Friday, February 26, 2010

Taken for Granted: Service, Sacrifice...Ballots and the American Spirit

I spend a lot of posts honoring Damn Good Dawgs for their bravery on the gridiron. After all it's part of our responsibility as Dawg fans to give respect to those who entertain us, win or lose. But there are those who stand heads and shoulders above even Herschel Walker. There are many whose glory is elevated higher than Hines Ward's career numbers. And there are some whose legacy is as voluminous as Frank Sinkwich's.

The men and women who serve or served in our military.

I never served. Quite frankly, I'm in awe of those who put aside their lives and their own safety just to allow me the freedom to type these words...and to take for granted their very actions at the drop of a hat. Maybe you're like me and have relatives who have served and/or are serving. Chances are, if you have loved ones in the military right now you have a better understanding of this sacrifice than I do. Yet I hope you continue reading.

If you come here often, you understand that I don't post under the tag neither red nor black very often. But there are times that my fingertips lead me down a different path than the one towards Sanford's bridge or Foley Field. Like when Corporal John Tolan returned home to Lawrenceville from Afghanistan, it started out as a bad day for me, but ended as a great day for America.  I started today's post over a week ago after reading this piece by Rex and following the click to the video interview of his father. The Battle of Iwo Jima was 65 years ago, yet it's importance is just as remarkable today as it was to my grandparents who actually lived during the time.

At least it's that important to me. This week did a feature on 1st Lieutenant Howard W. "Smiley" Johnson, the Georgia football player who died in combat on Sulphur Island from injuries sustained after a Japanese shell exploded close to him and other marines. According to accounts, Lt. Johnson refused medical attention until the enlisted Marines were treated first. To be perfectly honest, I can almost imagine the pride family members must feel for a young man who plays football 'tween the hedges. Hell, I'm proud of those guys each and every play.

But to have a loved one give their blood for this country, to lose their life protecting the freedoms that every human has the right to own...well, that dear Reader is an act that ultimately exceeds any worth that some word can give or any points a winning touchdown can score. Honorable...sure. But so much more than that. 

My grandparents served in and survived WWII and years later were able to relate its effects on their lives to me as I sat in a chair beside them. Smiley's family wasn't afforded the same luxury. But together with Clarence Robinson and thousands of others...they truly were the Greatest Generation.

Lastly, I wanted to point out a tremendously inspirational read shared with me by a reader this week. I don't know what your political persuasions are, nor do I pretend to know what your feelings are towards our military presence in the Middle East. Again, to be quite really shouldn't matter. These men and women are there protecting our rights to vote, eat at McDonald's whenever we need a trans fat fix, sleep in our own beds, go to church on Sunday, go to work on Monday, have children that play in our yards and generally pursue happiness at every turn of life. Political issues can easily blur into gray areas as they do gray matter. But military service is always...(I'm sorry, let me re-emphasize)...A L W A Y S simply three distinct colors: RED  WHITE  and  BLUE.

In one beautifully written post (h/t Ally), David Bellavia fills me to the rim with pride in my well as makes me feel terrifically ashamed at my habit for taking my freedoms for granted. I'll warn you that it's a long read. But it's a treasure to behold if you are currently serving our dear USA. It's inspirational even if you've retired your uniform from active duty. And it's an absolute must read if you have a need to reconnect with what makes America so pure, honest and wonderful.  

I helped make this day happen. This ballot represents the reason why we're here, why my friends had to die. Carefully, I fold the ballot up and put it in my pocket. Even thought I was 29 at the time, I'd only voted once. I had taken something so precious for granted for far too long.

Please bookmark that link....come back to this post later and follow it...or simply set aside whatever you are doing now for a few moments and give it a read. No matter your feelings about this war and the way it gets tossed back and forth across the aisle in Congress, we all must take each and every available moment to honor our military. Because it is due to their actions, that we have been afforded the right to take them for granted.

Enjoy your weekend Reader. And if I've been honored to have a click from a man or woman in uniform...

Thank you.

Trivial Update "Frozen Foley Facts"

Here's the recap of episode 34:

ThursdaysRTrivial coming up right after this pronouncement: You wont find crappier video of the Diamond Dawgs final out last night than right here - Promise.

ThursdaysRTrivial episode 34 "Frozen Foley Facts". Welcome back to the Twitter trivia show that grows on you like a fungus...just, in a healthier way. REPLY back your answer for a chance at a fabulous prize. Last night Coach Perno used 8 (eight) hurlers form the mound to help beat the Presbys 11-3. But only ONE (1) of those pitchers was also the prep teammate of fellow Diamond Dawg Todd Hankins. Who is he?

After pitching his way to a 7-5 mark with a 1.40 ERA as a senior at Oviedo HS, Malcolm Clapsaddle was named Oviedo Pitcher of the Year. This week Ally was diagnosed with pneumonia. You decide which is the greater achievement.

