering something about me being a perfect idiot and something about how, after she slapped my head off, she could get a lot of money for my brain since it would be basically brand new because I never used it, she then told me, "You know, most people live and learn. You just live."

She really wasn't that mean until we got together. I guess I have nobody to blame but myself.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Grandpappy's Cough Syrup

I was reading in Acts (the book of the Bible, that is) as I was doing some research about a topic in which I need to become well read (that topic must remain a mystery to you at this time). In my readings, I came across this passage of scripture. Before you go any farther (or is it further...I just looked it up...it's further), go read this passage of scripture...it's Acts 2:1-15...you can't ever read too much Bible. Seriously now, don't proceed ahead without reading it. I'll wait on you.

To many of you, the account of Pentecost is a familiar passage of scripture. But let me focus your attention to this verse. Something struck me as I read that verse and my observation caused me to laugh aloud - not because of what Peter said, but because of what he didn't say. Let's review.

Peter didn't say, "Don't accuse me of being drunk. We're followers of the Way. We don't drink." He didn't say, "Sorry, guys, we don't drink because we're Christians." Peter didn't say, "Drinking alcohol is a sin, and we don't do that." Nope. He said, "Hey guys, give us some credit. It's a little to early to be drunk...only 9 0'clock in the morning and all." Ha! Ha ha! Ha ha ha!

I have a feeling that Christ's disciples were a rather rough bunch of dudes, and this probably wasn't the first time they were accused of being drunk in public (I can't prove that, but I think you would agree with me that it's likely)!

Now don't stop me somewhere and try to debate me about if drinking alcohol is a sin...just not gonna' do it...wouldn't be prudent at this juncture. I've heard all the arguments about this...the wine Jesus made at the wedding in Cana was grape juice (like the stuff Southern Baptist use during the Lord's Supper)...drinking is only a sin if the drink is 9% + alcohol by volume...drinking is only a sin if you drink in front of immature Christians. Seriously, I've heard people bastardize scripture on this subject in every way possible. For now, I'll leave that discussion to the biblical scholars. But I will leave you with several Bible verses I've found about adult beverages. By no means is this an all inclusive list nor should it be considered a list of proof texts.

Proverbs 20:1
Proverbs 23:32
I Timothy 5:23
John 2:1-11

Now I'm not trying to start any revolutions...just thought Peter's response was humorous and worth noting. Cheers!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Congrats to Daniel and Sara

Last Saturday evening, Jamie and I and a couple of other friends traveled down to the economic and social metropolis that is Petal, MS. The occasion? The surprise engagement of Mr. Daniel Goodwin to Ms. Sara Dixon.

Daniel earned the distinction of being my roommate during my last year at MC. He also earned some other distinctions, but we can't talk about those until the statute of limitations expires.

So let me let you in on the plan. Daniel's proposal was a secret one. Sara was under the auspices that she was simply attending a party, and was none the wiser. You see, Sara thought Daniel simply desired to throw a lovely party, a meet and greet if you will, for friends and family (you know what a socialite Danny boy is...).

After meeting and greeting and eating and a dance, yes a dance, Daniel popped the question and Sara accepted. All was well with the world.

After the betrothal request and acceptance, friends and family were called upon to speak highly of Daniel and Sara (much harder to do so for Daniel than Sara). For some reason, a reason which everybody now regrets, several folks immediately looked to me to speak. I was a bit stunned and taken aback. I hadn't really prepared anything to say. And those of you who know me know that public speaking isn't my forte. I initially protested, but the expectations for me to share my thoughts on Daniel were too high. The need had arisen for Daniel's praises to be sung, and well, I needed to sing that solo.

I've actually read some books on public speaking, and I was doing my best to recall some of the tips I'd learned. But I was drawing a blank on the proper manner to begin a speech. So I just let 'er rip. The opening line of my speech: "I am without a doubt the coolest guy that Daniel Goodwin knows. Wait, that didn't come out right..."

During the laughter and cackling that followed, I realized I had just really blown it. I mean, I could have said something earth shattering...I could have spoken words that turned the world on its ear...I could have delivered insight...spoken the wisdom of the ages. The only thing my speech needed was a great opener, and it was smooth sailing from there. I had a captive audience, but I blew it. I transpose a couple of key words and everybody writes me off. No more talking for me ever!

