What manner of man bloggeth? Wednesday, Apr 30 2008 

A sadist?

A masochist?

An exhibitionist?

Yea, verily, he who combineth three in one, for surely he is sadist, as he is wont to inflict ill-written verse on the eyes and ears of innocent readers; and surely he is masochist, so much that he tortureth his mind night and day to invent topics and essays, even to the point of distraction; and forsooth, exhibitionist moreover, for why would he inflict words and poems on such an audience save to appease his vanity?

Yea, that manner of man bloggeth. And such a man am I!

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“Don’t Turn Out the Lights, Coach,” . . . a year later. Saturday, Apr 26 2008 

Click here to recall my personal and great disconsolation of one year ago this weekend. Back then, with softball done forever, I felt like I had lost a long-time friend, maybe even a family member. A year later, of course, things are a lot better. In fact, life without

softball is happy, because other pursuits have filled that void. But still, it’s nostalgic and moving to revisit that last night at Lady Cats Field last April.

Honors Convocation at LSUE: Where’s Ann? Wednesday, Apr 23 2008 

I took part in Honors Convocation tonight on campus. I processed and recessed with the faculty and staff wearing regalia and had the honor of calling the names of the honorees at the microphone as they approached the platform to receive their respective awards.

I knew my daughter would get an invitation, because she’s maintained a 4.0 g.p.a., so I asked her a few weeks ago if she had received an invitation to the Convocation. “Yeah,” she replied casually, but we (meaning the Bengals baseball team, for which she is a student trainer) have that rescheduled game in Beaumont that afternoon, so I’ll be gone. I threw the invitation away.”‘

How devastating to the heart of a father! I had anticipated this moment for months, of me standing before the assembly in full regalia, pronouncing my daughter’s name as she approached the podium to be ceremoniously received by the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellors, and then after the ceremony taking pictures with her mom and me-decked-out-in-the-regalia for the admiring audience of friends and family.

But no, not my daughter–she was happier leaning at the rail of the dugout in Beaumont, watching the game and waiting for a player to need a bandaid or wrap a jammed wrist or ice down a pitcher’s arm. Yep, that’s my girl!

Anyway, it’s no big deal. I know she’s doing something she really likes and it’s an important and purposeful job. We’re proud of her doing that, and anyway, her name was in the program for everyone to see under the most elite column of “Grade Point Average of 4.0”

So to commemorate the occasion, I got a couple of her old high school buddies who were recognized for honors to pose with their arms around an imaginary Ann, sort of symbolic of her not being there but representative of the idea. So thanks to Seth and Jake for the pose!

From where I sit, in the pressbox at Bengal Field Monday, Apr 21 2008 

Here’s the view from where I work behind the stadium mike announcing home games at Bengal FIeld, home field of the currently #1 nationally-ranked LSUE Bengals. I went outside on the landing where we enter the pressbox to take this picture between innings of one of this afternoon’s games. I went outside because inside the box, the view is filtered by expansive plates of cool, tinted glass that enclose the work area. It’s air-conditioned when the weather is warm, heated when the weather is cold, and dry when the weather is wet. After all those years of watching kids play ball from sandlot through high school, from the sweltering, bug-laden oppression of Gulf Coast humidity during summer baseball and early fall football, to the biting, post-sunset chill of late winter/early spring baseball/softball/track, I’ve endured the weather that goes along with parenting kids and sports. Now, I kind of feel like it’s an entitlement to view the action from a comfortable seat in a climate-controlled environment. And for my volunteer service, admission is free! I wish I could make $60,000 a year doing this.  I’d quit my regular job!

Payton’s First You-Tube Friday, Apr 18 2008 

I shot the first movie on my Samsung Blackjack phone the night she was born, but some folks couldn’t open that piece. Also, it was a little movie. My niece Susan shot this piece last night on Payton’s second week birthday and put it on YouTube.