In between fever induced dreams of trivial mediocrity and doses of antibiotics, Ally was able to tweet in the correct answer just ahead of Nama who claimed to have the first ever TrT answer from the left coast. To be fair, Nama has graciously agreed to bring Ally a bottle of her choice from Terry Hoage's vineyard before he heads back east (reportedly to discover his wife and kids have up and left him for a life on the road following Bon Jovi...but that's a story for another post). Personally, I would go with the "5 Blocks" Syrah Cuvee. But it's your infection Ally, kill it with whatever grape you want.

Meanwhile, the Diamond Dawgs take on Stetson this weekend at Foley. Grab a ticket here and remember some extra folding money for the Prayers for Chance Fund. If you'd like to get in on the trivial action too Reader, tell me what Todd Hankins line was against PC Wednesday night. A shout-out in the meatloaf to the correct comment...or a used kleenex from Ally's trash bin. You choose.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seventh Chance at Foley

I had intended to take some fairly detailed notes, maybe even live blog during the 2010 Home Opener for Perno's Dawgs. But it's hard to finger type when they're frozen.

However, here's some notes from the frozen tissues of my cerebral cortex.

• good crowd. I'd say about 3/4 capacity. Most were smart enough to leave before they froze their arses off.
• I am not a smart man.
• Dawgs jump quickly on the Presby pitcher, then couldn't get a break.
Coach Perno went through pitchers like roasted peanuts. Swegman started and just about everyone but Cris Carpenter came out of the bullpen.
Christian Glisson had a good night at the plate, but an even better one behind it. The kid stopped some "lively" pitches. Not to mention handled 6 different pitchers before getting pulled for a pinch runner.
• In short, Glisson should fill out Massanari's pads quite nicely.
• like many I came into this season worried about offense. Replacing the likes of Poythress, and Massanari won't be easy. And for a few innings we kinda plodded along waiting for a big hit that came close, but never quite came through.
• then in the 7th Perno decided to generate some runs with some very nice bunts and a timely hit and run. Of course, a few doubles helped.
• if we can continue to force the issue like last night's 7th...this team can do some damage.
• and our offense will be called upon early and often with the many lively yet erratic arms we saw against PC.
• to end on a positive though, those same arms worked out of some serious jams. PC stranded at least 8 runners.

I'll add some links later. Lastly, here's a (very) amateur video of the final out, including Chance Veazey participating in the post game fist bumps.


Diamond Dawgs are at home this weekend against Stetson. If you make it out to the ballpark, bring some extra cash and pick up a Chance Veazey cap. That last link will show you a picture of it. For a minimum $20 donation it can be yours.

- Posted using BlogPress from Bernie's iPhone

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Dimebag Debate

Was poking around Weiszer's blog last night and saw this piece by David Ausiello referenced in relation to the suspension of Navy slotback Marcus Curry

It reminded me of a post I did just over a year ago in the midst of all the steroid hoopla. You my mind drug use, whether recreational or situational, is a danger to our society's children. If an adult uses drugs without letting the consequences within have any bearing on the lives of others...well, so be it. Without recreating the argument I posed last February, suffice it to say that my contention however is that a laissez faire attitude toward any drug use only leads to our childrens' destruction.

Marcus Curry tested positive for marijuana in a random drug test. He evidently faces no disciplinary action, which has Naval Academy students, faculty and alumni up in arms. The non-punishment is difficult for someone from my side of the issue to ingest, inhale or swallow.

From the over-tolerant side of the debate, Ausiello points to the University of Georgia on the right side. Like some notable players in years past, if Curry were a Dawg he'd miss at least the UL-Lafayette and the South Carolina games to open the 2010 season.

While I don't care to speculate as to the reasoning for Curry's slap on the wrist free pass, I am glad that my school takes the hard stance. Even if it means losing a player of Justin Houston's stature in Stillwater last season, and especially if it means it possibly prevents a Len Bias-sized tragedy.

What say you?

Sidenote: I found it sadly ironic that Ausiello also mentions that the University of Maryland prevents coaches from disciplining a student-athlete once a drug test is failed. Counseling is the only consequence for first offenders. A two-week suspension is given for the second offense. In a perfect world, Len Bias would've had Damon Evans as an AD. 

Slurban Clipped St. Timmy's Wings

Tim Tebow will always be the Gainesville Angel. He was heralded before he descended into gayturdsville....and all he did there was win a Heisman and two MNCs. In between, he snipped some boys and did his best to keep Slurban's hoodlums away from floriDuh's gutters.

So now what does he have to show for it? Some awesome memories.

Those, and the prospect of cramming just before the NFLs final exam. For every 17 year old kid with a rocket arm and 4-5 stars next to his name on the SAT that Coach Richt and Co. visit from here on out, this comparison should be first outta their mouths: would you rather be Matt Stafford getting wined and dined by GMs with the top 10 picks...or Tim Tebow, changing his mechanics and hoping for an early second day phone call?

Cuz even if Zeke Bratkowski and Sam Wyche end up being right, no kid (or his dad) wants to envision a QB makeover just before the NFL combines. Of course, all this assumes Corch actually makes it back from his departure from reality.