Nonetheless, a tip of the fedora to Daniel and Sara! I'm excited. You know, Daniel, it was snowing...you could have done this.

Some More Politics

I mean, I can't even leave my home without people pelting me with a single question (I'm serious, people write questions on pieces of paper and throw them at me). That question: Now that Fred's out, who do you support?

I'm leaning towards Mitt.

This article gives an accurate lay of the land. And this article eloquently chronicles one more reason why I don't like McCain. Take time to read!

And for those of you who are voting on the basis of the religion (but Romney is a Mormon!), sorry, the Christian guy blew his chance. He's NOT a conservative. We're not electing a national pastor, we're electing the POTUS.

Pictures from the Weekend

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Above are some pictures from January 20, 2008, in Clinton, MS. As I was out and about, I stopped by a couple of places our fair city, including the campus of Mississippi College, to document the snow.

update: it actually snowed on January 19, 2008. A tip of the fedora to dG for catching my error. She wins the $500 prize for catching my first mistake of the new year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

See Ya Around, Fred


Well, Fred, it has been a good run. Hope to see you around.

Who do I support now? Don't know yet. But a resounding "hell no" for Huck and McCain.

Fred's Conscience
Top Notch Thompson

Mac vs. PC


It's a battle that's almost as fierce as SEC football rivalries in the South: Mac vs PC.

By no stretch of the imagination am I qualified to speak with authority on this topic. But I bring it up because this weekend was my first experience with a Mac (to be more specific, a MacBookPro). Lend me your ear, friend, because I must tell you: it was a handy machine.

Conquering the Mac interface wasn't bad at all. And when I was able to cleanse my mind from the PC brainwashing to which I've been subjected, I must say, my weekend Mac adventure was a cleaner and more intuitive computing experience. My Mac multimedia dealings were particularly efficient and pleasant. I had several "I'm about smash this piece of crap" moments, but I realized that I needed to stop trying to force the MacBook to behave as a Windows machine. After all, I wouldn't beat a dog for not purring like a cat. Silly me!

And let's not forget the Mac commercials...they're just too clever.

But what's the biggest incentive to switch to a Mac? Well, I'm gonna' let you in on a little secret. Mac users have an unorganized club/cult. You may not know this, but local Mac users get together about once a month and make fun of PC users (seriously, this happens). These clandestine meetings often consist of mocking Bill Gates, acting out Mac commercials, and creating PC computer viruses. And I've been told that if a local Mac chapter works really hard, they can get Steve Jobs to show up at one of their meetings and make cutting comments about Windows operating systems.

So let me end this post by making a definitive commitment. What's the cordon bleu of computers? Still don't know...

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Dreamed

You may have seen this on Drudge. America's first black President has a "dream." See video here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Down in the Mouth

I woke up this morning feeling a touch depressed, and couldn't figure out why. Thankfully, the media has enlightened me as to the reason. Silly me...I thought it had to do with Fred.

Thought You Had a Bad Weekend?

You think you had a bad weekend? Check out this guy! Remember, even when robbing a convenience store, never forgo the rules of handgun safety.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Housekeeping Note


I'll be taking the weekend off...but not from the blogosphere. I'll be the guest blogger for my church's Disciple Now weekend. You can find my color commentary here (go to Blog). Also, there are some other exciting things that are happening this weekend, but I can't comment on such alleged events until next week. See you around!

American Idol

From the American Idol that aired Wednesday night, this gentlemen has received the most attention. But did you see the teenage boy from Mississippi that got to go Hollywood? Man, he was country! And the good producers at American Idol spared no expense in the "expose" they did on his family before they showed his audition (if I can find it, I'll post a link). They worked hard to confirm every Mississippi stereotype: redneck, gun totin', farmer, horse ridin', mason jar drinkin', country music lovin', dirt road drivin', out house usin', gun rack in the back of the truck, and slow speakin'.

I've always had a soft spot for American Idol because of the invaluable public service the show provides. There's no better forum to help people who are detached from reality and think they can sing to understand that they don't have what it takes to make it in the American music industry. On that front, a tip of the fedora to Simon, Paula, and Randy.