Yep, Payton’s pretty cool. She’s made a big hit around the house. (She’s my granddaughter, for the uninformed or the unknowing)

Floodstage: The Rivers are a risin’ in Louisiana Thursday, Apr 17 2008 

In the past two days, I’ve crossed the Red River at Alexandria/Pineville, the Atchafalya River at Krotz Springs, and the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge. The water is HIGH.

Scary!!!

The hydrologists assure us the levees can handle the volume, which they say is not even record-setting within the past decade. But still, I couldn’t get over the level of water up against the levees in all three of those rivers. At Krotz Springs today, mature willow trees that grow inside the levee on dry land were halfway under water. Seeing tree tops rising out of swirling brown eddies just didn’t look right.

At Baton Rouge, the River looked twice as wide as normal, the water stacked up almost to the top of the outer levees, giving the River the appearance of vast wideness (greater than its usual vast wideness!) and revealing very little margin for error if the water continues to rise. Thank God the crest is just a few days away, because if all of this keeps up, I’d worry that something could give.

In fact, the East Baton Rouge levee watchers have been reporting sand boils erupting outside the levees these past few days, a phenomenon associated with the pressure of  flood waters going subterranean to pop up like springs on the wrong side of the levee. These sand boils are the precursors of more serious breaches, reminding us that floodwaters work harder beneath the surface than they do on the surface.

I recall as a kid visiting my grandfather’s house on Friscoville Avenue in Arabi, St. Bernard Parish, next to New Orleans. His house was about four blocks from the River. Once during high water, I recall standing on the sidewalk in front of his house and looking down the street toward the River. Seagoing ships anchored in the River cast the allusion of resting on the levee since I could see what seemed like the entire ship, but of course, no water. Walking to the levee showed what was really happening: the ships were floating on high water that rose to within just a few feet from the top of the levee, so from the street level, which was lower than the water level inside the levee, the ships seemed to be resting on the levee.

Gosh, if those levees ever fail . . .

I’m glad I don’t live in the flood plain!

Ping back a year ago: Lady Cats win in Bossier! Wednesday, Apr 16 2008 

Click to revisit last year’s memory of the best softball game Ann’s Lady Cats ever played as well as one of my favorite softball pictures of Ann in action.   I remember sights and the sounds that day of the B52’s at Barksdale Air Force Base roaring and soaring majestically above the treeline beyond center field as they took off from the air strip no more than a mile or two away.

By the way, here’s the ‘Poo Poo Haiku” I wrote for Payton a few days ago:

When rank fragrance blooms                                                                                                       From di’per swaddled bottom,                                                                                                     Hand her to her Mom!

When poopy diapers don’t stink . . . Sunday, Apr 13 2008 

OK, here comes another post about grandparenting. And this story is Sarah’s more than mine, because in my official capacity as grandfather of the child, I have declared myself exempt from diaper duties, save in some dire emergency.

But Sarah never declared such an exemption. She babysat Payton last night so the parents could have a quiet dinner out, their first outing since Payton was born a little over a week ago.

I was on duty in the pressbox at Bengal Field for a baseball game, so I missed the babysitting fun. During a break in the action, I called home to see how the job was going. Sarah joyfully exclaimed, “Payton made Honey a poo poo diaper!”

“Gosh,” I thought as I mused to myself, “Could Sarah have been happier if she found a $50 bill in her granddaughter’s diaper?”

Did we react like that when our kids handed us a smelly diaper?

I can’t remember, but I did recall the next day how my late Uncle Jack spoke on the subject of babies and diapers in his role as our family’s earthy, armchair philosopher and commentator on life. I heard Uncle Jack relate this illustration more than once, so Sarah’s exclamation about Payton’s smelly offering connected right away with Uncle Jack’s observation, which I recall roughly like so: “The little kid has just handed you a wad of _____ . And what do you do? You look at the sweet little face smiling at you, you pick her up, and you kiss her!” ((The previous blank is a bleep for the”s” word expletive. Uncle Jack’s diction was, . . . well, poignant?)

Alas, such is parental love. But even moreso, grandparental love.