Sidenote: since this post references articles that embrace the expertise of a Georgia's a YouTube clip of Zeke with another former Green Bay QB, David Whitehurst.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday’s Meatloaf – Turning Tricks for Clicks

brittney spears trampLet’s face it, for years the AJC has been a low rent version of TMZ Hotlanta. And as the years pass, the rent gets lower and the resemblance between the journalistic standards of “entertainment media” and the state’s largest newspaper grows closer.You know it. I know it. They even know it. The rag showed so much promise after ridding its print of Terence Moore (which reminds me, we need to make sure we don’t miss celebrating the first anniversary of  Mike Campo Day). Yet continues to distance itself from journalistic integrity as if it was facing the ass end of a jittery skunk.
brittney spears methheadHere’s a recap of a sports department meeting just last week: After completing the Tech Triumverate, Mark Bradley is this week’s biggest click whore. Enjoy the parking spot Mark. Jeff, give him the key to the executive bathroom.

Ironically it’s the same recap as the week before, just with the names reversed. Last spring I waged an all out assault on their writings regarding the Georgia basketball coaching search. It’s about the time I came up with the tag AllJackCrap. Since then, it’s been a rare occurrence that I actually link to any of their work.

And in one really, really good post….Mike explains exactly why our state’s largest newspaper is no longer a true player in the market of sports news. The AJC rarely even breaks news, so much as it regurgitates it and then twists it into cyber sexy clicks. Take Mike’s advice and find a better source. It’s right under your nose, and smells nothing like a skunk…or a streetwalker in need of a lather-rinse-repeat.

Today’s Ingredients
  • These Winter Olympics are proving to have the stones for big ratings. I’ve spent more time watching curling the past week than I have Wii bowling.
  • A look at the medal count…and WOW!! Did someone tell Canada they could both host and compete?
  • And then we go and beat them at their own religion sport. I guess this would equate to a coupla of canucks beating Nama and I at cornhole.
  • Exile finds a number of ways the departure of Scotty Lagos from Vancouver is redonkulous.
  • Really nice read by Rex who also points you to an inspirational interview.
  • Lots of UGA Athletics action this weekend, good and bad. Diamond Dawgs start the season in Waco 2-2; the softball team won the third annual Red and Black Showcase; and the Lady Dawgs fell to floriDuh on the hardcourt.
  • Of course, Coach Fox had better luck at Stegeman Saturday as his charges outlasted Bama, continuing their home dominance.
  • But the best news from the weekend came from Gabrielsen Natatorium where the Lady Dawgs won the SEC swimming and diving championship.
  • Mackie wished Coach Richt a Happy Birthday. That poor kid seems to think that birthdays get awesomer the older you get. After 40 you're lucky if you get a homemade card to go with your colonoscopy. Woohoo!
  • Hale has some quotes from Coach Belin’s teleconference if you missed it Friday. And he adds some fleeting thoughts from the hardcourt.
  • I took the Senator’s advice and read this piece of awesomeness by Bill Connelly at Football Outsiders. Recruiting scratches winning’s back in a quid pro quo kinda way. And it’s always a LOL moment when you see NotHer Dame listed as an underachiever. Good stuff indeed.
  • Count me among those that has never really understood the fascination with Danica Patrick. But I admit I’m not a racing nut. However, I won’t be surprised one day when it is revealed that Ms. Patrick is in reality a 13 year old boy with an amazingly clear complexion.
  • And lastly, a little something for you dudes that often screw things up with the little lady. It’s always important to know what will set things back to right. Whether it’s a hug, a dinner out without kids, a dinner out without you, or even jewelry. Maybe a pair of earrings. And of course, nothing says I’m sorry like a new vacuum.

Just do what you gotta do to make her smile again. That way you can get back to screwing something else up.

But something tells me the world’s greatest golfer on hiatus has pulled out more than a new Dyson to make amends. To date I’ve steered mostly clear of Tiger-sized saga playing out on the family of networks. The truth is it’s none of our business. To make judgments about Elin as to whether she should continue her quest to tame the beast…well, that’s really up to her and her alone. Don’t get too big for your britches Reader.

Tiger-Woods-RI would however like to clarify a couple of things. For one, there’s no such thing as a sex addiction. Don’t let the media overplay you on this. You notice Tiger mentioned therapy, but not a diagnosis of being addicted to sex. When you’re married and also have as many as 19 mistresses….it’s pretty safe to say you like the bedsheets as much as the Sunday red Nike polo. Doesn’t mean you get your picture in the DSM IV.

For two, I frown upon disparaging remarks about Tiger’s genuineness pertaining to comments about his religion. If he regains focus in his spirituality as a result of getting caught with his pants down, well…that’s between him and Buddha I guess. Even if the Dalai Lama has remained in the dark as to the chronicles of Tiger’s super sexy exploits.

And I gotta tell ya….I’m more than a little jealous of anyone who didn’t know that the Tiger trolls through diners looking for more than gravy for his biscuits. Speaking of gravy, ladle some of this onto your plate. It’ll go well with your lunch. Then go tell the boss you appreciate the opportunity to do good work. Unless of course you work for the paper that covers Dixie like the doo-doo. Then just go back to turning the next trick.