Go Fred!

Go Fred!

The Anti Soundbite Candidate
David Limbaugh Endorses Fred

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gotta Love the Veep


These days, sans academic endeavors, I have a little more time to read for pleasure. Via a Barnes and Noble gift card I received for Christmas, I picked up Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President by Stephen F. Hayes. Mr. Hayes is an author and senior writer for The Weekly Standard.


Vice President Richard Cheney is a man that interests me. He is/has been a central figure of three executive administrations and shaped U.S. foreign and domestic policy for forty years. Although he is one of the most powerful men in the world, Mr. Cheney (almost Dr. Cheney - he chose to stop his PhD work to fully pursue politics) doesn't have the type A personality of many of the folks in the upper echelons of U.S. government. In fact, he really prefers anonymity. Although I'm only midway through this 524 page biography, I have a keen sense that Mr. Cheney isn't the Darth Vader figure he is portrayed as in the drive-by media, but rather a meat and potatoes, vanilla ice cream, and beer only type dude. Simply put, he's a decisive man that believes what he says he believes.

If you want to understand Mr. Cheney's 40 years of service and influence in U.S. government, you won't be dissapointed by this book. Here are serveral noteworthy excerpts:
  • The Vice President and I share the same philosophy on government. When he became Chief of Staff for President Ford, Mr. Cheney told a reporter, "Basically, I am skeptical about the ability of government to solve problems, and I have a healthy respect for the ability of people to solve problems on their own."
  • One of my favorite quotes so far about the Vice President: "Whenever his private ideology was exposed, he appeared somewhat to the right of [Gerald] Ford, [Don] Rumsfeld or, for that matter, Genghis Khan."
  • And I'll leave you with the advice that Mr. Cheney, who flunked out of Yale, gave his high school alma matter's Class of 2006: "Stay focused on the job you have, not the next job you might want. In your careers, people will give you more responsibility when they see that you take your present job seriously. Do the work in front of you. Try to find ways to make yourself indispensable. And I can almost guarantee that recognition, advancement, and other good things will follow. I think there's also a lot of truth to the old wisdom that you should choose your friends carefully. They have a big influence on the kind of person you become. So when you see good qualities in people - things you admire, habits you'd like to pick up, principles you respect - keep those people close at hand in your life. In many ways, when you choose your friends you choose your future."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Marriage Counseling

Like many engaged couples, Jamie and I chose/had to participate in marriage counseling. Earlier this week, we finished the last of our three sessions with this man. I need to share with you, faithful Ford Retort reader, an announcement born out of our counseling exercises.

Upon the recommendation of Ken, Jamie and I are willfully declaring ourselves unfit for marriage. The wedding is off. Ok, that's not true. Ken just declared Jamie unfit for marriage. Yeah, that's not exactly true either. So I guess you'll be happy to know...we passed with flying colors (when I asked Ken if we passed, he said we'll know in 40 years)!

Pre marital counseling can be a scarry thing. But I can say that for Jamie and me, it was a genuinely pleasant experience. Jamie learned a lot, but to be honest, there just wasn't a whole lot I didn't know. Now look - go ahead and pick your jaw up off the ground. I said it, but since we're being honest here, I'll just tell that I've dated Jamie for almost 7 years and you can be assured that I've picked up on a couple of things! Nonetheless, I did learn and freely admit to what I learned. But still, Jamie learned a lot more than me (I don't think Jamie knows about this blog yet, so nobody tell her...).

And I must give props to Ken. He has a wealth of knowledge about marriage (and many other things, too)! Did I mention that Jamie learned a lot? See y'all at the wedding.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anybody Remember This?

Anybody remember this? Hard to believe it was 10 years ago. And how humorous to find the anniversary of this blessed event in the middle of Madame Hillary's campaign for the presidency.

Fred '08

If you're a faithful Ford Retort reader, you know I've thrown my weight behind Fred Thompson to be the next POTUS (President of the United States, not to be confused with SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States)). If you're not a faithful Ford Retort reader, I heap great shame on you!