In searching for a link for a safe picture to use on the subject of poopoo diapers, I came across a blogsite named “This Girl’s Gone Child” with a special section on Poo Poo Haiku . The site is worth a click, and you can even post an original haiku on the subject if the inspiration strikes you.  (I posted a haiku there myself–check it out!)

Dr. Gray, Dr. Gray, tell me what you say, about 08 Hurricane Season Wednesday, Apr 9 2008 

Here we go again.  Dr. Gray just released his 2008 Hurricane Season prediction. 

What’s new this year?Not much.  He says we can expect greater than usual activity . . . again.  So what else is new?

As vaunted as Dr. Gray’s credentials are, I have to assert that the guru’s predictions have kept us off balance more in recent years than they’ve helped us stand up straight.  In ’05, the record-setting year we got clobbered with Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast, we had double the number of storms he predicted. 

Then in ’06, still bruised and batterered by the memories of the preceding season, we were chilled when his “more storms than usual” prediction came out in April.  The end result: 06 was “no big deal!” 

 “Whew,” we sighed in relief.

Along came ’07 and once again, Dr. Gray’s warning was the same: “More storms than usual,” citing the 20 or so year-long pattern of above normal activity that the studies indicated, the pattern of which we are currently in the midst.  What happened in ’07?

Pas grand chose.  (i.e., no big deal).  The innocuous Humberto formed out of nowhere and uneventfully blew by early on an Monday morning but was gone practically before we knew a hurricane was born.  

So I’ve become jaded to the pre-season hurricane predictions.  I am willing to set more store by the predictions of who’s going to win the Super Bowl or the World Series, in fact.  The irony is that Dr. Gray’s craft is based on elaborate scientific methodology, while sports predictions are based on far less exacting procedures that are not scientific at all. 

So much for science?  Or so much for man’s thinking himself smarter than he is?  I don’t know, but as I researched the topic, I found experts who agree with me. like Weather Channel meteorolo-blogger Stu Ostro.  Ostro’s assessment of the scientific predictions: “Useless.”

I agree.  So let’s just wait and see.  And we might as well pray while we’re at it, because I have a conviction that God’s got a considerably better handle on the situation than Dr. Gray!  (No disrespect intended to Dr. Gray, of course.)

PS: Thanks to the Weather Channel (www.weather.com) for the storm prediction graphic at the top.

Payton Elizabeth: Papa’s Newest Girl Sunday, Apr 6 2008 

First there was Sarah.  Then along came Ann.  Zach married Autumn.  And even the puppy dogs along the way, Lillie Belle and Sadie Lynn, held some sway in Papa’s court.  All of these girls have at one time or another ended up in a blog post or blog photo since I started this  blogsite two and a half or so years ago.  They’ve been my favorite girls of all time, and they remain so.

Papa\'s Newst GirlBut the circle is growing.  Now I welcome Payton ELizabeth, the firstborn of Zach and Autumn, and the girl whose greatest renomee at this point is that she finally proved  that I’m old enough to be a grandparent, as much as I’ve resisted that truth for the past several years.  The photo here shows the three-day old just returning from her first Sunday afternoon trip to Sonic with her Mom and Dad, where I don’t believe she had a Coney dog and fries just yet.

So how is being a grandparent?

Well, all of my peers who have gone on before me in this phase of life were right: There’s no way to describe the sensation when the time finally comes.  I was excited before, because I knew the feeling would be rich, but even the anticipation  was no preparation for the reality of seeing, touching, hearing the real baby girl.

Even though Payton is just a few days old as of this post, the first time I cast my eyes on her in the hospital Thursday night and heard those plaintive whimpers and cries as the helpless little creature protested the rudeness of being cast so cruelly into this bizarre environment outside her Mommy’s warm and snug nesting place, she wielded the power of an enchantress.

Yep, Payton makes being old enough to be a grandparent worth the trouble of growing old (er).  I think this newest little girl is going to be a lot of fun.  I’m sure she’ll end up as the subject of her share of posts in the months and years to come.

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