Here's an enlightening article. You really should read it. But I will quote one portion - you should take some time to chew on this:

From the first hint that he might run, Fred Thompson has been hounded by the notion that he is lazy, that he does not have fire in the belly, that he does not really want it. This criticism is put forth by the court jesters who know their brand of foolishness could not get an audience in a Thompson presidency. By dismissing Thompson as a lightweight, they create a negative impression for voters who do not really pay attention.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Shopping

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Well, I must say this post is a noted occasion! It's the first one that contains an image (a video actually).

What do I do when Jamie shops? Glad you asked.

I really don't mind shopping, per se. It's just this: when I go into a store, I can determine if I need to buy any of the products that store offers in approximately 2 minutes. And Jamie, well, it takes a bit longer. So I must find ways to entertain myself when we shop together because I, under no circumstances (including war, famine, spontaneous human combustion, and acts of God), am allowed to hurry Jamie along.

The defense now requests that it be allowed to present Exhibit One, the aforementioned image.

I recently entertained the notion of wearing hats. Hats have never adorned my head because I look goofy when wearing one (I have too much hair). But while Jamie and I were shopping in Belk one evening last week, I decided to try on a couple of different noggin tops, unbenounced to Jamie. When I rounded the men's section and came into the home area where Jamie was ... I mean ... I was expecting an animated reaction ... but by the look on her face, you would have thought I was: 1)naked 2)wearing a shirt that displayed a racial epithet 3)eating fecal matter 4)juggling live grenades 5)wearing a winter hat in public. Oops.

Yeah, I looked pretty ridiculous. But when I showed Jamie the picture on my cell phone of me in the hat (see above) and told her that a gracious elderly gentleman took it for me...well...she was a touch mortified. A tip of the fedora to the gracious elderly gentleman that took the picture with my cell phone!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ever Had One of Those Days?

Today may turn out be one of those days! This morning, one of the hard drives on my work server died. And UPS finally delivered some supplies I needed...but it was the wrong product. No good! Scream! Meltdown! I was reminded of what Christ said on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. Each day does indeed have enough trouble of its own!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Birthday Cornucopia

Yesterday morning, Jamie and I met with our financial planner, Cletus (names have been changed to protect the innocent). Our purpose was to arrange several investments.

Cletus and I had met several times prior to yesterday to devise a plan and analyze the equilibrium of normal supply and demand (in relation to the Chilean economy, that is), so yesterday's meeting was the first time Jamie met Cletus. For Jamie's benefit, Cletus was giving us an overview of everything we were about to do. As he was talking, I noticed Jamie was more interested in the LSU paraphernalia hanging on his wall than the words that were coming out of his mouth. Cletus had to leave the office for a moment to grab some paperwork, and when he did, I inquired of Jamie, "So what do you think about Cletus?" Jamie's reply to me? "Oh, I like him. He's cute." arrrrrrhhggggghhh uhhhh hum hummm hum snaukernuissen agrhh um hum (sorry, that was me clearing my throat to mask what I was typing). Jamie is without a doubt the love of my life. She keeps me on track and helps me maintain my focus. But, it looks like I'll be managing our finances....alone. Other points of note:
  • Tomorrow is my birthday. Unless something comes up that you need to know about, I'll be taking the weekend off from the blogosphere. But never fear! Your daily dose of reason will return next Monday.
  • Here is a link to "famous" people that share my birthday. Several of note: Rush Limbaugh, Rob Zombie, Tom Dempsey (NFL record holder, longest field goal of 63 yards), Jean Baptiste van Helmont (Belgian chemist), and Marion Jones.
  • I ate lunch today with all around good guy Neil Tullos. You may be seeing more of him on this site soon, yes, very soon.
  • In my opinion, last evening's Fox News Republican debate had no decisive winner. If I had to pick a winner, I would choose my main man Fred Thompson. Anybody notice the bias Fox News has against Ron Paul and Fred? I will remind you again...this race is a long way from over. And for your pleasure:
Human Events Endorses Fred
The Real McCain Record

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Props to Lacy

Yesterday evening, Jamie and I ate with newlyweds (as of December 15) Lacy and Gavin Nowell. We ate at Mugshots (in the Quarter off Lakeland Drive), and it was pretty good eatin'. Lacy gets a shout-out because she is a faithful Ford Retort reader. Go and do likewise. Should I have a "Faithful Ford Retort Reader" of the week? Probably not - that's a bit too dorky even for me. A tip of the fedora to Lacy!

Bad Weather

Here in Clinton, we've had some inclement weather this afternoon. I heard the "weather bell" ring at the elementary school across the street from my office. Watching the little kids scurry inside, I presume to the middle of the building, reminded me of how I was raised to feel about bad weather.

As a child, I had friends and acquaintances who would tell me stories of how they would spend hours in a bathroom in the center of their house every time dark clouds appeared. Well, I wasn't raised to respect bad weather. I just wasn't (and I'm not saying that's a good thing). Mom and Dad never freaked out, even in the worst of storms. Even seeing demolished houses on the news when a tornado wreaked havoc on a community does nothing to scare me. (sorry...I know it's bad...I just couldn't resist). In fact, Jonathan and I always saw bad weather as an entertainment opportunity.

I've always had a bad feeling that the good Lord may instill this respect in me the hard way. Ever had that feeling?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Only Sissy Boys Have Girlfriends

Yesterday evening, I saw my 3 cousins (the children of my first cousin) Caleb (age 5), Collin (age 2), and Claire (age 6 months). The occasion was my grandmother's birthday party. Jamie and I routinely babysit these kiddos...and love every minute of it! Caleb's athletic ability is shining through at an early age, and Collin's penchant for drama and desire for attention lead me to believe he will be a very accomplished Shakespearean actor. Claire doesn't do much right now, but she's as cute as a button (and loves it when I hold her!). Interacting with the boys and Claire over the last 5 years has been nothing short of a learning experience for me. I think that when I have kids of my own, I may be a touch more prepared (at least with handling them and interacting with them). Jamie on the other hand is a pro!

The last several times I've seen Caleb, he's been a bit more inquisitive about pressing life issues. He'll ask me various questions (a little more serious than, "Can we play outside?) Lately, Caleb has been very curious about the nature of my relationship with Jamie. Last night, he asked me, "Michael, are you Jamie's daddy," and I told him I wasn't. Later he asked me, "Michael, is Jamie your mommy," and I told him she wasn't. But then it hit him. I could see it on his face. Caleb, with a wry smile, asked, "Michael, is Jamie your girlfriend," and I told him that she was. And with that answer, I blew Caleb's mind! He was shocked. He thought he was asking me a silly question, but when I gave him a serious and affirmative answer, it was as if time had stopped! From the look on his face, I thought he was going to give me a talking to and tell me that only sissy boys have girlfriends. And if he did, I might have been inclined to agree. Other points of note:
  • I fell asleep at about 9 pm last night, so I was wide awake at 3 am this morning. Since I hadn't seen the final vote tally for the New Hampshire primary, I took a look at CNN. Oh my! The giddiness of the "objective" news anchors as they talked about Hillary's victory was sickening!
  • Jamie and I met this morning with our organist for the wedding. As she played "Trumpet Vonluntary" (the song to which Jamie will process in) and I stood at the front of Provine Chapel, I was reminded that I'm really getting married on March 15, and the time doth draw nigh!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Surely you knew it was coming. Yep, it's now time to talk American politics. Wooohooooooo!

With Iowa caucus voters selecting Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as the Republican nominee for President and Senator Barack Obama as the Democrat nominee for President, I was reminded that this race is a long way from over. And regardless of the outcome of today's New Hampshire primary, it's still a long way from over for both parties. Since everybody wants to know what I think about things (again, the primary reason I started this site), I'll feel obligated to give you, the faithful Ford Retort reader, the way I see things.

Here's my primary problem with Mike Huckabee, and the reason he doesn't have my support. The former governor views government as an appropriate vehicle to advance Christianity. Friends and enemies, this is dangerous and will lead to bad social, economic and foreign policy. Remember, if we give our government leaders the power to enact, say, a nationwide ban on smoking (as a matter of preference, that ban wouldn't much bother me), we are giving them the power to intrude more and more into the private sector and our private lives. While it's refreshing to have a politician who is proud to be a Christian, that's not the end all be all. In my opinion (and it's a good one), Huckabee is more liberal than Rudy Giuliani.

As a conservative, I've thrown my weight behind Fred Thompson. Does he have a snowball's chance of winning? I believe he does. Of the Republican candidates, Fred has the most reliable record of leading our country as a conservative. What have his problems been? Before he got in the race, the hype was too great to live up to. Pundits were expecting him to act and speak like Arthur Branch, the character he played on Law and Order. The only problem with that is that he isn't Arthur Branch; he's Fred Thompson. Also, Fred doesn't speak in sound bites, a major problem in campaigning, but not with being President of the United States. If you listen to a 10+ minute interview with Fred, I am confident that you will find him to be a thoughtful conservative.

I'm not going to take the time to analyze every candidate. Bottom line: examine the candidates for yourself! It's your job to do so. The number one rule every voter needs to remember about analyzing candidates is that all candidates are on their best behavior during the campaign. Most will say what they think will get them elected. So examine how they govern or have governed in the past.

Some observations:
  • Is John Edwards secretly vying to be Barack Obama's VP?
  • Fred Thompson is often touted as a Republican VP contender.
  • Ron Paul makes me laugh!
I'll leave you with some links to good information. I may add some more later.

Time to Step Up, Fred
Hey GOP: Cheer Up, Chin Up!
Democrats Fear Fred Thompson...and should
Hillary's Winter of Discontent

Monday, January 7, 2008

The New Amercian Gladiators

Sunday night, I watched the new American Gladiators on NBC. It made me nostalgic for my younger days, when I watched the original American Gladiators (I always watched it on ESPN, if I'm not mistaken.) I mean, who can deny the good, clean fun that is the Joust, Human Cannonball, Powerball, Breakthrough and Conquer, and of course, the Eliminator. Jonathan and I would always watch Gladiator together (Jonathan is my younger (only) brother...21...junior at Mississippi State...not single), but unlike other combat-based shows, it never incited us to fight (when we were younger, my Dad banned us from watching wrestling because we would always end up trying to tear off each other's head).

One of the contestants on American Gladiator described herself as a life coach. I was familiar with the term, but I did a little research on the concept. My research revealed that you can be paid for this job. Hhhhmmmmmm. Remember, it's not nice to make fun of other people's jobs. Other points of note:
  • I saw this commercial while watching American Gladiators. While I laughed, I must say...it pushes the boundaries a bit. That said, I'm really glad I didn't have to explain what it meant to my 10 year old son (or worse, upon hearing my 10 year old son laugh and inquire what provoked his laughter, he explains the commercial to me).
  • My friend Landon is the potentate of crazy dreams. I mean, his dreams are deranged! But last night, I had a nightmare. Yep, a real true blue nightmare. I remember I woke up shaking (and possibly screaming...not sure if that was in the nightmare or for real). But for the life of me, I just can't remember what the nightmare was about. I do remember that part of my dream before the nightmare consisted of me singing "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" at a funeral (I really nailed it!). Other than that - no memories of my dream/nightmare life from last night. I guess my brain decided to block the traumatic experience from my memory, but it sure would be nice to know what scared me so bad.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Glittery Facial Hair: A Tame Rant

You know what grinds my gears? Conan and Letterman grow beards, and some people find it noteworthy. Maybe it is worth talking about, but a couple of months ago, I added a beard to my existing facial hair (a goatee with mustache). No accolades for me. And I'm at least as funny as Letterman. Bet you didn't know I was a trend-setter, did you? Inane Hollywood antics will not dictate how I live my life! Anybody know when The Office is set to come back on?

Christmas decorations caused strife for me this Christmas season. Specifically, taking them down. Jamie and I took down the decorations at her apartment before the new year. That process incited some friction between us. Seriously, there was crying and gnashing of teeth of biblical proportions. Like I tell people, Jamie and I don't argue...we just have intense moments of fellowship. And what person thought it was a good idea to invent glitter? Or at least cover Christmas decorations (aka Christmas trickentry) in glitter. I'm still finding those twinkling squares on my clothes! Grrrrrrrr! Other points of note:
  • I ate at the Subway in Clinton for lunch yesterday, and I used their online ordering option. It worked. I would encourage you to use it as well...that place is awfully crowded at lunch.
  • I got a haircut today. A touch too much off the bangs. I may write about my hair later.
  • And to bring this post full circle...did you know this group existed?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Jamie is Single? A Facebook Scandal

When Facebook came to MC (in case you didn't know, we're a Christian University), I never felt compelled to establish an account for myself. Mainly because I have a disposition to be compulsive, and would most likely spend inordinate amounts of time writing on peoples' walls. Of course, Facebook is the information exchange currency of young people, so I do live vicariously through Jamie's Facebook account. If I need to know something about someone, I simply log on to Jamie's account and ascertain the information. It's the best of both worlds if you ask me. I'm privy to Facebook drama, but I don't have to maintain an account and write on friends' walls and wish them happy birthday and post pictures and keep up with mini-feeds and the like.

On December 28, 2007, I changed Jamie's Facebook relationship status from "Engaged" to "Single." Yes, I did know the consequences of my action. I knew all of her "friends" would see it. So why did I do it?

I was kinda' bored at work is the primary reason...well really the secondary reason. Truly the reason I changed Jamie's Facebook relationship status from engaged to single is because...drum roll, please...I needed a stunt to promote my new blog. Yep, that's it.

I agree. It was a cheap and tawdry scheme. An ignominious machination worthy of social isolation. I feel like I'm no better than Britney Spears. I admit it: I violated the social contract that is Facebook for personal gain. But before I could even pop the cork off my champaign, light up a Cuban, and chuckle to myself about my diabolical scheme, Jamie calls me. "Hello," I nervously answer. And, well, she knew it was me. Within an hour, Jamie was inundated with text message inquiries. You Facebookers are an intense crew! And Jamie made me change it back (but I procrastinated as long as I could...).

Was it a good plan? I don't know. I'll let you decide. I do know that I didn't capitalize quickly enough to harness the energy and convert it to publicity. Only time will tell. It's funny though. Almost a week later, a young lady Jamie hadn't seen since high school came up to her while we were eating at Newk's and asked her about it.

Oh, Facebook. The land of 1,000 acquaintances.

It's a Great Day at Raising Cane's

Between running several errands yesterday evening, Jamie and I ate at Raising Cane's. I sure wish I enjoyed my job as much as the employees of that establishment apparently enjoy their job.

When Jamie and I egressed through the front doors, three employees emphatically proclaimed, "Welcome to Raising Cane's." No qualms with that - I like to feel welcome. We then ordered and received our food. No qualms with that either. But then the antics became a touch comical.

Apparently, the atmosphere of the dining room wasn't electrifying enough for the Raising Cane's staff. To compensate for the palpable dearth of enthusiastic energy, the young lady behind the counter (let's call her Harriet) began to converse with various customers...over the in-house PA system...while remaining behind the counter. When Harriet asked Jamie and me how our food was (let me again remind you she did so using the in-house PA system), I worked very hard to suppress a smile and gave an affirmative nod.

At that point, the kitchen staff felt inclined to get in on the action. One of them (let's call him Bartholomew) took his turn with the mic. Bartholomew entertained the guests in the dining room by laying down a beat to the disco music that was already playing. I was anticipating an invitation to karaoke, but none came (I was a bit disappointed because I do a pretty mean version of this song). This tomfoolery (I've been anxiously awaiting a reason to use that word) continued for the remainder of our meal, to the chagrin of several other customers.

Truthfully, I was enjoying the charade until a distinguished elderly gentlemen entered the restaurant. A young lady cleaning tables (let's call her Carlotta) greeted the gentlemen with a boisterous, "Welcome to Raising Cane's." The problem was that Carlotta stood only two feet away from the gentleman when she spoke. It really took him by surprise and startled him, and I think it may have ruined his meal. I'm very sensitive, so it made me sad. I was inclined to walk over to him and say, "It's alright, sir. We all are a bit shaken right now," but that probably would have only added to the disaray and trauma.

Hey, if the folks at the Varsity can accost you (what'll you have, what'll you have), I guess the folks at Raising Cane's get my stamp of approval to do so as well. A tip of the fedora to the staff at Raising Cane's on County Line Road for creating a blog-worthy experience!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Ford Retort - A Primer

retort [ri-tawrt] (verb)
1. to reply to, usually in a sharp or retaliatory way
2. to return (an accusation, epithet) upon the person uttering it
3. to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary (noun)
4. a severe, incisive, or witty reply
5. the act of retorting

So what drove me to start this journal, this blog, this running dialog with the world, if you will? Well, I have a strong and pressing conviction that people need to know what I think about things. And yes, the name is inspired by the Drudge Report.

Here are some of the ground rules, but like vacillating college professors say in their syllabi, "The course instructor reserves the right to modify the schedule/change his mind/spice things up a bit to fit the needs of the class."

  • The site url is www.fordretort.com.
  • I'll do my best to post at least three times a week.
  • The content of my posts is simply what interests me at the time.
  • I can be a bit colorful, particularly when I haven't had much sleep, but I'll try to keep the content at least PG-13.
  • I liberally use parentheticals (and I make no apologies for it).
  • Many days, I'm just a little bit too verbose (working on it...)
  • And I start many of my sentences with conjunctions (gramarians disagree about the gramatical propriety of this practice).
  • Bookmark this page. Subscribe to the blog. Put a post it note on your mirror.
  • When you read my thoughts and bloviations, make sure you have a tissue nearby. Not to wipe away tears of laughter or joy, but to wipe away the sarcasm that may bead up on your computer screen.
  • Check back regularly.
  • I'll be honest: allowing user comments makes me nervous!
Now don't forget about me in two months!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ringin' In the New Year

To celebrate the advent of 2008, Jamie and I went with some friends to a bash at the Peabody in Memphis. For those of you who know me well, and those who don't me that well, you probably can figure out that dancing, carrying on, and such aren't my idea of a good time. Nonetheless when Jamie told me I needed to bring my dancing shoes, and plan on using them, I consented. She also suggested to me that one of my New Year's resolutions should be to "stop being a dork." And to that, I don't consent.

You see, it's not that I'm anti-dacing. I really do love dancing. I mean, if King David can wear a linen ephod and dance before God (see 2 Samuel 6:14 ), I figure I can bust a move at a New Year's Eve party. The problem is that I have no rhythm (my friend Julie Smith gave me some advice about how to dance, but if you want to know what that advice was, you'll need to pull me aside and ask me in private). So we danced. And everytime I felt myself becoming self conscious about my moves, I would simply look around and find somebody whose moves weren't nearly as impressive as mine (not hard to do when you're surrounded by approximately 4,000 people). But one time, I looked up and noticed this young, dancing lass sneaking a peak at me out of the corner of her eye. She had a rather inquisitive look on her face, as if she was thinking, "Does that boy need medical assistance? Surely those convulsions aren't dancing!" So I dialed it down a notch - didn't want to end up on YouTube like these poor folks!

Overall, the trip in its entirety was more fun than any human being should be allowed to have! Some high notes of our bonanaza, in no particular order:
  • Ringin' in 2008 in Memphis
  • Ringin' in 2008 at the Peabody
  • Seeing Sylvester Croom (he drives a pretty tight SUV)
  • Ringin' in 2008 with Jamie
  • Champaign "toast" at midnight (the champaign was terrible...a glass of warm saliva would have been more refreshing)
  • Getting to bed by 2 am (I get grouchy when I'm removed from my creature comforts)
  • Ringin' in 2008 with approximately 4,000 inebriated individuals. They were a lot of fun!
Two other things: One of my assignments before the trip was to learn the Souljah Boy dance. With the help of this instructional video, I did. But by the time the DJ played the song, I had thrown in the towel for the night. Sorry, Amanda.

Cowboy Mouth was one of the musical acts of the evening. The group's lead singer continually interrupted his own singing to give fervored speeches in an attempt to work the crowd into an orgasmic frenzy. It started to irritate me (after all, I was trying to dance), but he did make one statement that made me stop and think. The lead singer said for that moment in time, as we danced and carried on, that we needed to forget our worries and problems and just be thankful and celebrate that we were alive. Wow! How true! I'm guilty of dwelling on the negative in spite of the positive. Are you? The good Lord has blessed me with more than I can even wrap my mind around. May I do a better job of living like it! Happy 2008!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy 2008, to you and yours!